Franchise Law Firms and the Transformation of Personal Legal Services

Franchise Law Firms and the Transformation of Personal Legal Services

Franchise Law Firms and the Transformation of Personal Legal Services

Franchise Law Firms and the Transformation of Personal Legal Services

Synopsis

As lawyers, legal scholars, and academics throughout the social sciences debate the future of legal work and the legal profession itself, they turn their attention inevitably to the rise of the franchise law firms. Founded in response to the changing market for legal services, franchise law firms have grown dramatically in recent years, but at what cost to clients and lawyers alike? This book focuses on how professional organizations (and the related work experience) are influenced by economics and the way various firms have excelled by mass producing a basic "menu" of services--by placing their offices at strategic locations, hiring inexperienced new law school graduates, and using television and other hard-sell means to attract clients. Van Hoy's impeccable sociological research, presented in a clear, readable, ethnographic style, will be fascinating and useful reading, not only for members of the legal profession and their academic colleagues, but also for aspiring lawyers and their future clients.

Excerpt

Franchise law firms are different from our common view of what professional organizations are and what professional work is. Rather than providing a kind of collegial "safe haven" for educated workers, franchise law firms adopt technology and organizational styles from mass production industries. Franchise law firms suggest that what is possible in other occupations is also possible in the professions, when the proper conditions arise. This book is about the dynamic between professional markets, innovations in professional organizations and the experiences of professional workers and their clients.

In the professions, franchise law firms are joined by for-profit emergency medical clinics, franchise-style income tax preparation services and a growing number of chains that offer other limited professional services. Although these franchise-style firms do not dominate the professions, they reach large segments of the lay public through television advertising and convenient store-front access. Much of what the public "knows" about the professions is influenced by these firms.

A generation ago, Jerome Carlin presented his classic work Law yers on Their Own . . .

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