accept positions that require long hours of routine work with minimal compensation. But it is the setting of unachievable goals and incentives by the franchise firms that leads staff attorneys to the conclusion that they are virtually disposable. Since there is no upward movement for staff attorneys, advancement opportunities must be found elsewhere.
Managing attorneys come to the franchise firms seeking a balance between a competitive market for clients and professional autonomy. What they find, however, is that in exchange for a steady flow of clients, prepackaged production systems and managerial authority severely constrain their professional independence. It is not having supervisors that alienates most managing attorneys. Rather, it is the experience of constantly having to fight for and protect branch office autonomy and profits from management's "greed" or irrationality that creates most of the disaffection among managing attorneys.
Each firm's partnership program seeks to counter the alienation experienced by managing attorneys by offering more local autonomy. But in each case there has been a price for greater local autonomy: the centralization of production outside of branch offices at Arthur & Nelson; and the shifting of financial risk for the operation of the law firm to local partners at Beck & Daniels. Next we look at another response to worker alienation--support of unions among branch office lawyers.