A law firm is a business that is formed by one or more lawyers in order to practice law. A law firm’s primary service is to advise clients about their legal rights and responsibilities, and to represent them in legal matters such as civil cases, criminal cases, and business transactions; and to help them with things such as estate planning, probate, complicated tax situations, and other matters in which legal advice and other legal assistance is needed. A client can be an individual, corporation or other organization, or in cases such as a class action lawsuit where the plaintiff is a group of individuals with a common complaint, a law firm may seek the same reparations for each of the individuals in the group.
Law firms come in all sizes with the smallest ones being one lawyer and possibly no one else, to the largest ones that have multiple office locations across the United States (and sometimes the globe). The largest law firms have thousands of employees that are lawyers and may include support staff such as, paralegals, legal secretaries, litigation support professionals, legal assistants, law firm administrators, law clerks, court runners, IT support, accountants, and a CFO,
While general practice law firms used to be more common, nowadays the majority of law firms specialize in one or more area of law, such as criminal, personal injury, probate, tax, or family law, to name just a few of the areas of law that law firms often specialize in. Within these different kinds of law firms are many different specialty areas that many law firms have a particular niche in. An example of this is personal injury law. Personal injury is an umbrella term that deals with situations where a person is injured or becomes ill because of someone else’s negligence. A personal injury law firm may deal specifically with one or a few specific kinds of car accidents, medical malpractice claims, slip and fall accidents, defamation cases, or assault and battery cases, to name just a few of the many different areas of personal injury law that a law firm may have one or more niche in.
Law firms can be organized and structured in a variety of ways. Part of this depends on the jurisdiction the firm is in. Some of the more common arrangements include:
-Limited Liability Company (LLC)
-Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC)
-Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
The law firms in the United States must adhere to the rule that only lawyers may have an ownership interest in a law firm and only lawyers may be managers of law firms. This means that unlike most corporations, law firms cannot raise capital through initial public offerings on the stock market.
This is just a brief overview of what law firms do and the different kinds of law firms and law firm structuring.
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