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From kinship to magic circle: the London commercial law firm in the twentieth century

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The authors trace the successive transformations of the large London commercial law firm, which entered the 20th century as a small group of partners, typically from one or more family groups, surrounded by a large group of working class clerks who performed much of the 'professional work'. After mid-century this firm based on kinship and class hierarchy gave way to a larger firm consisting of non-kin partners selected meritocratically presiding over an increasing band of assistant solicitors and trainees recruited on the basis of their educational credentials and taking part in a promotion-to-partnership tournament. In the last decade of the century, the central institutions and understandings of this meritocratic firm gave way to a constellation of larger, less stable, and increasingly supra-national aggregations, in a setting pervaded by a fascination, both instrumental and narcissistic, with rank and image.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/25369/

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