Introduction: Partnerships

Is there anything closer to the heart of lawyers than the structure of their own partnerships? Numerous changes to the structure of partnerships are currently being debated,
with forces at play such as the Government’s proposals to introduce multidisciplinary partnerships (MDPs),which were unveiled last month (17 October).The recommendations
go a step further than those made by Sir David Clementi last December.

Firms are already jumping on the MDP bandwagon. Both Irwin Mitchell and Marks & Clerk Solicitors have announced their intention to take advantage of the radical new legislation, which is due to be introduced before the end of 2006 (as first revealed by The Lawyer, 24 October).

Elsewhere, new age discrimination legislation is being touted as a potential catalyst to the end of lockstep and the return of payments for goodwill in firms.The legislation is almost certain to kick open the door to a raft of age-related suits against firms.

This partnership special report also weighs up the benefits of the limited-liability partnership audit requirements over the actual cost burden,making vital reading for all lawyers.