How are law firms organized?

como estan organizados las firmas de abogados

Law firms How is the world of law firms organized?

The world of law firms is one of the most competitive and changing markets, the pandemic and the arrival of international competitors are some of the factors that have transformed the functioning of the legal society in recent years, forcing both firms and lawyers to reinvent the way they work. Today we will analyze the constitution of the different types of law firms that exist and the internal organization of lawyers within the firms.

We will proceed to detail the three most central types of firms in the Colombian legal market, boutique firms, national firms, and multiservice firms (or the Big Four), it should be noted that this is not a definitive list, as there may be more or less classifications depending on who you ask. #1

Types of Law Firms


Boutique Firms

It is a type of firm formed with few personnel, around six lawyers, all specialized in the same area of law, seeking to ensure that the matters entrusted to it are always attended by lawyers of higher technical hierarchy, ensuring a more specialized attention. In this sense, boutique firms have a controlled size of clientele, are small in size and prefer to provide a specialized service.

National firms

As some categorize them, they are larger firms with a variety of practice areas in order to cover diverse needs of diverse clients, therefore, they have numerous lawyers of different expertise throughout the national territory, as their name indicates.

The “Big Four

They are multi-service firms, providing advice in numerous fields, even other than legal services, with a strong team of lawyers and also with personnel specializing in other matters, not only legal, essentially to ensure that the client finds everything he might require.

law firm in colombia

Structure of a Law Firm

Now let’s analyze how law firms are structured within them, we will analyze which are the steps that a lawyer goes up and what each one consists of. Judicial or Paralegal DependentsIn this position, they are trained to prepare documents and do research to assist more experienced lawyers. Traditionally, in this position we can find interns, law students about to finish their degree or recently graduated lawyers. In these first categories, the main functions are aimed at research and strengthening the technical skills they already possess.

Then follows the junior lawyer (or junior associate in some firms), these are lawyers with little or no experience, but possess the technical knowledge necessary for the practice of law, it is usual that they require help from more experienced lawyers for specific situations.

Senior attorneys (senior associates) are experienced lawyers who handle a great deal of autonomy and perform everything from legal research, writing briefs, advising clients and conducting cases in hearings. Despite this, you may not receive the highest profile cases.

Partner, is the last category and is characterized by its broad technical and practical knowledge and for providing great value in attracting and retaining customers, being that their knowledge in law is not the only thing to take into account to enter this category. The partner acquires shares in the firm, and their relationship becomes not only an employment component but also a business one, making decisions within the firm.

One of the most important points to climb between these positions is the time, this, although not restrictive, has an average to ascend in a scheme of levels of two to five years, being able to be more or less depending on the firm in question and the skills of the lawyer or if he/she takes postgraduate studies, which are also taken into account for promotions.

Finally, it should be noted that neither of the two lists we have just mentioned is strict in nature, depending on who you ask you will find different categories, for example, there are firms that within their corporate structure assign the categories of lawyers in 12, (#2) but in general terms these categorizations will be useful to understand the functioning of this world.