The financialization of large law firms: Situated discourses and practices of reorganization

James R. Faulconbridge*, Daniel Muzio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article uses the case of the financialization of large law firms to develop debates about the process of the 'capitalisation of everything' whereby financial logics spread both geographically between countries and sectorally from one industry to another. Drawing on work that analyses how discourses of shareholder value have led to the re-organization of firms, the article argues that large law firms have undergone 'surgery' as part of attempts to make them appear more and more profitable when assessed using the metric profits per equity partner. The influence of geographical context - English regulation and institutions relating to the legal profession - on 'surgery' in the period 1993 - 2008 are also outlined as part of a situated analysis of the way regulations and institutions together prevent or enable the reproduction of financialized practices in different industries and places through the creation of conjunctural moments that help financial logics gain legitimacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-661
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Economic Geography
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Financialization
  • Law
  • Professional services firms
  • Profit per equity partner

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