Externalization of work by corporate law firms: Umplications for careers and the profession

Christine Riordan, Paul Osterman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper explores organizational restructuring in corporate law firms. We review recent changes in law firms' business models and structures, specifically as they relate to the externalization of work - or the unbundling of work and its placement with outside entities, which redefines the division of labor and the nature of the employment relationship. We draw from the extensive scholarship on the legal profession to raise empirical and theoretical implications of market-driven change to the careers of lawyers as well as the shifting patterns of stratification within corporate firms and the profession at large.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-361
Number of pages29
JournalResearch in the Sociology of Organizations
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Careers
  • Externalization
  • Legal profession
  • Stratification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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