Are the challenges of globalization, technology and competition exercising a dramatic impact on professional practice whilst, in the process, compromising traditional notions of professionalism, autonomy and discretion? This paper engages with these debates and uses original, qualitative empirical data to highlight the vast areas of continuity that exist even the largest globalizing law firms. Whilst it is undoubted that growth in the size of firms and their globalization bring new challenges, these are resolved in ways that are sensitive to professional values and interests. In particular, a commitment to professional autonomy and discretion still characterises the way in which these firms operate and organize themselves. This situation is explained in terms of the development of an organizational model of professionalism, whereby the large organization is increasingly emerging as a primary locus of professionalization and whereby professional priorities and objectives are increasingly supported by organizational logics, systems and initiatives.
"The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Work, Employment and Society, 22 (1), 2008, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2008 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Work, Employment and Society page: http://wes.sagepub.com/ on SAGE Journals Online: http://online.sagepub.com/