If a lawyer is a shareholder, the implication is that the law firm is a corporation. If the lawyer is listed as a partner, the implication is that the firm is a partnership. The issue is further clouded because not only are the foregoing terms often used loosely, there are some lawyers that are called “non-equity” partners, which means that the firm gets to use the lawyer’s name, but the lawyer has no ownership interest in the firm. Even as a shareholder, the lawyer may have only one share out of thousands, and have no control over the operation of the firm.
This response does not create an attorney-client relationship. Unless you are already a client of the Mallory Law Group, pursuant to an executed employment agreement, you should not use, interpret, or rely on this response as legal advice or opinion. Do not act on any information in this response without seeking legal advice. Earl K. Mallory email@example.com (561)743-3708.
Every law firm is structured differently. Sometimes the terms "partner" and "shareholder" are used interchangeably; sometimes one is used to indicate the structure of the firm; sometimes there are multiple levels and types of ownership. In dealing with the public, a law firm cannot do anything to mislead. If you have a question about the structure of a particular firm, you should ask someone in that firm about its structure.
Disclaimer: This answer is provided for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Actual legal advice can only be provided after completing a comprehensive consultation in which all of the relevant facts are discussed and reviewed.
Most likely there is no difference at all. Law Firms used to be partnerships, but then law firms began to operate as corporations to limit personal liability and partners became shareholders.
This response does not create an attorney-client relationship. Unless you are already a client of the Law Office of Preston H. Oughton, pursuant to an executed fee agreement, you should not use, interpret, or rely on this response as legal advice or opinion. Do not act on any information in this response without seeking legal advice. Preston H. Oughton firstname.lastname@example.org (904) 854-6336.