Types of Practice

For a long time, individual practices were the only authorized type of practice. Since Act 71-1130 of December 31, 1971, the legislature established several group practice structures; thereby allowing law offices to grow and modernize within the competitive international context.

At this point in time the legal profession can be practiced in a variety of forms, but most lawyers, 36.4% overall as of January 1, 2012, practice individually, compared with 35.8% in 2002.

Those in partnerships number only 29.4%.

In January 2012, only 28.8% of lawyers were working in group practices, compared with 25.7% in 2002, while the growth in the number of salaried lawyers was weak, at only 5.4%, compared with 9.3% in 2002. Thus the growth of the number of lawyers in group practices is greater than that of the overall workforce.

The number of those practicing in closed capital group structures is relatively constant, whether as law partnerships (10 % of groups), joint ventures, (0.7% of groups), or professional civil companies (37% of groups, but with a loss of 10 points over eight years).

A new stage began with the passage of Act 90-1258 of December 31, 1990 which added to the forms of practice by creating open capital market public companies whose regulatory structure is compatible with liberal practice of the legal profession. Incorporated professional practices (SELs) grew by 200% from 2002 to 2012, and make up 48 % of the structures. In ten years the number of structures, both open and closed, increased by 78.2%. There are now 6,816 professional group practices.

And finally, according to CREPA, in December 31, 2012, there were 12,685 law offices, with 39,742 non-lawyer employees.

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