Can I set up a partnership without a lawyer?
Because general partnerships are relatively easy to setup, you generally can start one without the help of an attorney. You will obviously need to do some research on your own, such as looking into appropriate names, determining the relevant state and local laws and regulations, etc. However, as long as you do your research, you may be able to setup and run your general partnership without the help and expense of an attorney. Of course, you should understand that there is always a risk that if trouble arises with your partnership down the road, you may be in a worse situation then you would be in if an attorney had originally helped you set up the general partnership. This is not to suggest that you should not set it up on your own - simply that you should tread carefully.
In addition, if you are considering setting up a limited partnership or a limited liability partnership, it makes more sense to seek the help of an attorney, because there are additional complications with these types of partnerships which can cause you trouble down the road if not handled properly. Similarly, you may want to seek the aid of an attorney if there are a lot of partners and/or partners in several states, which suggests that management and profit sharing may become rather complicated.