An economic perspective on the legal profession and the arguments for fundamental reform “

I am delighted to announce that Clifford Winston of the Brookings Institution will be posting a guest blog this week on Problems at the Bar: An Economic Perspective on the Legal Profession and the Case for Fundamental Reform, which he co-wrote with David Burk and Jia Yan. Here is the editor’s summary:

Deregulation of the legal profession will benefit society by improving access to legal services and the effectiveness of public policies.

Lawyers dominate a justice system that has been criticized for limiting access to its services mainly to the wealthier members of society. Lawyers also have a pervasive influence in other areas of government. This is the first book to provide a critical and comprehensive overview of the role of the legal profession in its inability to serve the majority of the public and in its contribution to shaping ineffective public policies that reduce public welfare.

In Problem at the bar, the authors use an economic approach to provide empirical support to legal reformers concerned with their own profession. The authors highlight the detrimental effects of self-regulation of the legal profession, which increases the cost of legal training, decreases the supply of lawyers and limits public access to justice to the point where, in general, only legal professionals certified attorneys can perform even simple contracts. At the same time, barriers to entry that limit competition create a closed environment that hinders valid approaches to analyze and resolve the legal issues that are at the heart of effective public policy.

According to the authors, deregulation of the legal profession would allow more people to provide a variety of legal services without compromising their quality, reduce the cost of those services, stimulate competition and innovation in the private sector, and increase the quality of lawyers pursuing a career. in the public sector. Legal practitioners would benefit from more fulfilling careers, and society in general and its most vulnerable members in particular would benefit greatly.

And the presentation texts:

Problem at the bar is an extraordinary book. It examines and analyzes – with great conceptual and empirical sophistication – the organization of the entire American legal system and the legal professionals that comprise it, from the dreams of students choosing to attend lower-rated law schools to working lawyers. in the prosecutor’s office. General to the attorneys of the Supreme Court itself. Every person in America should understand on some level how the legal profession works. Problem at the bar provides the basis for this understanding. —George L. Priest, Edward J. Phelps Professor of Law and Economics, Yale Law School

Problem at the bar empirically examines the state of the legal profession in the United States. It examines the barriers in place to regulate entry into law schools and the restrictions placed on legal service providers. He advocates for the deregulation of many aspects of the profession and its openness to new approaches. It is a serious book on a serious problem and deserves careful reading. “—Jame J. Heckman, Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor in Economics, University of Chicago; researcher, American Bar Foundation

I look forward to the messages.

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