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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Unleashing Market Forces in Legal Education and the Legal Profession

Failing Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State) & Daniel C. MerrittUnleashing Market Forces in Legal Education and the Legal Profession, 26 Geo. J. Legal Ethics ___ (2013) (reviewing Brian Tamanaha (Washington U.), Failing Law Schools (University of Chicago Press, 2012)):

Brian Tamanaha has written a thoughtful critique of legal education; we agree with his assessment and many of his prescriptions. Tamanaha, however, does not press hard enough on a fundamental flaw that plagues both legal education and law practice: Our profession operates as a tournament guild. Law schools and established practitioners maintain a lengthy, stressful, and expensive series of competitions to separate winners from losers. A small number of lawyers reap most of the guild profits; others toil for much less reward or leave the profession.

Addressing this problem requires easing the market restraints that currently shield the legal profession. Ordinary fraud and consumer protection laws adequately protect clients; tighter constraints benefit established lawyers, while harming new lawyers and consumers. In this essay, we outline law’s status as a tournament guild, then suggest how market competition could address some of the problems identified by Tamanaha and other critics of legal education.

Other reviews of Failing Law Schools:

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2012/12/unleashing-market-.html

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Comments

"Our profession operates as a tournament guild. Law schools and established practitioners maintain a lengthy, stressful, and expensive series of competitions to separate winners from losers. A small number of lawyers reap most of the guild profits; others toil for much less reward or leave the profession."

Law is a lot more egalitarian than finance or acting or executive management of large corporations, or most of the U.S. economy, for that matter. A big law partner might make 10X the typical midlevel associate or in house corporate counsel, and 20X the typical lawyer, and 40X the typical paralegal.

A CEO might make more than 200X the average private sector worker, and a hollywood star might make 200X the typical actor. A top hedge fund manager might make 1,000X a typical money manager.

"Addressing this problem requires easing the market restraints that currently shield the legal profession. . . . "

When has easing barriers to entry and increasing competition ever led to more equality and homogeneity and less stressful competition? Seriously? Have you heard of "globalization"?

Posted by: Anon | Dec 20, 2012 9:36:06 AM