December 1, 2011
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Found this interesting op-ed in the NYTimes. Clifford Winston, whoever he is, suggests that the monopoly held by ABA-licensed schools and the state bar exams over the choosing of who gets to practice Law has to be put to an end…
…to open the field for everyone???
“FOR decades the legal industry has operated as a monopoly, which has been made possible by its self-imposed rules and state licensing restrictions — namely, the requirements that lawyers must graduate from an American Bar Association-accredited law school and pass a state bar examination. The industry claims these requirements are essential quality-control measures because consumers do not have sufficient information to judge in advance whether a lawyer is competent and honest. In reality, though, occupational licensure has been costly and ineffective; it misleads consumers about the quality of licensed lawyers and the potential for non-lawyers to provide able assistance.
Rather than improving quality, the barriers to entry exist simply to protect lawyers from competition with non-lawyers and firms that are not lawyer-owned — competition that could reduce legal costs and give the public greater access to legal assistance. In fact, the existing legal licensing system doesn’t even do a great job at protecting clients from exploitation. In 2009, the state disciplinary agencies that cover the roughly one million lawyers practicing in the United States received more than 125,000 complaints, according to an A.B.A. survey. But only 800 of those complaints — a mere 0.6 percent — resulted in disbarment.
What if the barriers to entry were simply done away with?”
Thoughts? I think it’s ludicrous. As we all know, law, with its ever-changing intricacies, is as complicated as breeding a human centipede/iPad baby.Just to play devil’s advocate though I’d like to open up the discussion; are all these requirements really necessary?
What do you think?