New Horizons in Law and Economics series
1. INTRODUCTION The market for legal services is large and increasing. In 2006 the two largest firms by revenue in the world, Clifford Chance and Linklaters – both British based – had turnovers of £1030.2 million and £935.2 million respectively.1 Global revenue for the top 25 firms was £14 813.7 million. Four law firms, Wachtell Lipton Rosen, Cravath Swaine and Moore, Sullivan and Cromwell, and Paul Weiss (all American based), generated revenue per partner of over £3 000 000 in 2005.2 And law firms are getting larger and going global; in 2006, for instance, Clifford Chance had 3695 lawyers operating in 29 global offices.3 In practically every developed country, one can observe a substantial increase in the number of lawyers in recent decades. This has often led to lawyers receiving an uneasy welcome in society. This is not new. Comments on the legal profession throughout history have often reflected its uneasy reception among contemporaries in society. Most American and British lawyers have at one time or another heard Shakespeare’s reference to their profession in Henry the Sixth, Part II: Dick: The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers. Cade: Nay, that I mean to do. Bentham was rather short in the flattery department when he commented that ‘Lawyers are the only persons in whom ignorance of the law is not punished.’ Today, complaints generally emphasize the role of lawyers in promoting litigiousness as well as their often significant role in both increasing costs and excessive delays in litigation. One of...
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