Chapter 2: Why regulate lawyers?
This chapter examines the case for regulating lawyers. Although from the economist’s perspective it is the case for regulating markets for legal services with which we should be concerned, traditionally the focus has been on the regulation of the professions who supply legal services. In particular the focus has been on the regulation of the individual lawyer. This focus has been shifting in recent years, particularly in the UK, to be on the regulation of the market and the entities that supply these services. Nevertheless this chapter begins by looking at the case for regulating lawyers. First, the arguments put forward traditionally by the profession itself are presented. Secondly, the economic case for regulation as a response to market failure is presented. Thirdly, the advantages and disadvantages of self-regulation are examined and the case for regulatory competition is briefly set out. What reasons have been given traditionally for lawyers being subject to regulation as they are in most jurisdictions? In particular, why are they not, simply, subject to the normal laws of supply and demand as are those who supply other services?
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