Lawyers, Markets and Regulation
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Lawyers, Markets and Regulation

Frank H. Stephen

Frank H. Stephen’s evaluation of public policy on the legal profession in UK and European jurisdictions explores how regulation and self-regulation have been liberalized over the past 30 years. The book surveys where the most recent and radical liberalization involving the ownership of law firms by non-lawyers is likely to lead, and appraises the economic literature on the costs and benefits of regulating markets for professional services. It challenges socio-legal views on professional legislation and highlights the limitations of regulatory competition, as well as the importance of dominant business models. The author reviews the empirical work underpinning these theories and policies. He also evaluates the effectiveness of regulatory competition as a response to regulatory capture.
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Chapter 3: How lawyers are regulated

Frank H. Stephen


In the previous chapter the traditional and economic cases for regulating lawyers and thereby markets for legal services were presented. It was argued that self-regulation on its own could lead to the ultimate form of regulatory capture. The solution to such a problem was posited to be regulatory competition. However, that chapter did not deal in detail with the problems that might arise from monopolistic self-regulation. The present chapter remedies this deficiency by providing an economic evaluation of the instruments which have been used as a means of regulating legal professionals. Professional self-regulatory bodies have used a number of instruments to regulate the behaviour of the professionals whom they regulate. Many commentators have identified these instruments as working against the public interest.

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