Judges and the deregulation of the lawyer’s monopoly

In a revolutionary moment for the legal profession, the deregulation of legal services is taking hold in many parts of the country. Utah and Arizona, for instance, are experimenting with new regulations that permit nonlawyer advocates to play an active role in assisting people who may not otherwise have access to legal services. In addition, amendments to the rules of professional conduct in both states, as well as those being contemplated in California, now allow nonlawyers to hold a partnership stake in law firms, which may dramatically change the way capital for the delivery of legal services is raised and how technology and artificial intelligence may be leveraged in adjudicating disputes. In the past year alone, at least a dozen states have formed task forces to consider adopting similar provisions. These efforts are looking at ways to crack open the lawyer’s monopoly, which has priced legal services out of reach for 85 percent of Americans.

Steinberg, J. K., Carpenter, A. E., Shanahan, C. F., & Mark, A. (2020). Judges and the Deregulation of the Lawyer’s Monopoly. Fordham L. Rev.89, 1315.

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