Risk Regulation for the Legal Profession

Winds of change are blowing over the legal profession. Yet, compared to other professions and industries, legal services regulation remains very much a laggard. For the most part, legal services regulation remains rigid, reactive and complaint-based. These are not characteristics that are considered regulatory best practices. Recognizing this, a number of law societies are contemplating more proactive, compliance-based regulation. Indeed, some Canadian legal regulators have already turned those thoughts into action, most notably the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society and the Law Society of Alberta.  The authors of this paper assert that Canadian legal regulators should continue down this path and move to risk regulation, a more focused and efficient system of regulation.

This paper has four parts:

  • Part I – an introduction and background to the issue.
  • Part II – sets out the normative case for risk regulation.
  • Part III – addresses the third aspect of risk regulation, using practical examples to illustrate how risk regulation is actually done. In doing so, the authors draw on examples from the regulation of lawyers in other jurisdictions, specifically England and Wales and Australia.
  • Part IV – the paper ends with a brief conclusion which discusses the significant cultural and operational changes required to move to a risk regulation regime.

Link to full report

Citation: Dodek, Adam M. and Alderson, Emily, Risk Regulation for the Legal Profession (August 25, 2017). Alberta Law Review, Forthcoming.

Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3026869

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