The Market for Bad Legal Advice: Academic Professional Responsibility Consulting as an Example
William H. Simon
Columbia University - Law School; Stanford University - Stanford Law School
December 18, 2007
Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 07-158
Stanford Public Law Working Paper No. 1025984
Clients demand bad legal advice when legal advice can favorably influence third-party conduct or attitudes even when it is wrong. Lawyers supply bad legal advice most readily when they are substantially immunized from accountability to the people it is intended to influence. Both demand and supply conditions for a flourishing market are in place in several quarters of the legal system. The resulting practices, however, are in tension with basic professional and academic values. I demonstrate these tensions through critiques of the work of academic professional responsibility consultants in such matters as Enron, Lincoln Savings & Loan, and a heretofore undiscussed aggregate litigation settlement. I also suggest reforms to reduce the incentives and pressures for bad advice that now prevail.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 57working papers series
Date posted: November 1, 2007 ; Last revised: December 23, 2007
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