The Professional Model of Law vs. The Business Model of Law: A Critical View of Opposing Trends in the United States and the People's Republic of China
St. Thomas University, School of Professional Management
April 20, 2010
This study begins by reflecting on the literature characterizing the nature and function of a profession qua profession. It continues by arguing that based upon commonly used indicia of a profession that the practice of law in the US is de-professionalizing in significant ways and morphing towards a functioning business model. The related advantages of such a development for American society, its lawyers and their clients, including especially criminal defendants are critically discussed. It then traces the emergence and ascendancy of the rule of law in China and corresponding quest to institutionalize the practice of law in China as a profession. The study concludes by exploring the alternative advantages of applying the business model to the Chinese legal practice. It recommends that embracing a paradigm shift away from the professional model towards a business model comparable to what is happening in the US would be to the greater advantage of Chinese lawyers in terms of enhanced authority, increased self-regulation, as well as greater leverage in advocating client interests.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 51
Keywords: China, Law,, Profession, Business, Model, Lawyersworking papers series
Date posted: June 30, 2010 ; Last revised: July 9, 2010
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