The Market for Bad Legal Advice: Academic Professional Responsibility Consulting as an Example

57 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2007 Last revised: 23 Dec 2007

William H. Simon

Columbia University - Law School; Stanford University - Stanford Law School

Date Written: December 18, 2007

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Simon, William H., The Market for Bad Legal Advice: Academic Professional Responsibility Consulting as an Example (December 18, 2007). Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 07-158; Stanford Public Law Working Paper No. 1025984. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1025984 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1025984

William H. Simon (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
Jerome Greene Hall, Mailbox A-18
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-9215 (Phone)
212-854-7946 (Fax)

Stanford University - Stanford Law School ( email )

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Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States
(650) 723-4605 (Phone)

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