Effects of Reputation on the Legal Profession

42 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2008

See all articles by Fred C. Zacharias

Fred C. Zacharias

University of San Diego School of Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 2008


This Article considers how the reputation of lawyers and signaling between lawyers and clients affects the impact of legal ethics rules. Academics who have written about the relationships between lawyers and clients have not adequately considered the influence of reputational signaling on who clients hire and on lawyers' implementation of discretion. These empirical issues are key to a proper analysis of many professional rules and to the approach bar associations should take to matching lawyers and clients.

The Article focuses primarily on lawyers' reputations as a proxy for what clients want, or need, to know about their representatives. Part I offers a taxonomy of the ways in which lawyers' reputations are important. Part II discusses what we do, and do not, know about lawyers' reputations in today's real world. Part III identifies a series of questions about reputation that academics and the bar should consider more seriously than they have in the past.

Keywords: professional responsibility,legal ethics, reputation, legal advertising

JEL Classification: K00, K10

Suggested Citation

Zacharias, Fred C., Effects of Reputation on the Legal Profession (August 2008). Washington and Lee Law Review, Vol. 65, 2008, San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 08-054, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1083840

Fred C. Zacharias (Contact Author)

University of San Diego School of Law

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States

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