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From the Great Depression to the Great Recession: (Non-)Lawyers Practicing Law

36 Pages Posted: 4 Jul 2013 Last revised: 5 Jul 2013

Michael Bush

West Virginia University

Date Written: April 25, 2013


In most American jurisdictions, a practitioner of legal services must have a license to practice law. However, history illustrates that economic recessions increase demand to deregulate the legal profession and allow non-lawyers to provide legal services. This article is a defense of licensing requirements for legal services, because the rule of law is too important to a civilized democracy to let it be undermined by quick judgments in the shadows of bad economies. Ultimately, legal services will be governed- by courts, legislatures, a licensed bar, or the free market. However, due to the critical nature of the rule of law in our society, the licensed bar which is bound by ethical duties and minimum competencies, is in the best position to regulate.

Keywords: Regulation, Deregulation, License, Bar, Association, Economy, Economic, History, Lawyer, Unauthorized Practice of Law, State, De Tocqueville, Friedman, Recession, Depression

Suggested Citation

Bush, Michael, From the Great Depression to the Great Recession: (Non-)Lawyers Practicing Law (April 25, 2013). West Virginia Law Review, Vol. 115, No. 3, 2013; WVU Law Research Paper. Available at SSRN:

Michael Bush (Contact Author)

West Virginia University ( email )

PO Box 6025
Morgantown, WV 26506
United States

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