Hemispheres Apart, a Profession Connected
University of North Carolina School of Law
February 1, 2014
UNC Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2394246
In recent years, a number of scholars have built upon the bifurcated nature of the legal profession with proposals to relax professional regulation in just one of the profession’s hemispheres. Some advocate a relaxation of unauthorized practice rules in the personal services hemisphere to increase competition, decrease prices, and make legal services more accessible to all segments of the population. Others propose a relaxation of particular client protections in the corporate hemisphere to honor client autonomy and choice. In this essay, I explore the unintended and problematic consequences of these proposals. I argue that although scholars advocating the two sets of changes have divergent goals and motivations, their proposals suffer from a common flaw — they fail to account for the extent and significance of linkages that connect the profession’s hemispheres. Focusing on these linkages, I argue that proposals to relax regulation along the profession’s existing structural contours threaten to exaggerate and entrench wealth and power disparities in the profession and in society at large.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 16
Date posted: February 14, 2014