The Failure to Innovate to Solve the Unaffordable Legal Services Problem

6 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2014

Date Written: July 4, 2014

Abstract

Canada’s law societies have allowed the problem of unaffordable legal services to develop over decades without doing anything because: (1) they do not accept the principle that the duty to solve the problem arises from their duty in law to regulate the legal profession; and, (2) they have never felt themselves to be under sufficient pressure to try to solve it. To the contrary, no democracy need accept the proposition that it is nobody’s duty to solve the problem, and that therefore the population must accept as a perpetual reality, that they must deal with their legal problems without the help of lawyers.

The cause of the problem is the obsolete method by which legal services are delivered — the handcraftsman’s method. Instead, a support-services method should be used, as is used in the medical profession, and in all of large-scale competitive manufacturing. It combines a high degree of specialization with large scaled-up volumes of production, so as to create the great cost-efficiency that enables costs to be minimized, and products and services to improve without their prices having to be increased. No doctor’s office provides all medical services needed by all patients. It is but one part of a large, sophisticated medical infrastructure of mutually dependent support-services. In contrast, each law office provides all legal services required by each client. Therefore the unaffordable legal services problem is inevitable. All the while, the problem causes more damage in one day than have all of the incompetent and unethically practising lawyers in the whole history of Canada. But its law societies refuse to be proactive, nor active in regard to unaffordable legal services, as they are about incompetent and unethically practising lawyers.

The cause of the problem is not understood, as is shown by the analyses of those making recommendations for its solution. They are merely lawyers, but this is not a legal problem. The cause of the problem is not the absence of the right improvement to the method of the delivering legal services, but rather the method itself. Therefore, the example of a sophisticated centralized legal research service is used to show how a much needed support-service can again make legal services affordable.

Suggested Citation

Chasse, Ken, The Failure to Innovate to Solve the Unaffordable Legal Services Problem (July 4, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2462642 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2462642

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