Regulation of Lawyers

Terry, L.S., 2015. Lawyers, Regulation of. In: James D. Wright (editor-in-chief), 13 Int'l Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences 619-627 (2nd ed., 2015)(Oxford: Elsevier ISBN: 9780080970868)

Posted: 23 May 2015

See all articles by Laurel S. Terry

Laurel S. Terry

Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson Law


This article was written for the second edition of the International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. It begins with a “Definitions” section that notes several reasons why it can be difficult to discuss the topic of the “regulation of lawyers.” First, there is no agreed-upon definition of the term “lawyer.” In jurisdictions that have a unified legal profession, the meaning of the term may be clear, but in jurisdictions that do not have a unified legal profession, one must specify exactly who it is that the term “lawyer” refers to. (See, e.g. solicitors and barristers in England or jurisdictions that do not permit in-house counsel to be licensed “lawyers.”) The “Definitions” section also notes that misunderstandings can occur if one does not realize that there are significant differences among countries with respect to the activities “reserved” to lawyers (called “unauthorized practice of law” in some jurisdictions or the “lawyer’s monopoly”). This issue of reserved activities is necessarily intertwined with the topic of “regulation of lawyers.” The “Definitions” section continues by noting significant differences around the world with respect to the sources and types of lawyer regulation. Thus when one is preparing to research “regulation of lawyers” in another country, one must be prepared to look at regulatory sources that may differ from the sources used in one’s home country. The “Definitions” section also observes that when speaking of “regulation of lawyers,” one must specify the time period of regulation to which one refers and whether one intends to refer to all three stages of lawyer regulation, including the beginning or entry stage (admission), the middle stage of conduct regulation, and the end stage of lawyer discipline. The “Definitions” section concludes by noting the fact that recently, some jurisdictions view themselves as regulating the broader category of “legal services” rather than “lawyers” and thus, for certain jurisdictions, the title of this encyclopedia entry may be incomplete.

Following this preliminary discussion, this article discusses the current state of knowledge about lawyer regulation. At the time this article was written, there was no centralized source that identified lawyer regulators in different jurisdictions or the content of that regulation. Thus, this article identified resources that can be useful when researching lawyer regulation. An important source that was published after submission of this article is the IBA’s Global Regulation and Trade in Legal Services Report, The article continues with sections on: Sources and Methods of Lawyer Regulation; Changes in Focus and Emphasis over Time; Current and Emerging Directions in Theory and Research; Methodological Problems; and Links to Databases. It concludes with an extensive bibliography. The text includes embedded hotlinks to the sources cited.

Note: Because of copyright restrictions, I may not post either the final draft or the pre-editorial submission onto SSRN. I am permitted to send the final copy to colleagues I know so if you are interested, please contact me. The final copy is also available at this link for those who have an Elsevier account (which many universities do: see 10.1016/B978-0-08-097086-8.86066-3). The print version is ten pages long and includes a 3 page bibliography and cross-references to other encyclopedia topics relevant to those interested in lawyers and legal services. The draft version was 24 pages long.

Keywords: lawyers, legal services, lawyer regulation, proactive regulation, lawyer monopoly, UPL, defining a lawyer

JEL Classification: K29, L50,

Suggested Citation

Terry, Laurel S., Regulation of Lawyers. Terry, L.S., 2015. Lawyers, Regulation of. In: James D. Wright (editor-in-chief), 13 Int'l Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences 619-627 (2nd ed., 2015)(Oxford: Elsevier ISBN: 9780080970868), Available at SSRN:

Laurel S. Terry (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson Law ( email )

Lewis Katz Hall
150 S. College St.
Carlisle, PA 17013
United States

HOME PAGE: http://

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