Rethinking Self-Regulation: Antitrust Perspectives on Bar Governance Activity

19 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2018 Last revised: 1 Aug 2018

See all articles by Deborah Rhode

Deborah Rhode

Stanford Law School

Benjamin H. Barton

University of Tennessee College of Law

Date Written: June 2018

Abstract

This article discusses the American bar’s unfortunate over-protection against the unauthorized practice of law and the ways that the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission suggests that their anticompetitive practices may face new hurdles. The article surveys the background of federal antitrust doctrine and describes the scope and rationale of the Dental Examiner’s ruling. The article then offers some thoughts on the implications of the decision for bar regulatory activities, including a recent example involving the North Carolina bar’s UPL action against LegalZoom. We close with some suggestions about how the bar should proceed going forward, concluding that the Supreme Court may have mapped a route forward for saner regulation of the market for legal services. If we are right, society as a whole will benefit.

Suggested Citation

Rhode, Deborah and Barton, Benjamin H., Rethinking Self-Regulation: Antitrust Perspectives on Bar Governance Activity (June 2018). Chapman Law Review, Vol. 20, 2017; University of Tennessee Legal Studies Research Paper No. 351. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3183737

Deborah Rhode

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States
650 723.0319 (Phone)

Benjamin H. Barton (Contact Author)

University of Tennessee College of Law ( email )

1505 West Cumberland Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996
United States

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