Effects of Reputation on the Legal Profession
Fred C. Zacharias
University of San Diego School of Law
February 8, 2007
San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 07-81
This Article considers the role that the reputation of lawyers and signaling between lawyers and clients plays in determining the impact of the professional rules. Academics who have written about the relationships between lawyers and clients and the ways lawyers typically act have not adequately considered how much of a role reputation and signaling between lawyers and clients play in ordinary attorney relationships. The empirical issues are key to a proper analysis of many professional rules, as well as the approach bar associations should take to mechanisms that match lawyers and clients.
The article will focus primarily on lawyers' reputations as a proxy for what clients want, or need, to know about their representatives. Part I offers a taxonomy of the ways in which lawyers' reputations are important. Part II discusses what we do, and do not, know about lawyers' reputations in today's real world. Part III identifies a series of questions about reputation that academics and the bar might do well to consider more seriously than they have in the past.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 50
Keywords: reputation, legal advertising, referrals, lawyer referral services, client-orientation
JEL Classification: K00, K04
Date posted: February 8, 2007