Do Judges Systematically Favor the Interests of the Legal Profession?
Benjamin H. Barton
University of Tennessee College of Law
University of Tennessee Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1
This Article answers this question with the following jurisprudential hypothesis. Many legal outcomes can be explained, and future cases predicted, by asking a very simple question: is there a plausible result in this case that will significantly affect the interests of the legal profession (positively or negatively)? If so, the case will be decided in the way that offers the best result for the legal profession.
The article presents theoretical support from the new institutionalism, cognitive psychology and economic theory. The Article then gathers and analyzes supporting cases from areas as diverse as constitutional law, torts, professional responsibility, employment law, evidence, and criminal procedure.
The questions considered include: why are lawyers the only American profession to be truly and completely self-regulated? Why is it that the attorney-client privilege is the oldest and most jealously protected professional privilege? Why is it that the Supreme Court has repeatedly struck down bans on commercial speech, except for bans on in-person lawyer solicitations and some types of lawyer advertising? Why is it that the Miranda right to consult with an attorney is more protected than the right to remain silent? Why is legal malpractice so much harder to prove than medical malpractice? The Article finishes with some of the ramifications of the lawyer-judge hypothesis, including brief consideration of whether our judiciary should be staffed by lawyer-judges at all.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 45
Keywords: judges, professional responsibility, legal malpractice, lawyers
JEL Classification: K4, K41
Date posted: April 3, 2007 ; Last revised: October 23, 2007