Dangers of Deregulation

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Long title: 
The Dangers of Deregulation
Author(s): 
Remus, Dana
Author(s)' contact information: 
University of North Carolina, USA
Conference title: 
International Legal Ethics Conference VI
Conference location: 
City University London
Country: 
USA
Year: 
2014

Proposals for partial or complete deregulation of the legal profession tend to proceed by reference to one hemisphere of the profession or the other. For example, proposals to permit limited licensed practitioners to perform basic legal tasks are offered and discussed in the context of low income individuals who lack access to legal services. Proponents contend that lay practitioners will offer these individuals services that are of equal or better quality than those of a lawyer at a much lower price. Proposals to relax conflicts of interest rules, in contrast, are offered and discussed in the context of corporate representation. Proponents contend that the repeat-player clients of the corporate hemisphere are sophisticated enough to determine for themselves the level of risk they want to tolerate with respect to conflicts. I argue that we cannot understand and evaluate any proposal for relaxation of the profession’s ethics rules without considering its impact, direct or indirect, on both of the profession’s hemispheres. This broader analysis shows that proposals for deregulation may exaggerate and further entrench the existing wealth and power disparities between the clients of the two hemispheres.

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