Writing at “First Thing We Do, Let’s Deregulate All the Lawyers,” two senior fellows at the Brookings Institution believe there isn’t an oversupply of lawyers. There’s just an oversupply of regulations. Their Utopian solution? Break up the monopoly by lowering barriers to entry and eliminating occupational licensing.
And pointing to other industries that have been deregulated like airlines and trucking, they claim quality isn’t compromised by “aggressive” competitive price-cutting.
They go on to assert that the resulting lawyer deregulation free-for-all will lower consumer costs by increasing competition not only from other lawyers but from non-lawyers, too. Deregulation, they say, means lower prices and more jobs.
And furthermore, services provided by lawyers don’t require three years of law school. Look at LegalZoom, for example, as they wax on in a related Op-Ed written last week for “The Wall Street Journal” at “Time to Deregulate the Practice of Law.” And why not let investment banks, insurers, accounting firms and management consultancies offer legal services to the masses?
We need no stinkin’ law degree.
Law degree? What law degree? You “don’t need no stinking badges!“ to practice law. In July, the same scholars, Clifford Winston and Robert Crandall made the related argument that rather than a surfeit of supply, “The U.S. May Need More Lawyers!”
“ABA occupational licensing requirements have allowed lawyers to create a club with a limited membership that is able to raise prices to consumers, which is how top lawyers can get away with charging upwards of $1,000 per hour for their time.”
Stop the inanity
Words are insufficient to address such facile, fatuous flapdoodle. Stop the inanity. Deregulation is hardly a panacea. Airline deregulation as a touchstone? Then what to make of the fact that “Airlines score lowest among 47 industries evaluated by the American Customer Satisfaction Index”? See “Airlines score lowest in customer satisfaction” – CNN And of course, everyone now knows all the ‘good’ done by the deregulation of the financial industry. Subprime mortgages and credit default swaps, anyone?
Scamming monopolists and “Jumbo Dumbass.”
The practice of law is a monopoly – – – a trade cartel, if you will. But despite such alleged ‘protections,’ the vast majority of lawyers, especially today, earn far less than what these two think-takers suggest by referencing the rarefied fees earned by a select few as was recently reported by “The Wall Street Journal” of “Top lawyers pushing rates above $1,000 per hour.”
I won’t rehash the predicament facing young lawyers who are under-employed, unemployed or treading water as clueless solos all the while weighed down by an anchor of six-figure tuition debt or what columnist Kristen Stumpo at “Above the Law“ describes as the revised definition for the J.D. degree.
It used to mean “Juris Doctor.” She now says it means “Job Dilemma” and “Jumbo Dumbass.” Also see “In This Economy, What’s the New Meaning of JD?”
Cob rollers at the trough.
Lawyer deregulation? It’ll never happen. Too many cob rollers at the trough. Too many vested stakeholders guarding the drawbridge.
And besides, what Messrs. Winston and Crandall fail to realize is that market forces have already lowered prices and increased competition.
The laws of oversupply and flaccid Recessionary demand have radically transformed the legal landscape. Some lawyers, especially, those newly-minted are already working for subsistence wages. Some are even moonlighting at non-lawyer work to make ends meet. And for those actually doing legal work, see how much the landscape has changed by checking out just a few of the lawyer job postings at $9, $13 and $15 hour at “Shit Law Jobs.”
So for those lawyers collaborating at such “Law School Scambusting Blogs” as “Shilling Me Softly” and “Temporary Attorney: The Sweatshop Edition” and “The Jobless Juris Doctor“ and “Subprime JD.”, can you hear the chortles?