The Lawyer's Monopoly — What Goes and What Stays

25 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2016 Last revised: 14 Sep 2016

See all articles by Benjamin H. Barton

Benjamin H. Barton

University of Tennessee College of Law

Date Written: September 1, 2013


We live in a time of unprecedented changes for American lawyers, probably the greatest changes since the Great Depression. That period saw the creation of the lawyer’s monopoly through a series of regulatory modifications. Will we see the same following the Great Recession? Formally, no. This Article predicts that formal lawyer regulation in 2023 will look remarkably similar to lawyer regulation in 2013. This is because lawyer regulators will not want to rock the boat in the profession or in law schools during a time of roil.

Informally, yes! We are already seeing a combination of computerization, outsourcing, and nonlawyer practice radically reshape the market for law from one that centers on individualized, hourly work done for clients to a market of much cheaper, commoditized legal products. This trend will accelerate over time. The upshot? Formal lawyer regulation will continue on with little change, but will cover an ever-shrinking proportion of the market for legal services.

Keywords: Lawyer Regulation

JEL Classification: K2, K4

Suggested Citation

Barton, Benjamin H., The Lawyer's Monopoly — What Goes and What Stays (September 1, 2013). Fordham Law Review, Vol. 82, 2014, University of Tennessee Legal Studies Research Paper No. 297, Available at SSRN:

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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