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March 6, 2014

Competition in the new legal marketplace

by Dan Rodriguez

from another prominent legal futurist, this time Jordan Furlong.

Two thoughts:

On the observation that regulation will wither away, this hasn’t been the path of legal change has predicted over many years.  Regulation in the legal profession (and in legal education) has proved remarkably resilient, even in the face of competitive pressures.  Just consider the stunning lack of bar reciprocity and also the various restrictions on pro se representation.  Or, in the law school context, the limitations on supervised student representation, even where there are enormous unmet legal needs.  So perhaps Furlong is right that regulation is under especially sustained assault and will crumble.  But we shouldn’t count our chickens.

On the “creating new markets” message:  yes indeed.  I have written about this elsewhere on this blog.  In the future — indeed, in the present — lawyers are entrepreneurs and regulatory engineers, business professionals and risk managers.  The business of lawyering is going through significant change, and how JD holders can deploy their skills to improve structures and institutions and business decision-making is an essential modern question.  Law is important for folks other than lawyers; and lawyers are important for business performance in spaces other than traditionally legal.

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