Rather than improving quality, the barriers to entry exist simply to protect lawyers from competition with non-lawyers and firms that are not lawyer-owned — competition that could reduce legal costs and give the public greater access to legal assistance.By the way, if you want to become a lawyer without taking the bar exam, go to the University of Wisconsin Law School (or Marquette)... and stay in Wisconsin.
In fact, the existing legal licensing system doesn’t even do a great job at protecting clients from exploitation. In 2009, the state disciplinary agencies that cover the roughly one million lawyers practicing in the United States received more than 125,000 complaints, according to an A.B.A. survey. But only 800 of those complaints — a mere 0.6 percent — resulted in disbarment.
What if the barriers to entry were simply done away with?
October 26, 2011
A NYT op-ed by the Brookings Institution economist Clifford Winston, an economist and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. (His book is “First Thing We Do, Let’s Deregulate All the Lawyers.”)