Putting the Legal Profession’s Monopoly on the Practice of Law in a Global Context

By Laurel S. Terry
May 1, 2014

When considering the proper scope of the U.S. legal profession’s monopoly, regulators and commentators may find it useful to compare the scope of the U.S. monopoly with the legal profession monopolies found in other countries. This Article surveys what we know—and do not know—about the scope of the monopoly in countries other than the United States. The Article finds that the state of knowledge on this topic is relatively undeveloped, that the scope of the U.S. legal profession’s monopoly appears to be larger than the scope of the monopoly found in some other countries, but that the “conventional wisdom” may be incorrect with respect to the scope of the legal profession’s monopoly outside of the United States. It discusses some relatively new developments that may contribute to our knowledge in this area, including reports from the World Trade Organization, the European Union, and the International Bar Association. It also suggests that relatively new organizations, such as the International Conference of Legal Regulators and the International Association of Legal Ethics, might contribute to our knowledge about legal regulation around the world.