Last week, I attended the FTC’s second Occupational Licensing Roundtable in Washington, D.C. The Roundtable – titled “The Effects of Occupational Licensure on Competition, Consumers, and the Workforce: Empirical Research and Results” – consisted of economists delving into the costs of occupational licensing. The prognosis is grim. Licensing requirements cost society a great deal (primarily in… Continue reading What if We Just “Certified” Lawyers Instead of Licensing Them?
In-House Lawyer Fired for Intemperate Facebook Post: Expressing a lack of sympathy for shooting victims based on their perceived political leanings isn’t a good look on anyone. So it’s no surprise that CBS lawyer Hayley Geftman-Gold was unceremoniously fired for posting on Facebook, shortly after the mass shooting at a Las Vegas country music festival,… Continue reading October Notes: The Facebook Post that Cost an In-House Lawyer Her Job
Are the Bar Ad Rules Finally Changing? One of the little-understood impediments to consumer access to legal services is the way lawyers are regulated. From our monopoly on “the practice of law,” to our antiquated jurisdictional limits and advertising rules, lawyers labor under a regulatory burden with few equals. And while there are some good… Continue reading June 2017 Notes: Big Changes for Lawyer Ad Rules?
While the ABA has, in recent years, tentatively nosed around the idea of allowing some form of non-lawyer investment in law firms, it’s a concept that continues to be met largely with cries of “BURN THE WITCH” rather than any meaningful engagement. Arguments against are of the “lawyer exceptionalism” variety, which I addressed in a… Continue reading Non-Lawyer Investment in Law Firms?
Late last year, I offered to a room full of attorneys that they should consider emulating McDonalds when it comes to delivering consumer legal services. Yes, the response was underwhelming. But hear me out: Think of restaurant dining and legal services as solutions to problems. Dining solves the problem of hunger and nutrition; legal services… Continue reading The McDonalds of Law?
Last Friday, Avvo submitted comments to the Florida Supreme Court in response to the Florida Bar’s proposed changes to the state’s Lawyer Referral Service Rules. You can read our submission here, but here’s the backstory and highlights: This isn’t the first attempt to change the LRS Rules. After the last go-round, the Florida Supreme Court instructed… Continue reading Florida’s Misguided Attempt to Modify its Lawyer Referral Service Rules
In June of 2016, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice sent a detailed letter in response to an inquiry from North Carolina Senator Bill Cook. The subject? The impending enactment of North Carolina House Bill 436, legislation that would exclude online interactive legal forms from the definition of “the practice of law.”… Continue reading FTC Comment on North Carolina’s “LegalZoom Law”
Apparently not, at least if we are to follow the recent Fifth Circuit decision in Serafine v. Branaman, in which a political candidate was allowed to refer to herself as a “psychologist” despite lacking a license – or the technical qualifications – to practice that profession. But let’s not get too hasty. The Serafine case… Continue reading Must You Be Licensed to Call Yourself a “Lawyer?”
Like Chief Justice John Roberts, I don’t put a lot of stock in law review articles. But every now and then, one comes along – usually written by an honest-to-god practicing lawyer, and not a full-time academic – that’s worthy of notice. Case in point? Paul Sherman’s March 15 Commentary in the Harvard Law Review, “Occupational… Continue reading Does Licensing Lawyers Violate the First Amendment?
Despite the grand vision implied by the title of the ABA “Future of Legal Services” Commission, the Commission’s scope is modest. It might be summed up as trying to address this question: are there incremental ways that the practice of law could be tweaked – whether in practice or via regulation – such that access to justice… Continue reading Non-Lawyer Ownership of Law Firms