This month, New York announced that, starting from July of 2016 it will switch to a multi-state bar exam, departing from its traditional two-part two-day exam checking both the federal and the New York State law.
The decision is paraded as a measure to allow more mobility to young attorneys who increasingly struggle to find employment on graduation.
Some professors explain that phenomenon by the fact that there is a decreased demand for legal services.
Being in that market, I can say that it is simply not true.
The market for legal services not only did not decrease, but is growing - it is the attorneys who try to justify their costly legal education by high hourly rates who are pricing themselves out of the market.
In fact, the same Chief Judge Lippman who changed the rules regarding the bar exam to allow New York attorneys to go work in Nebraska or Missouri, states who also embraced the multi-state bar exam, also repeatedly claims to the public that there is a crisis in the New York justice system where over 80% of litigants simply cannot afford an attorney.
If the market is deregulated and attorneys will have competition from non-attorneys, prices will instantly settle themselves, and those 80% of people who at this time have no access to affordable legal services, will get such access.
To claim that attorney licensing protects the 80% of the public who must go without the needed legal services because they cannot afford the high prices in a tightly regulated market, is to shed crocodile tears, and especially with the way attorneys are regulated:
- when the most powerful attorneys (prosecutors, judges, law clerks, the New York State Attorney General and his over 640 assistants, all attorneys working for the government, attorneys related to attorneys working for the government) are beyond the reach of discipline, it is not the consumers that attorney regulation is protecting;
- when attorneys targeted for discipline are attorneys blowing the whistle against judicial corruption and corruption of other public officials and politically connected attorneys, the public and consumers of legal services are not protected;
- when the super-majority on the attorney disciplinary committees are private market participants interested to preserve their high prices, restrict access to the market to preserve those high prices, and are interested to eliminate competition and especially competition from independent attorneys, and when representatives of the cross-section of the public are not allowed representation on those committees to the point of casing a decisive vote as to what they consider good or not good for their own protection, that is not protection of the public, it is a fake designed to preserve the status quo for the legal elite while pretending that the self-serving actions of that legal elite is somehow done for the protection of the public and not to enrich politically connected attorneys, the friends and family members;
- when the public is not allowed to be present at attorney disciplinary proceedings, even if the attorney subject to those proceedings asks for it repeatedly, that is not protection of the public.
- New Hampshire,
- North Dakota,
- Washington, and