"If the judges interpret the laws themselves, and suffer none else to interpret, they may easily make, of the laws, [a shredded] shipman's hose!" - King James I of England, around 1616.

“No class of the community ought to be allowed freer scope in the expression or publication of opinions as to the capacity, impartiality or integrity of judges than members of the bar. They have the best opportunities of observing and forming a correct judgment. They are in constant attendance on the courts. Hundreds of those who are called on to vote never enter a court-house, or if they do, it is only at intervals as jurors, witnesses or parties. To say that an attorney can only act or speak on this subject under liability to be called to account and to be deprived of his profession and livelihood by the very judge or judges whom he may consider it his duty to attack and expose, is a position too monstrous to be entertained for a moment under our present system,” Justice Sharwood in Ex Parte Steinman and Hensel, 95 Pa 220, 238-39 (1880).

“This case illustrates to me the serious consequences to the Bar itself of not affording the full protections of the First Amendment to its applicants for admission. For this record shows that [the rejected attorney candidate] has many of the qualities that are needed in the American Bar. It shows not only that [the rejected attorney candidate] has followed a high moral, ethical and patriotic course in all of the activities of his life, but also that he combines these more common virtues with the uncommon virtue of courage to stand by his principles at any cost.

It is such men as these who have most greatly honored the profession of the law. The legal profession will lose much of its nobility and its glory if it is not constantly replenished with lawyers like these. To force the Bar to become a group of thoroughly orthodox, time-serving, government-fearing individuals is to humiliate and degrade it.” In Re Anastaplo, 18 Ill. 2d 182, 163 N.E.2d 429 (1959), cert. granted, 362 U.S. 968 (1960), affirmed over strong dissent, 366 U.S. 82 (1961), Justice Black, Chief Justice Douglas and Justice Brennan, dissenting.

" I do not believe that the practice of law is a "privilege" which empowers Government to deny lawyers their constitutional rights. The mere fact that a lawyer has important responsibilities in society does not require or even permit the State to deprive him of those protections of freedom set out in the Bill of Rights for the precise purpose of insuring the independence of the individual against the Government and those acting for the Government”. Lathrop v Donohue, 367 US 820 (1961), Justice Black, dissenting.

"The legal profession must take great care not to emulate the many occupational groups that have managed to convert licensure from a sharp weapon of public defense into blunt instrument of self-enrichment". Walter Gellhorn, "The Abuse of Occupational Licensing", University of Chicago Law Review, Volume 44 Issue 1, September of 1976.

“Because the law requires that judges no matter how corrupt, who do not act in the clear absence of jurisdiction while performing a judicial act, are immune from suit, former Judge Ciavarella will escape liability for the vast majority of his conduct in this action. This is, to be sure, against the popular will, but it is the very oath which he is alleged to have so indecently, cavalierly, baselessly and willfully violated for personal gain that requires this Court to find him immune from suit”, District Judge A. Richard Caputo in H.T., et al, v. Ciavarella, Jr, et al, Case No. 3:09-cv-00286-ARC in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Document 336, page 18, November 20, 2009. This is about judges who were sentencing kids to juvenile detention for kickbacks.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

That disruptive consumer of legal services...

An interesting article was published about "4 impending disruptions" that "legal professionals can't afford to ignore" - giving away the store as to what is what in attorney regulation.

If you remember, regulation of all occupations by the government, and that includes attorney licensing, is done under the pretext of protecting the consumer of legal services. That's why we have attorney monopoly in this country.

That's why you have to pay through your nose not for a service provider of your choice, but to a service provider approved for you by the licensing government if you need a will, a deed, a court representative - or go without that will, that deed, or that court representation.

Approval of your court representative, through attorney licensing, by the very government that sues you in civil or criminal cases, or who you yourself are suing in civil rights cases is especially precious.

So, here are the 4 "disruptions" that a legal professional cannot afford to ignore, in the opinion of innovator Michael McQueen:

  1. The Age of Automation;
  2. Empowered Consumers;
  3. Unconventional Competition; and
  4. Emerging Generations.
All of these potential "disruptions" speak volumes about why attorney regulation was (or, rather, was not) needed in the first place.


If artificial intelligence is to replace everything in the legal profession - from research to advice to resolving disputes, as it is increasingly happening, why is it so important to regulate the market of legal services, and what exactly is the government regulating that is so important - if machines can easily do the same task that a licensed human is performing.

That question is not asked or answered in the article, automation is simply pointed out as a potential point of "disruption" of a legal professional's monopolistic paradise.

But, what is the most hilarious giveaway is pointing out at "empowered consumers" as a major source of "disruption" of the legal profession.

Once again - attorney licensing exists under the pretense that it PROTECTS CONSUMERS.

At the same time, consumers are not allowed anywhere near that same regulation that is supposedly protecting them:

  1. laws about attorney regulation are "sponsored" and promoted by lawyer senators, many of them practicing licensed attorneys, guess who they are going to benefit - consumers or themselves?
  2. lawyer-legislators put lawyer-judges in charge of lawyer-regulation;
  3. lawyer-judges make rules so that only super-majority of lawyers "regulate" other lawyers, eliminating any source of dissent and any possibility of having, among providers of legal services, any lawyers who are out of step with the monopolistic legal establishment;
  4. lawyers issue ethical opinions for themselves and judges, who are also lawyers;
  5. lawyers overpower Commissions for Judicial Conduct -
in other words, consumers of legal services are not allowed anywhere near any meaningful participation in regulation of profession that secures their own access to court, regulation that exists, as it is officially declared, to protect the interests of those same consumers.

So, now what is the "disruption" of the legal profession exactly?

An "empowered consumer".

Consumers are raising their heads and, not exactly challenging the absurdity of attorney regulation for their "benefit" that results in majority of consumers not being able to afford a lawyer, or where consumer input or meaningful participation in decision-making, for their own benefits, is not allowed by the regulated profession.

What consumers are doing, according to the article, which is such a bad disruption, is this:

Imagine the gall of these pesky consumers!

  1. are more knowledgeable about the law, and can meaningfully participate in the choice of provider by considering not just the presence of a license, but the actual performance track of the provider;
  2. consumers demand the provider to explain to them what the hell he is doing after he's got their retainer money - not allowing attorneys to operate "under a cone of silence".
Well, wasn't it how it is supposed to be in any market, at any time?

So, consumers making informed decision about hiring, retaining and monitoring performance of providers of legal services is a major source of DISRUPTION?

The next two "disruptions" are no less hilarious.

Disruption No. 3 is "unconventional competitors", whatever that means.

While making references to other industries and their "unconventional competitors", the author of the article remains cryptic about who or what may be such "unconventional competitors" in the legal market.

The concept of an "unconventional competitor" in the market of legal services is sticky, and that's very possibly why the "innovator" Michael McQueen prefers not to get into that quicksand completely.

With states, at the same time,
one can only wonder who or what those mysterious "unconventional competitors" can be.

Are those law libraries?

Are those information portals like LegalZoom?

Are those published texts of the law?

Published texts of cases that people can read online for free and do their own legal research?

What is it that Michael McQueen is really telling lawyers about "unconventional competitors"? 

How to drown them? 

How to attack them in court? 

How to harass them, pursue them in criminal UPL prosecutions - ostensibly, to "protect the consumers", but in reality, to protect lawyers' own exclusive turf and captive-consumer markets?

That's why the author resorts to the most general warnings, without identifying those "unconventional competitors" of the legal industry that are one of the 4 major "disruptors"?

What is hilarious is that more and more the legal profession shows considerable shark teeth from underneath their rabbit suit pretending that provision of legal services is not a "business", and UPL laws exist only to protect the consumers.

Why are we talking of "unconventional competitors" as one of the most significant disruptors of the legal professional's market?

And the crown of it all - "emerging generations".

While it is just common sense for any service provider to know his consumer and cater for his needs, advice here goes farther than that.

It is to "engage" the "new generation" by learning how they think, to make them clients or "teammates".

In other words, how to brainwash young potential consumers of legal services better that they buy into the "milking the job" (oops, "billable hours") formula and the paternalistic idea that they are not mature enough to choose their own provider without government approval through licensing - even in the area where the exact same knowledge (legal knowledge) may be obtained by sitting a couple of hours in front of a computer and doing research on the Internet.

So, one thing is clear - the legal profession is afraid, very afraid.

Of its own consumers.

Of changes.

Of having to actually change with times, use their brains, work and depend, like anybody working in the market should, upon market fluctuations and market prices, and to deliver value for consumer's money.

Which is a very good reason for consumers to demand from their legislative representatives to yank the laws on regulation of the legal market or change that regulation in ways to allow consumers to have the decisive vote as to how that market is regulated, and how their own interests are protected, and by whom.

That would be a real disruption of that little captive paradise, which is long overdue.

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