Welcome to this site! I am very glad that you are here.
This site contains the work-product of several years of research and writing.
IF YOU ARE NOT A LAWYER PLEASE READ THIS: Please do not be afraid. Or dismissive. Do not think for one minute that because you are not a lawyer, this site is not for you. This site is called “Not Just For Lawyers” for a reason. Everything that I have written was prepared with YOU in mind. There is nothing in any of the materials presented on this website that someone who is not a lawyer will not understand. To the extent I could not avoid introducing concepts that are familiar to lawyers but unfamiliar to most people who are not lawyers, I take great care to explain those concepts so that you are comfortable with them, too.
I’ve not done this just to be nice. I’ve done this because I firmly believe that none of the changes I call for can happen unless and until people who are not lawyers get interested in and educated about these issues. Until you do, nothing will change. And you (and many many others) will continue to struggle to access legal services.
You’ll find on this site:
1. Selected excerpts from my book
Democratizing Legal Services: Obstacles and Opportunities
We live in a “law-thick” world. For individuals and organizations in both the public and the private sectors, navigating the large number of complex laws, rules, institutions and procedures that pervade American life is virtually impossible without some assistance. Some argue that there are too many lawyers. Others insist that the unmet need for legal services is so high that it constitutes a human rights crisis.
This book exposes why it is easy to access legal services for some yet virtually impossible for others, and it considers why some lawyers have successful careers but others cannot. This book argues that the problems plaguing legal services in the US today can only be addressed by a radical overhaul of the rules that govern how legal services may be delivered, as well as radical changes to who exercises the power to make those rules. This book exposes the formidable obstacles that exist along the path to those changes, as well as the opportunities that await.
2. Stories from the horses’ mouths
In the course of writing the book, I interviewed upwards of 70 people who have created, are managing, are employees of and/or have invested in alternative structures, as well as persons who regulate them. This part of the website includes a selection of 58 of those interviews. They offer unique and direct perspectives on the variety of issues that are raised in the book, and they move those issues from the realm of the theoretical and abstract into the realm of the concrete and entirely real. You can read more about how I conducted the interviews here.
The third part of this site contains my blog, where I comment on current events to the extent they relate to issues raised in the book, and, especially, as they relate to the democratization of legal services.
Finally, there is a lot — a lot — of material on this site. I hope that you’ll take some time to have a good look, and that you’ll come back to the site more than once. Especially, I hope you’ll like the site enough to tell others about it, and encourage them to also visit the site.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions, comments and suggestions — I would love to hear from you!
About Laura Snyder
During the more than 20 years since I graduated from law school, I have had the opportunity to experience legal services from multiple perspectives: as a law firm associate, as in-house counsel, and as a consumer for myself and on behalf of family members. I have also had the opportunity to experience legal services on an international basis: in the US, the UK and France, as well as in a host of other countries in Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa. These experiences taught me both that the regulation and the delivery of legal services are universal concepts and that neither their limitations nor their potential are constrained by borders.
These experiences also taught me that there is a huge gap between, on the one hand, the legal services that individuals and organizations (desperately) need and, on the other hand, the legal services that lawyers actually provide. I realized that this is the case in nearly every country, and most especially the case in the United States. I wanted to understand why that was the case, and I wanted to understand how it could be fixed. This curiosity led me on a journey that has resulted in this website.
I was born and raised in the US. I hold a JD from the University of Illinois College of Law, a DEA in droit privé from the University of Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne), and I completed the TRIUM Executive MBA program (an alliance of the London School of Economics, New York University Stern School of Business and HEC School of Management). I am a member of the bars of Illinois, New York and Paris. I live in France.
I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.