Modernizing Legal Services

Most people understand that regulations have a direct bearing on their access to things such as clean air and water and safe working environments. However, in the United States, few people make the connection between how legal services are regulated and how difficult it is for them to access legal services. Indeed, on the question of affordable and accessible civil justice, the World Justice Project ranks the US 94th out of 113 countries, behind Albania, Belarus, Myanmar, and Russia.

For decades academics and others have debated whether the legal profession is self-regulated and, if it is, whether it should be. But is it the right debate? Self-regulation—or not—does not obviate the need for effective regulation.

Independent, accountable, and transparent regulatory bodies, effective oversight of those bodies, the genuine engagement of citizens in the regulatory process, evidence-based research to fully assess the impact of regulation, and an approach to regulation that is proportionate and targeted to actual risks are essential for effective regulation. Through the lens of the adoption of alternative structures, this book explains how England, Wales, and Australia have, by embracing these essential elements, successfully modernized their regulatory environments for legal services, and how Canada has taken firm steps down its own path to the same. In contrast, by rejecting these elements, the United States remains paralyzed in an unproductive regulatory environment for legal services.

This book provides a blueprint for how the US can take inspiration from its common law sisters to breathe new life into its regulatory environment for legal services. Ultimately, modernization will require more—and better—regulation that is financed publicly through equitable, progressive revenue sources.

Noel Semple, University of Windsor:

Laura Snyder’s Modernizing Legal Services in Common Law Countries is a major step forward for legal services regulation scholarship. Snyder offers a sophisticated, comprehensive comparison of regulatory structures and reform in England & Wales, Australia, Canada, and the United States. The book draws on an enormous wealth of primary and secondary research. It also offers a compelling vision for fostering access to justice and professionalism through regulatory reform. This highly recommended book will prove a valuable resource for all scholars and practitioners of legal services regulation, as well as anyone who wants to improve the practice of law.

John Flood, Griffith University Law School:

Laura Snyder takes the OECD’s six principles of effective regulatory policy and forensically applies them to legal services. She compares them across the US, the UK, Australia, and Canada. Each country (and states within) has its own approach to legal regulation. Some like the US are conservative while others like the UK are liberal. Using deep analysis and interviews with key players in legal services, Snyder refreshingly opens a dark, convoluted world to our gaze, which is long overdue.

Richard Devlin, Dalhousie University:

This careful, comprehensive and thoughtful study throws down the gauntlet to the American legal profession…now the question is whether there is anyone brave enough to pick it up?

Published 2017 by Lexington Books (an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield)

Discount code if purchased directly from publisher (use this link): LEX30AUTH17 (code expires 1 August 2018)

Click below to view table of contents and selected chapters: