Some realism on the regulatory reform movement


Imagine a legal sector neatly divided into two groups: the Rule Makers and the Risk Takers.  With evidence piling up that the legal market is not working for ordinary citizens, the Rule Makers come together to evaluate possible changes. After the new rules are enacted, the burden shifts to the Risk Takers to build out workable solutions.

If we apply this simple model to the US legal sector, it appears that the Rule Makers are struggling to deliver, as the most high-profile liberalization efforts at the state and national levels are now being shelved or slow-walked. See, e.g., Cheryl Miller, “California State Bar Puts Brakes on Proposed ‘Regulatory Sandbox,’” Am. Law., Mar. 13, 2020 (citing “political headwinds” as reason for tabling ATILS Task Force recommendations); Brenda Sapino Jeffreys, “ABA Approves Innovation Resolution, With Revisions to Limit Regulatory Changes,” Law.com, Feb. 17, 2020 (discussing passage of watered down resolution that disavowed any changes to nonlawyer ownership or the unauthorized practice of law).
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A discussion of the scope and content of limited practice legal education


Regulatory reform efforts are underway in Arizona, see Ambrogi, “Arizona Task Force Calls for Wide-Ranging Practice Reforms, Including Eliminating Ban on Nonlawyer Ownership,” LawSites, Oct. 15, 2019, and Utah,  Ambrogi, “Utah Task Force Calls for ‘Profoundly Reimagining the Way Legal Services Are Regulated’,” LawSites, Aug. 27, 2019, with emerging movements in California, Illinois, and elsewhere proceeding apace, see Jayne Reardon, “Re-regulating Lawyers for the 21st Century,” 2Civility, July 18, 2019 (summarizing various state reform efforts).
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One-to-many legal solutions are built by teams of multidisciplinary professionals. It’s time to build a legal talent supply chain.


The above graphic is a map of the human capital needed to create “one-to-many” legal solutions (Human Capital Map).  It’s a dense graphic on a complex topic. To explain its structure and the key insights it provides, I’ll cover the following topics:
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Our profession evolves through people. Some are stepping up.


Everyday, when I am paying attention, the world is nudging me to let go of something wrong and unhelpful. A friend of mine calls it “dropping the rock.”  The rock is an assumption about how the world operates that can’t be reconciled with an honest evaluation of facts and experience.
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Marcus Arnold and Michael Lewis, © Capital Pictures

In this post, I tell an old Michael Lewis story that bears on the law. Remarkably, most of the insights come from a 15-year-old boy named Marcus Arnold, pictured above with Lewis circa 2001.  I then review the U.K.’s journey to market liberalization, including the repeal of the British version of Model Rule 5.4.  
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