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Bar News - September 14, 2012

Morning Mail: There ARE Too Many Lawyers

Editorís note: This letter is in response to NHBA President Larry Vogelmanís article in the August 17, 2012 Bar News,"Are there too many lawyers"?

A quick point in agreement with his article:
  • All attorneys should be encouraged to volunteer either time or money to pro bono programs; itís a professional obligation.
A few quick points in disagreement:
  • There ARE too many lawyers. In their 1989 book, "Black Hole Tariff and Endogenous Policy theory: Political Economy in General Equilibrium," Stephen P. Magee, William A Brock and Leslie Young concluded that the optimum number of lawyers for the US should be (then) 60 percent less than were then practicing. Norman Augustine studied productivity increase in 10 industrialized countries against the incidence of lawyers in the US from 1960 until 1982. The US ranked 9th in productivity increases while having the 2nd greatest number of lawyers per thousand. ("Augustineís Laws," 1st ed. 1987, 6th edition, 1997). Law schools should not be mills for grinding out practitioners, but should be viewed by students as an excellent education in analytical thinking and problem-solving for non-lawyer fields.
  • Finally, and most troubling is his statement that "...we have to come up with creative notions of allocating legal services..." Sounds like central planning to me.
Bob Fryer, retired (but not inactive)
Williamsburg, VA.

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