Removing barriers to entry in practicing law

Larry Ribstein —  25 October 2011

Clifford Winston argues for this in the NYT.  For much more, see our symposium with Winston and many others.

Larry Ribstein


Professor of Law, University of Illinois College of Law

2 responses to Removing barriers to entry in practicing law


    Every lawyer, who sees fit to exercise his common sense, should oppose this proposal. After all, why shell out $150,000 for a J.D. if the degree is no longer required for the practice of law? I would also point out that the only thing keeping the practice of law “professional” are the licensing and degree requirements. All of my lawyer friends regularly assure me of two things: (1) practicing routine law is easy (in fact, my friend who executes wills always has the court clerk do all the paperwork — he just collects the mandatory fee); and (2) there are A LOT of bad lawyers out there. Why do these people then insist on opening the floodgates and depriving the lawyers currently practicing of recouping their investment in legal education? If anyone can practice law, then everyone will (when the occasion arises), because, again, (1) it is easy, and (2) it is permissible to be very bad at it.


    The horses have already left the barn.

    Between unlicensed, non-lawyer owned and unregulated Internet based providers of legal services ( ) and similarly unlicensed, non-lawyer owned and unregulated legal project outsourcing companies ( ), significant amounts of legal services are delivered by providers who have not attended law schools nor been admitted to any US bar.