New Paper on Re-imagining the State Bar to Increase Access to Justice

The Rhode Center on the Legal Profession published today a new white paper titled The Bar Re-Imagined: Options for State Courts to Restructure the Regulation of the Practice of Law. Authored by Rhode Center Executive Director Lucy Ricca and Dr. Thomas Clarke, the white paper critically examines the role of state bar associations in the regulation of the practice of law and offers state supreme courts multiple structural alternatives to consider. The paper encourages courts to recognize the serious limitations of the traditional delegation of their regulatory authority to state bar associations, particularly noting the protection of the professional monopoly at the expense of the public interest in access to low cost legal services. It then outlines five alternative ways to structure and house the regulation of the practice of law to encourage increased effectiveness, empiricism in regulation, efficiency, and independence from those subject to regulation.  Rhode Center Executive Director and paper author Lucy Ricca notes, “This white paper will be of interest to state supreme courts and other stakeholders concerned that the traditional delegation of regulatory authority to state bars is no longer sufficient to ensure the public interest is prioritized.”  The paper is available as part of the Rhode Center’s Legal Regulatory Innovation Toolkit which includes research and policy analyses on the legal services regulation, innovation, and access to justice.

September 25, 2023
By Deborah L. Rhode Center on the Legal Profession
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