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date: 16 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article describes the American legal profession's project to position itself between market and state. It offers a framework within which claims to self-regulatory authority can be understood and compared across different professions and different geographic locations. This article begins by articulating the logic that underlies professional self-regulation and ties it to professions' attempt to delineate an occupational space shielded from state control and competitive forces. It then turns to the American bar's organisational efforts to implement this logic at three institutional sites: the university based law school, bar associations, and the sphere of corporate practice. The last section of this article investigates how the dynamics between new regulatory initiatives and intensified market pressures have threatened the bar's traditional self-regulatory power. It describes how regulation of lawyers, particularly those in large firms, may be moving closer to models of regulation that have become familiar in the industrial and financial realms.

Keywords: American legal profession, self-regulatory authority, university based law school, bar associations, corporate practice

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