Chapter 2. The United States of America: Legal Services Regulation in the United States—A Tale of Two Models

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International Perspectives on the Regulation of Lawyers and Legal Services


By any measure America’s market for legal services, and its regulation of that market, are unique. First, consider the sheer number of lawyers in the United States, particularly in relation to its population. In 2016, America claimed 1,315,561 licensed lawyers. This may or may not be the highest number in the world, depending on whether the estimates of the number of those in India’s legal profession can be relied upon. But it works out to one lawyer for every 245 Americans, which is second only to Israel in lawyers-per-capita. Second, consider the amount the country spends on legal services. In 2015, Americans consumed over $102 billion worth of legal assistance, which constitutes somewhere between 1.3 and 1.8 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) , more than any other country. The United States accounts for 39 per cent of the world...

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