Are Lawyers Becoming ‘Luxury Goods’?
Posted Jul 7, 2008 3:42 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
Lawyers increasingly are becoming like luxury goods to many would-be clients, an expensive article that they can't afford or don't want to make a priority.
And that is bad news for the profession as well as for the public, says a recent article in the National (PDF), a magazine published by the Canadian Bar Association.
Lawyers, for instance, "could soon be in a minority among advocates in family courts nationwide," the magazine writes. While that means less business for attorneys who would gladly represent those in need of counsel in Canadian family court matters, it also represents an additional cost for those who do represent such clients, the article says. For example, attorneys waiting their turn behind unrepresented litigants attempting for the first time to navigate through the complexities of the court system are likely to be waiting longer than attorneys standing behind other legal counsel.
Some potential family law clients could afford to hire an attorney, but just don't see the benefit of doing so, the magazine notes. Empowered by the ease of researching the law on the Internet and a modern-day sense that experts may not be necessary, they prefer to go it alone rather than bring in a lawyer. In some areas there is also a shortage of available counsel to take on new cases.
First, unaffordable legal fees won't drop in a self-regulated marketplace for attorneys, he says. Second, regardless of whether lawyers are involved, family court is still resolving cases.
ABAJournal.com: "Legal Assistance Lawyer Calls for ‘Civil Gideon’ in N.H."