Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Classical Agency Problem Yet Again

Lester Brinkman, a Yeshiva University law professor notes, "to date, no court has declared the practice [of plaintiff's lawyers conspiring with defendants] illegitimate. The failure of the legal profession to enforce its ethical rules and lawyers' fiduciary obligations is an indelible indictment of the bar's claim to self regulation based on its acting in the public interest", WSJ, 25 Sept.

Why should lawyers be any more ethical than CPAs? Self-regulation is nonsense. As Adam Smith told us in 1776, "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices", The Wealth of Nations. Are lawyers people too?

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