Monthly Archives: April 2012

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Pluralism Reimagined

Jan Smits, “A Radical View of Legal Pluralism” in Leone Niglia, ed, Pluralism and European Private Law (Oxford, 2012), available on SSRN.

Legal Pluralism is both a phenomenon and a response to that phenomenon.  We live in a world with a plurality of legal orders.  There are municipal legal systems and international law.  These are the most familiar forms of law, the most comfortable types of legal orders.  Then there are international or “supranational” legal orders like the European Union.  Finally, there are private and transnational legal orders that traverse the boundaries both of “law” and the very notion of a “system” (think of Lex Mercatoria or Sports law).

Jan Smits has been writing about legal pluralism for some time.  His work is always interesting.  This chapter is both intelligent and provocative because Smits takes legal pluralism to a new place and gives it a dimension no one has yet considered. Continue reading "Pluralism Reimagined"


Regulation and Theory: What Does Reality Have to Do With It?

Christine Parker & Lyn Aitken, The Queensland “Workplace Culture Check”: Learning from Reflection on Ethics Inside Law Firms, 24 Georgetown J. Legal Ethics 399 (2011).

Australia is the home to some of the world’s most interesting and provocative legal profession developments.  For example, Australian jurisdictions were among the first jurisdictions to permit nonlawyer ownership of law firms.  Not long thereafter, the Australian regulatory scheme was amended to permit outside investment in law firms.  As a result, Australia became the site of the world’s first publicly traded law firm.  Australia has been on the forefront of other lawyer regulation developments such as the proactive use of ex ante systems of regulation.

As commentators and jurisdictions elsewhere discuss and debate the proper scope of lawyer regulation, many look to Australia’s experiences in the hopes that they will provide valuable information and lessons.  Those actively following the Australian developments include the American Bar Association (ABA), the UK Legal Services Board, and the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), which is the front-line regulator for solicitors in England and Wales. Continue reading "Regulation and Theory: What Does Reality Have to Do With It?"