Monthly Archives: November 2010

Exposing the Regulatory Reform Agenda of Large Law Firms

John Flood, The Re-Landscaping of the Legal Profession: Large Law Firms and Professional Re-Regulation,  59 Current Sociology 2011, available at SSRN.

Lawyers and legal academics, especially in the US, have been very interested in the radical changes taking place to the regulation of the legal profession in England and Wales. These reforms will allow alternative “business structures” for law firms and put in place an independent “super-regulator” overseeing the legal profession. Similar reforms have already been instituted in Australia, generating their own share of interest. Much of the debate has focused on the possibilities of law firms incorporating and publicly listing their shares.  The most strident proponents of the new regulation welcome it as important economic innovation, while critics herald these developments as the collapse of the profession as we know it.

John Flood’s paper, “The Re-Landscaping of the Legal Profession: Large Law Firms and Professional Re-Regulation”, forthcoming in Current Sociology and currently available on SSRN, provides a though-provoking analysis of how large law firms “are undermining, modifying, escaping and ultimately reconstructing professional regulation regimes.”  Flood’s paper was part of an excellent panel at the International Legal Ethics Conference in Stanford in July 2010, which included papers by Judith Maute and Andy Boon that also provided nuanced and sociologically insightful perspectives on the reforms overcoming the English legal profession. Continue reading "Exposing the Regulatory Reform Agenda of Large Law Firms"

Judicial Amendments Treating Citizen and Immigrant Workers Equally . . . Badly: Labor Rights Without Effective Remedies

Ellen Dannin, Hoffman Plastics as Labor Law—Equality at Last for Immigrant Workers?, 44 U.S.F. L. Rev. 393 (2009), available at SSRN.

In Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court early on affirmed as “indisputable” the rule “that where there is a legal right, there is also a legal remedy” and “that every right, when withheld, must have a remedy, and every injury its proper redress.” Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137, 163 (1803) (quoting 3 William Blackstone, Commentaries *23, *109).

But while black letter law so instructs, employee status under the National Labor Relations Act does not always guarantee backpay to victims of unfair labor practices—or so explains Ellen Dannin in her well-documented review of the by now infamous labor-immigration case, Hoffman Plastics Compounds, Inc. v. N.LR.B., 535 U.S. 137 (2002).  Her article, which was part of the University of San Francisco’s symposium issue—The Evolving Definition of the Immigrant Worker: The Intersection Between Employment, Labor, and Human Rights Law—meticulously dissects the language of the Supreme Court’s opinion and the oral argument to show that Hoffman Plastics’ holding—that employers are not liable in backpay for violating the labor law rights of undocumented workers—is not an anomaly. Instead, it fits neatly into an historical trend of judicial amendments to the NLRA. Continue reading "Judicial Amendments Treating Citizen and Immigrant Workers Equally . . . Badly: Labor Rights Without Effective Remedies"