At this Symposium, we have heard about forms of law practice that raise large questions about the lawyer's role. My sole theme in the present essay is that we often ask the wrong large questions. Too often, the questions about multidisciplinary practice ("MDP"), mediation and arbitration, and in-house lawyering are whether they are good for lawyers and good for clients. These are questions, I will suggest, that the market itself will decide. The right question is not whether new roles with no rules are good for lawyers and clients, but rather whether they are good for the rest of us-"us" being the citizenry who count on lawyers to be guardians of the law, and who market forces will not necessarily protect.
All three of the new roles raise the interesting prospect of the lawyer's traditional role dissolving into a different one as role boundaries blur and thin. In MDP, the prospect is that lawyers become indistinguishable from accountants, investment bankers, financial advisors, or business consultants. For in-house lawyers, the prospect is that lawyers become indistinguishable from corporate executives, or, more broadly, from clients. And for third-party neutrals, the prospect is that lawyers become very much like judges.
I will not be discussing all three roles in this paper. My principal focus is on multidisciplinary practice. The role of in-house counsel is a secondary focus, and I shall not address the role of third-party neutral at all.
72 Temp. L. Rev. 839
Scholarly Commons Citation
Luban, David, "Asking the Right Questions" (1999). Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. Paper 1752.