letters | Is America’s legal bubble bursting?

Tough market for lawyers? Tougher for those who can’t afford legal services

Jeff Jacoby laments the existence of too many lawyers around our nation in “US legal bubble can’t pop soon enough.” The irony is that, while there may be a lot of lawyers in the United States, access to justice is routinely denied because legal services are often overpriced and out of reach.

Many middle-class people, to say nothing of those living in poverty, cannot afford a good lawyer. Many people only consult a lawyer when the trouble they face or the problem they’d like to solve has become complex and the risk high. Yet that only makes the legal representation more expensive when a lawyer is retained. If lawyers were affordable, more lawsuits might be avoided and legal fees might be more predictable.

No jobs? There is plenty of work for lawyers who will do good work for clients and charge affordable rates.

The answer is not to stop educating lawyers. The answer is to start educating lawyers to serve the needs of all clients, not just the very rich. The answer is to promote access to justice.


Jessica Silbey

The writer is a professor of law at Suffolk University Law School.