30 Okla. City U. L. Rev. 559 (2005)
An Interpretation of Recent Developments in the Regulation of Law Practice

handle is hein.journals/okcu30 and id is 567 raw text is: AN INTERPRETATION OF RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN
Ted Schneyer*
Like law practice itself, the regulation of lawyers in the United States
is changing fast. To speak of a transformation in either domain may be
an exaggeration,' but bar leaders have been understandably concerned
for some time about regulatory changes and the fate of professional
self-regulation in particular.2 This Article tries to depict the shifting
regulatory environment in a way that may help bar leaders, scholars, and
regulators alike to gain a clearer sense of where things are headed. It
extracts some apparent trends that could have long-term regulatory
significance3 from a welter of recent developments.4 Though some of
* Milton 0. Riepe Professor of Law, James E. Rogers College of Law, University of
Arizona. Many thanks to my colleagues Jean Braucher and Mona Hymel, respectively,
for initiating me in the mysteries of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer
Protection Act of 2005 and recent changes in federal tax law to counter the creation and
marketing of abusive tax shelters.
1. According to a recent ABA report, for example, [w]e are in the midst of the
biggest transformation of civilization since the caveman began bartering. The practice of
law and the administration of justice are at the brink of change of an unprecedented...
magnitude. Comm. on Research About the Future of the Legal Profession, Am. Bar
Ass'n, Working Notes: Deliberations on the Current Status of the Legal Profession 2
(2001), available at http://www.abanet.org/lawfutures/report200l/report intro.pdf.
2. See, e.g., Jack Bierig, Whatever Happened to Professional Self-Regulation?, 69
A.B.A. J. 616, 617 (1983) (arguing that the bar should be permitted to continue to set its
own standards); Martha Middleton, FTC Keep Out: Let Courts Control, House Says, 69
A.B.A. J. 1366 (1983) (reporting on an ABA and state bar lobbying campaign to exempt
lawyers from regulation under federal consumer protection laws on the ground that legal
ethics rules promulgated by the state supreme courts already regulate lawyers' business
practices). See also Am. Bar Ass'n v. Fed. Trade Comm'n, 430 F.3d 457, 471 (D.C. Cir.
2005) (upholding an ABA challenge to FTC's position that the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act
of 1999 authorized the agency to regulate law firns as financial institutions).
3. In my usage, the regulation of law practice includes the following tasks:
formulating norms to govern practice, interpreting those norms, detecting violations, and
sanctioning violators. Regulatory change includes changes in either the content of
regulation or in the role played by, or the influence accorded to, various regulatory

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