too many lawyers?

Matt Yglesias says that there are too few jobs for lawyers.

The problem is that he ignores the very likely possibility that lawyers are able to induce demand for their services. Of course, there are not unlimited legal positions available, but more lawyers often means more legal work and not less. This is because when times get tough, lawyers can cook up more business by trying to convince clients to sue. In other words, the legal profession can absorb a surprising amount of new entrants.

So, Matt says that more lawyers means less costs for consumers, but this is at least deceptive and possibly completely false. More lawyers might mean more money spent on legal battles, depending on the amount of demand inducement (and if lawyers live up to their reputations, there might be a massive amount). But further, if the price of a lawyer goes down, then the price of lawyers goes down for everyone. This means that if I can defend myself with less money, you can also sue me for a lower cost. The prohibitive cost of lawyers is one things that induces two parties to settle, greatly reducing administrative costs, rather than create an expensive legal battle. Thus, higher prices for lawyers might be better for “consumers” or at least society in general.


1 Response to “too many lawyers?”

  1. December 6, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    “This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here keep up the good work.”

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