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Abstract

Systematic efforts to assess the legal landscape for the ordinary citizen - what legal services cost and what fraction of that cost is for real value - have been few and far between. Most studies focus instead on the performance of the legal system for corporate clients or on the delivery of legal services to the poor as a form of charity or welfare assistance. This article reviews and compares the few existing legal needs studies and looks for the macro indicators of the extent to which resources across the economy as a whole are devoted to providing legal inputs to ordinary citizens for civil matters. The U.S., despite being one of the most law-based socio-economic systems on the planet, arguably devotes significantly less support than most other countries to the legal markets and institutions necessary to make all this law the organizing principle in fact, not just theory, of everyday relationships.

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