Document Type


Publication Title

New York University Law Review



Publication Date



legal business, public good, non-lawyers practicing law, law as a calling


The Article explains how the Professionalism Paradigm distinguishes between self-interested businesspersons and altruistic professionals who place the public good above their own interests and those of their clients. The legal profession has used this Business-Profession dichotomy to obtain control of the delivery legal services, including a legislative monopoly on the practice of law. Today, the Professionalism Paradigm faces a crisis as leading lawyers, judges, and scholars complain that law has become a business and is no longer a profession. The Article “identifies this shift as a time for hope rather than as a cause for despair. Applying Thomas S. Kuhn's theory of paradigm shifts, Professor Pearce traces the transformation of law practice from a profession to a business. Explaining that the crisis created by the proliferation of business activities in law practice cannot be reconciled with the Professionalism Paradigm, he predicts that a Business Paradigm is emerging. Professor Pearce concludes by suggesting an approach to the Business Paradigm midway between a pure market approach and the re-creation of the status quo. This "Middle Range" approach would continue bar admission while permitting non-lawyers to practice law and substituting market and government regulation for self-regulation. Professor Pearce argues that this approach will likely free law practice of the taint of hypocrisy, foster a realistic community ethic of commitment to the common good, and improve the quality and delivery of legal services.