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SQE is exactly what the US legal services sector badly needs

The new assessment is a beacon of hope for those who decry the failure of US legal education to serve its customers: students and society, writes Mark A. Cohen

6 June 2017

The US legal profession needs an independent regulatory body like the Solicitors Regulation Authority to oversee it. If you think the legal industry is in disarray in England and Wales, it’s far worse in the US where 50 states create a patchwork of anachronistic, balkanised regulation designed to frustrate competition and innovation. It is a classic example of protectionism and self-regulation run amuck.

The American Bar Association – the US counterpart to the Law Society – has thrice declined to adopt some form of alternative business structure ownership during the new millennium, bowing to pressure from state bars that vigorously opposed it. The same opposition to material change in legal education – even more outdated and expensive in the US than in the UK – has institutionalised stasis.

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