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Thursday, October 30

14h00 - 17h30 
INTERNATIONAL BAR LEADERS SENATEPalazzo dei congressi di Firenze - Auditorium

President : Stephen L. DREYFUSS
Coordinators : Huguette ANDRE-CORET
Speakers : José Alberto ALVAREZ

Should Lawyers Be Entitled to a Monopoly on Legal Services? 

Firstly, the liberalisation of legal services is an inevitable trend, both in common law jurisdictions and in Europe.

The most visible demonstration are:

- The work of the CCBE’s International Legal Services Committee on the creation of the status of Foreign Legal Practitioner; 

- The authorisation that has just been given by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) in the United Kingdom for the Direct Line insurance group to provide legal services, under certain conditions.

Secondly, this liberalisation generates heightened a growing competition, with consequences that are difficult to control and that negatively impact the quality and risk-sensitive basis of legal services provided to consumers.

In this respect,

- Although publishers of legal opinions design document-based websites that have genuine scientific value, 

- The spectacular development of new technologies has made it possible for the number of websites run by unlicensed service providers to increase exponentially. These service providers, some of whom operate illegally, provide unguaranteed, scarcely reliable legal services to users who are looking for law-related information.

- Our profession needs to innovate and, in order to remain competitive, it needs to adapt to a different attorney-client relationship? Does it need to create customised, professional websites? Have an international specialised network? Develop a more focussed and aggressive advertising? 

Without abandoning our values and while supporting this liberalisation of legal services, can we adopt the same stance as Professor Christophe Jamin and ask: how we can stand up to "the mass de-professionalisation of legal services"? Or, is it rather to change the manner of practising?

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