The legal profession is losing its authority over the regulation of legal services. Recent changes in antitrust law have put state bar associations under a spotlight. Competition from technology companies and concerns about access to justice have increased political pressure for market liberalization. Independent research is challenging the unique value of lawyers’ services, even in formal legal proceedings, and this research is increasingly well-organized and well-funded at the national level. The organized bar is asleep at the wheel and ill-prepared to respond.
This Article argues that the United States is moving toward evidence-based lawyer regulation, and suggests strategies for equipping the bar to contribute to evidence-based policy-making. It focuses specifically on strategies for institutionalizing independent research norms within the profession and promoting research as an essential component of professional self-regulation.