TILEC Seminar: Jan Bouckaert
Title: Conflicts of Interest, Ethical Standards, and Competition in Legal Services
We study how the legal profession manages representational conflicts of interest.
Such conflicts arise when the same law firm represents clients with adverse interests.
They may compromise the legal process, ultimately jeopardizing social welfare. We
argue that current ethical standards, emphasizing disqualification over Chinese walls,
may actually worsen the clients’ situation. Instead, the clients’ interests are today
mainly protected by law firms being small. Despite low market concentration, law
firms enjoy high earnings as representational conflicts create negative network externalities at the firm level. These profits are not eroded even in the long run as
entry occurs through firm splitups.
Presented by: Jan Bouckaert
Jan Bouckaert is Professor of Economics at the University of Antwerp. His research interests include industrial organization, competition policy, and regulation. He holds a PhD from Tilburg University.
Time: 10:45-11:45 hrs