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Program Description

The Program on the Legal Profession (PLP) seeks to make a substantial contribution to the modern practice of law by increasing understanding of the structures, norms and dynamics of the global legal profession. To this end, we:

  • Conduct, sponsor and publish world-class empirical research on the profession;
  • Innovate and implement new methods and content for teaching law students, practicing lawyers and related professionals about the profession; and
  • Foster broader and deeper connections bridging between the global universe of legal practitioners and the academy.

Globalization has shifted priorities in many industries, including legal practice. Once dominated by specialized independent firms, the industry is becoming increasingly characterized by global firms that compete for business around the world. These firms go beyond litigation and offer a wide range of corporate consulting and advisory services—often through joint ventures. At the same time, “non-legal” professional services firms now offer quasi-legal services, creating increased global competition. These trends will increase over time as international agreements on trade in services take root and the traditional barriers to the delivery of legal and professional services on a global scale continue to fall. These developments in the industry are what compel the Program on the Legal Profession to investigate the effects of various market changes on legal practice and conduct extensive research in such a rapidly changing field.

More details about the Program and its research and educational initiatives are set out in our most recent Annual Report.

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