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An independent legal profession is said to be “the bulwark of a free and democratic society.” It is also said that a high measure of independence of mind and action by legal actors is necessary for the maintenance of the rule of law. However, too often, there is the allegation (within the sociological literature in particular) that the legal profession has used the concepts of independence and the rule of law as a shield or cuirass rather than as a sword. The image of lawyers representing unpopular clients fearlessly and advocating on behalf of unpopular causes, so as to uphold legal rights, is replaced with images of lawyers using these self-same concepts to preserve the status quo, favor those with high social status and pursue self-regulation for self-interest rather than for any so-called public interest. It is against this contested terrain that this Article looks at, from a comparative perspective, regulatory efforts in both the United States and South Africa in untraditional and controversial ways to address what these countries perceive as societal failings.


Business Organizations Law | Law | Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility | Legal Profession