This paper discusses United States government trade policy and the regulation of foreign lawyers. Although the expression "trade policy" implies a settled course of action adopted and followed by the United States government, in the area of legal services the formulation of government trade policy has been a rather fortuitous occurrence. Further, while the term "regulation," particularly in the context of the legal profession, suggests a recognizable and ordered system, the rules and procedures for the regulation of foreign lawyers in various jurisdictions do not fall readily into any pattern; instead they appear to be quite random. The regulation of foreign lawyers antedates the emergence of trade policy in the area of legal services; while the pertinent regulations are rather comprehensive, the trade policy which underlies them is relatively undeveloped. It therefore seems appropriate to begin by considering the diverse regulations lawyers encounter in various jurisdictions when they establish offices outside of their home countries. This paper will then analyze the effective absence of U.S. trade policy regarding legal services. Finally, the paper will discuss the increased priority given to this issue in recent negotiations with Japan. It will conclude by arguing that U.S. governmental interest in the presence of American lawyers in Japan ought not portend a decision by the United States to promote legal services as a "trade issue" other than in the special circumstances of Japan.
1986 U. Chi. Legal F. 169 (1986)