This article examines the nexus between two international topics, namely, trade negotiations, and regulation of the cross-border practice of law. Admittedly, this nexus is not found at a conventional crossroads. Legal services lie somewhat at the periphery of international trade measured in terms of the global value of goods, services and investment used to define major international economic relationships, or to define priorities in the formulation of national and transnational economic policies. Moreover, trade negotiators hardly figure amongst the principal regulators having responsibility for the professional conduct of individuals and firms engaged in the practice of law.
Notwithstanding the somewhat peripheral nature of legal services in the overall calculation of balances of trade, and notwithstanding the traditional disjunction between responsibility for formulating trade policy and responsibility for supervising legal practitioners, the interaction of trade and legal services, carefully examined, can provide a useful analysis of its two components: of efforts to advance international trade in legal services, and of proposals to develop rules designed to facilitate cross-border legal practice. Such an analysis can prove instructive for policy-makers and interested participants not only in these two areas, but also in the broader context of formulating global rules governing trade and investment generally.
Journal of World Trade, Vol. 41, No. 2, pp. 245-272, 2007