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An exploratory study of the pricing of legal services


  • Maheshri, Vikram
  • Winston, Clifford


Consumers and firms spend some $200 billion annually on legal services, but little is known about the factors that influence lawyers’ prices for those services. In this paper, we explore the determinants of the variation in lawyers’ pricing to shed light on competition among lawyers and to comment on whether entry barriers to legal practice that restrict competition are justified because they protect consumers who may have imperfect information about potential legal service providers. We do not find evidence in support of this premise.

Suggested Citation

  • Maheshri, Vikram & Winston, Clifford, 2014. "An exploratory study of the pricing of legal services," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(S), pages 169-173.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:irlaec:v:38:y:2014:i:s:p:169-173 DOI: 10.1016/j.irle.2013.05.003

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, July.
    2. Morris M. Kleiner & Alan B. Krueger, 2010. "The Prevalence and Effects of Occupational Licensing," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 48(4), pages 676-687, December.
    3. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
    4. Simon P. Anderson & Regis Renault, 1999. "Pricing, Product Diversity, and Search Costs: A Bertrand-Chamberlin-Diamond Model," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(4), pages 719-735, Winter.
    5. Kristopher S. Gerardi & Adam Hale Shapiro, 2009. "Does Competition Reduce Price Dispersion? New Evidence from the Airline Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(1), pages 1-37, February.
    6. Ana Castaneda & Javier Diaz-Gimenez & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2003. "Accounting for the U.S. Earnings and Wealth Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(4), pages 818-857, August.
    7. Neal, Derek & Rosen, Sherwin, 2000. "Theories of the distribution of earnings," Handbook of Income Distribution,in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 379-427 Elsevier.
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    Cited by:

    1. Barton, Benjamin H., 2014. "A glass half full look at the changes in the American legal market," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(S), pages 29-42.
    2. Clifford Winston & Quentin Karpilow, 2016. "Should the US Eliminate Entry Barriers to the Practice of Law? Perspectives Shaped by Industry Deregulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(5), pages 171-176, May.
    3. Flora Felso & Sander Onderstal & Jo Seldeslachts, 2014. "What Clients want: Choices between Lawyers' Offerings," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 14-020/VII, Tinbergen Institute.


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