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Legal Advice about Acts Already Commited


  • Louis Kaplow
  • Steven Shavell


Much legal advice is provided after individuals have committed acts -- when they come before a tribunal -- rather than at the time they decide how to act. This paper considers the effects and social desirability of such legal advice. It is emphasized that 1egl advice tends to reduce expected sanctions, which may encourage acts subject to sanctions. There is, however, no a priort basis for believing that this is socially undesirable, because, among other reasons, it may be possible to raise the level of sanctions to offset their dilution due to legal advice. In addition, legal advice has no general tendency to improve the effectiveness of the legal system through its influence on the information presented to tribunals.

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  • Louis Kaplow & Steven Shavell, 1989. "Legal Advice about Acts Already Commited," NBER Working Papers 3005, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3005
    Note: LE

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Shavell, Steven, 1988. "Legal Advice about Contemplated Acts: The Decision to Obtain Advice, Its Social Desirability, and Protection of Confidentiality," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 123-150, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Giuseppe Dari-Mattiacci & Bruno Deffains, 2007. "Uncertainty of Law and the Legal Process," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 163(4), pages 627-656, December.
    2. Hugh Gravelle & Nuno Garoupa, 2002. "Optimal Deterrence with Legal Defense Expenditure," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(3), pages 366-379, July.

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