|Abstract: ||Advokato nepriklausomumas laikomas pamatiniu profesiniu principu,
kuriuo dažnai naudojamasi ginantis nuo valstybės kišimosi į teisininkų veiklos reguliavimą, tačiau tokios tendencijos teisinių paslaugų rinkoje kaip konkurencijos augimas, teisininkų koncentravimasis į dideles kontoras, taip pat globalizacijos, informacinių
bei socialinių tinklų plėtros įtaka teisinių paslaugų komodizacijai (suprekinimui)
bei vartotojų informuotumui neabejotinai supurtė advokato profesijos pamatus
ir verčia naujai pažvelgti į, atrodytų, nepajudinamas šios profesijos vertybes, tarp jų
ir į nepriklausomumo principą, bei atsakyti į klausimą, kiek jis yra validus teisinių
paslaugų komercializacijos kontekste.|
The lawyer’s professional independence is considered to be the core
principle of the profession. It is often used as defense against the state intervention in the regulation of lawyers. However, drivers in the legal market, such as an increase in competition, concentration of lawyers in large law firms, as well as the globalization,
development of information technologies and social networks, which influence the
commoditizing of the law and consumer awareness, certainly have shaken up the
foundations of the legal profession and require the renewed approach to seemingly
immovable values of the profession, including the principle of lawyer’s independence.
Hence, the goal of the article is to answer the question whether this principle is still valid
in the context of commercialization of the legal market.
The first part of the article analyzes the dimensions of the principle of lawyer’s
independence, i.e. independence from the state, from the client and other influences, by
comparing continental and common law systems. The second part reveals how different
approaches to the role of the lawyer influence the realization of this principle in legal
regulation and practice. The third part is devoted to the analysis of radical changes in
the legal market and new forms of legal services, such as incorporation of law firms, that
affect the devaluation of the principle of lawyer’s independence.
The article justifies that the lawyer’s independence from the state is realized
primarily through strong self-governance and independence of the bar, but the trends
in common law countries show that legal professional associations have lost their previous positions, especially in the area of self-disciplining, as they were not able
to cope effectively with customers (clients) complains. In addition, the legal market
liberalization reforms in Australia and the UK, which enable outside capital invest
into law firms, have a tendency to expand to other jurisdictions. Changes in capital
ownership structure of legal firms can change the governance and decision-making
processes that may lead to the devaluation of the principle of lawyer’s independence
yielding to the idea of entrepreneurship.