Faced with mounting pressure to permit national law practice and increase

access to legal services for those who cannot afford to pay for them and

critiques about growing inequality and its failure to lead the battles for greater

gender and racial justice, the legal profession’s response has been to resist

reform proposals by invoking its independence. Lawyers and lawyers alone,

asserts the profession, ought to determine the pace and details of nationalizing

law practice, set the conditions under which nonlawyers and artificial

intelligence can offer legal services, and respond to growing inequality among

lawyers and concerns about the role lawyers play, and fail to play, in the quest

for a more just society. Any outside interference, cautions the profession, would

undermine lawyers’ independence and our commitment to the Rule of Law.

Asserting the independence of the bar has proven to be an effective rhetorical

ploy, successfully disarming criticisms and weakening calls for reform—

because who can argue against the Rule of Law?