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Let’s begin by stipulating that within the mix of legal services, some are harder to measure than others. But even so, most legal services are far more measurable than most practitioners would recognize, and most attempts to measure quality, even if imperfect, will improve performance. The assertion that you can never reduce costs without hurting quality is clearly false, and undermines the credibility of the profession. Most of the sensible things that we can do to reduce costs will improve quality as well.
In other credence-good fields, such as medicine and academia, there have been systematic attempts over the last 30 years to begin to measure performance. Medicine is more advanced, and the model most of us know is the 73 year-old standard for Food and Drug Administration approval of the safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness of drugs, based on the scientific method. For its part, academia has been as resistant to change as law, and the result has been the emergence of U.S. News rankings as a very flawed but pervasive way of comparing universities.
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