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What do lawyers contribute to technological change and economic development? Much popular opinion assumes that the contribution is mostly negative, that the vast amounts of legal time billed to corporate enterprise ($38 billion worth annually, according to a recent estimate) are the pathological symptoms of an over-regulated, excessively litigious culture that diverts resources from productivity and innovation into wasteful paperpushing. Other, more sanguine observers-usually lawyers-argue to the contrary that legal services are valuable, even indispensable parts of the infrastructure that support the efficiency of transactions, even if their value is not always appreciated by clients or the general public.

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