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Measuring legal complexity – an example taxing in the extreme

Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I by the notion of legal complexity (See my posts in 2005 of June 28 and Aug. 27 on litigation complexity, May 15 on legal services complexity, and Dec. 14 on regulatory complexity.). I wish there were metrics in this field.

One angle would certainly assess regulations, their number and abstruseness. Few regulations match the interpretive depth of the Internal Revenue Code. According to Michelle White, “Legal Complexity and Lawyers’ Benefit from Litigation, Int’l Rev. of Law and Ecs. (1992, Vol. 12), 381, 383 n. 5 there were at that time 140 pages of IRS regulations interpreting section 704(b) of the code (relating to partnership distributive shares) and a mind-boggling labyrinth interpreting the original issue discount rules – 441 pages!

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