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A British lawyer at the tribunal, 19th century
Names Attorney, counselor (counsel), solicitor, barrister, advocate
Occupation type
Activity sectors
Law, business
Competencies Analytical skills
Critical thinking skills
Knowledge of the law
Proficiency in legal research and legal writing
Education required
see Professional requirements
Related jobs
Judge, Prosecutor, Law clerk, Law professor

A lawyer is a person who practices law, as an attorney, counsel or solicitor.[1] Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political and social authority, and deliver justice. Working as a lawyer involves the practical application of abstract legal theories and knowledge to solve specific individualized problems, or to advance the interests of those who hire lawyers to perform legal services.

The role of the lawyer varies significantly across legal jurisdictions, and so it can be treated here in only the most general terms.[2][3]


  • Terminology 1
  • Responsibilities 2
    • Oral argument in the courts 2.1
    • Research and drafting of court papers 2.2
    • Advocacy (written and oral) in administrative hearings 2.3
    • Client intake and counseling (with regard to pending litigation) 2.4
    • Legal advice 2.5
    • Protecting intellectual property 2.6
    • Negotiating and drafting contracts 2.7
    • Conveyancing 2.8
    • Carrying out the intent of the deceased 2.9
    • Prosecution and defense of criminal suspects 2.10
  • Education 3
    • Earning the right to practice law 3.1
  • Career structure 4
    • Common law/civil law 4.1
    • Specialization 4.2
    • Organization 4.3
  • Professional associations and regulation 5
    • Mandatory licensing and membership in professional organizations 5.1
    • Who regulates lawyers 5.2
    • Voluntary associations 5.3
  • Cultural perception 6
  • Compensation 7
  • History 8
    • Ancient Greece 8.1
    • Ancient Rome 8.2
    • Middle Ages 8.3
  • Titles 9
  • See also 10
  • Notes 11
  • External links 12


In practice, legal jurisdictions exercise their right to determine who is recognized as being a lawyer. As a result, the meaning of the term "lawyer" may vary from place to place.[4]

  • In Australia, the word "lawyer" is used to refer to both barristers and solicitors (whether in private practice or practicing as corporate in-house counsel).
  • In Canada, the word "lawyer" only refers to individuals who have been called to the bar or, in Quebec, have qualified as civil law notaries. Common law lawyers in Canada are formally and properly called "barristers and solicitors", but should not be referred to as "attorneys", since that term has a different meaning in Canadian usage. However, in Quebec, civil law advocates (or avocats in French) often call themselves "attorney" and sometimes "barrister and solicitor" in English.
  • In England and Wales, "lawyer" is used to refer to persons who provide reserved legal activities and includes practitioners such as barristers, solicitors, registered foreign lawyers, patent attorneys, trade mark attorneys, licensed conveyancers, commissioners for oaths, immigration advisers and claims management services [Legal Services Act 2007] as well as people who are involved with the law but do not practise it on behalf of individual clients, such as judges, court clerks, and drafters of legislation.
  • In India, the term "lawyer" is often colloquially used, but the official term is "advocate" as prescribed under the Advocates Act, 1961.[5]
  • In Scotland, the word "lawyer" refers to a more specific group of legally trained people. It specifically includes advocates and solicitors. In a generic sense, it may also include judges and law-trained support staff.
  • In the United States, the term generally refers to attorneys who may practice law. It is never used to refer to patent agents[6] or paralegals.[7]
  • Other nations tend to have comparable terms for the analogous concept.


In most countries, particularly civil law countries, there has been a tradition of giving many legal tasks to a variety of civil law notaries, clerks, and scriveners.[8][9] These countries do not have "lawyers" in the American sense, insofar as that term refers to a single type of general-purpose legal services provider;[10] rather, their legal professions consist of a large number of different kinds of law-trained persons, known as jurists, some of whom are advocates who are licensed to practice in the courts.[11][12][13] It is difficult to formulate accurate generalizations that cover all the countries with multiple legal professions, because each country has traditionally had its own peculiar method of dividing up legal work among all its different types of legal professionals.[14]

Notably, England, the mother of the common law jurisdictions, emerged from the Dark Ages with similar complexity in its legal professions, but then evolved by the 19th century to a single dichotomy between barristers and solicitors. An equivalent dichotomy developed between advocates and procurators in some civil law countries; these two types did not always monopolize the practice of law, in that they coexisted with civil law notaries.[15][16][17]

Several countries that originally had two or more legal professions have since fused or united their professions into a single type of lawyer.[18][19][20][21] Most countries in this category are common law countries, though France, a civil law country, merged its jurists in 1990 and 1991 in response to Anglo-American competition.[22] In countries with fused professions, a lawyer is usually permitted to carry out all or nearly all the responsibilities listed below.

Oral argument in the courts

French advocate (about 1910)

Arguing a client's case before a judge or jury in a court of law is the traditional province of the barrister in England, and of advocates in some civil law jurisdictions.[23] However, the boundary between barristers and solicitors have evolved. In England today, the barrister monopoly covers only appellate courts, and barristers must compete directly with solicitors in many trial courts.[24] In countries like the United States, that have fused legal professions, there are trial lawyers who specialize in trying cases in court, but trial lawyers do not have a de jure monopoly like barristers. In some countries, litigants have the option of arguing pro se, or on their own behalf. It is common for litigants to appear unrepresented before certain courts like small claims courts; indeed, many such courts do not allow lawyers to speak for their clients, in an effort to save money for all participants in a small case.[25] In other countries, like Venezuela or Portugal, no one may appear before a judge unless represented by a lawyer.[26] The advantage of the latter regime is that lawyers are familiar with the court's customs and procedures, and make the legal system more efficient for all involved. Unrepresented parties often damage their own credibility or slow the court down as a result of their inexperience.[27][28]

Research and drafting of court papers

Often, lawyers brief a court in writing on the issues in a case before the issues can be orally argued. They may have to perform extensive research into relevant facts and law while drafting legal papers and preparing for oral argument.

In England, the usual division of labor is that a solicitor will obtain the facts of the case from the client and then brief a barrister (usually in writing).[29] The barrister then researches and drafts the necessary court pleadings (which will be filed and served by the solicitor) and orally argues the case.[30]

In Spain, the procurator merely signs and presents the papers to the court, but it is the advocate who drafts the papers and argues the case.[31]

In some countries, like Japan, a scrivener or clerk may fill out court forms and draft simple papers for lay persons who cannot afford or do not need attorneys, and advise them on how to manage and argue their own cases.[32]

Advocacy (written and oral) in administrative hearings

In most developed countries, the legislature has granted original jurisdiction over highly technical matters to executive branch administrative agencies which oversee such things. As a result, some lawyers have become specialists in administrative law. In a few countries, there is a special category of jurists with a monopoly over this form of advocacy; for example, France formerly had conseils juridiques (who were merged into the main legal profession in 1991).[33] In other countries, like the United States, lawyers have been effectively barred by statute from certain types of administrative hearings in order to preserve their informality.[34]

Client intake and counseling (with regard to pending litigation)

An important aspect of a lawyer's job is developing and managing relationships with clients (or the client's employees, if the lawyer works in-house for a government or corporation). The client-lawyer relationship often begins with an intake interview where the lawyer gets to know the client personally, discovers the facts of the client's case, clarifies what the client wants to accomplish, shapes the client's expectations as to what actually can be accomplished, begins to develop various claims or defenses, and explains her or his fees to the client.[35][36]

In England, only solicitors were traditionally in direct contact with the client.[37] The solicitor retained a barrister if one was necessary and acted as an intermediary between the barrister and the client.[38] In most cases barristers were obliged, under what is known as the "cab rank rule", to accept instructions for a case in an area in which they held themselves out as practising, at a court at which they normally appeared and at their usual rates.[39][40]

Legal advice

Legal advice is the application of abstract principles of law to the concrete facts of the client's case in order to advise the client about what they should do next. In many countries, only a properly licensed lawyer may provide legal advice to clients for good consideration, even if no lawsuit is contemplated or is in progress.[41][42][43] Therefore, even conveyancers and corporate in-house counsel must first get a license to practice, though they may actually spend very little of their careers in court. Failure to obey such a rule is the crime of unauthorized practice of law.[44]

In other countries, jurists who hold law degrees are allowed to provide legal advice to individuals or to corporations, and it is irrelevant if they lack a license and cannot appear in court.[45][46] Some countries go further; in England and Wales, there is no general prohibition on the giving of legal advice.[47] Sometimes civil law notaries are allowed to give legal advice, as in Belgium.[48] In many countries, non-jurist accountants may provide what is technically legal advice in tax and accounting matters.[49]

Protecting intellectual property

In virtually all countries, patents, trademarks, industrial designs and other forms of intellectual property must be formally registered with a government agency in order to receive maximum protection under the law. The division of such work among lawyers, licensed non-lawyer jurists/agents, and ordinary clerks or scriveners varies greatly from one country to the next.[32][50]

Negotiating and drafting contracts

In some countries, the negotiating and drafting of contracts is considered to be similar to the provision of legal advice, so that it is subject to the licensing requirement explained above.[51] In others, jurists or notaries may negotiate or draft contracts.[52]

Lawyers in some civil law countries traditionally deprecated "transactional law" or "business law" as beneath them. French law firms developed transactional departments only in the 1990s when they started to lose business to international firms based in the United States and the United Kingdom (where solicitors have always done transactional work).[53]


Conveyancing is the drafting of the documents necessary for the transfer of real property, such as deeds and mortgages. In some jurisdictions, all real estate transactions must be carried out by a lawyer (or a solicitor where that distinction still exists).[54] Such a monopoly is quite valuable from the lawyer's point of view; historically, conveyancing accounted for about half of English solicitors' income (though this has since changed),[55] and a 1978 study showed that conveyancing "accounts for as much as 80 percent of solicitor-client contact in New South Wales."[56] In most common law jurisdictions outside of the United States, this monopoly arose from an 1804 law[57] that was introduced by William Pitt the Younger as a quid pro quo for the raising of fees on the certification of legal professionals such as barristers, solicitors, attorneys and notaries.[58]

In others, the use of a lawyer is optional and banks, title companies, or realtors may be used instead.[59] In some civil law jurisdictions, real estate transactions are handled by civil law notaries.[60] In England and Wales a special class of legal professional–the licensed conveyancer–is also allowed to carry out conveyancing services for reward.[61]

Carrying out the intent of the deceased

In many countries, only lawyers have the legal authority to draft wills, trusts, and any other documents that ensure the efficient disposition of a person's property after death. In some civil law countries this responsibility is handled by civil law notaries.[52]

In the United States, the estates of the deceased must generally be administered by a court through probate. American lawyers have a profitable monopoly on dispensing advice about probate law (which has been heavily criticized).[62]

Prosecution and defense of criminal suspects

In many civil law countries, prosecutors are trained and employed as part of the judiciary; they are law-trained jurists, but may not necessarily be lawyers in the sense that the word is used in the common law world.[63] In common law countries, prosecutors are usually lawyers holding regular licenses who simply happen to work for the government office that files criminal charges against suspects. Criminal defense lawyers specialize in the defense of those charged with any crimes.[64]


Law Faculty of Comenius University in Bratislava (Slovakia).

The educational prerequisites for becoming a lawyer vary greatly from country to country. In some countries, law is taught by a faculty of law, which is a department of a university's general undergraduate college.[65] Law students in those countries pursue a Master or Bachelor of Laws degree. In some countries it is common or even required for students to earn another bachelor's degree at the same time. Nor is the LL.B the sole obstacle; it is often followed by a series of advanced examinations, apprenticeships, and additional coursework at special government institutes.[66]

In other countries, particularly the United States, law is primarily taught at law schools. In the United States[67] and countries following the American model, (such as Canada[68] with the exception of the province of Quebec) law schools are graduate/professional schools where a bachelor's degree is a prerequisite for admission. Most law schools are part of universities but a few are independent institutions. Law schools in the United States (and a few in Canada, where an LL.B or LL.M degree is much more common, and elsewhere) award graduating students a J.D. (Juris Doctor/Doctor of Jurisprudence) (as opposed to the Bachelor of Laws) as the practitioner's law degree. Many schools also offer post-doctoral law degrees such as the LL.M (Legum Magister/Master of Laws), or the S.J.D. (Scientiae Juridicae Doctor/Doctor of Juridical Science) for students interested in advancing their research knowledge and credentials in a specific area of law.[69]

The methods and quality of legal education vary widely. Some countries require extensive clinical training in the form of apprenticeships or special clinical courses.[70] Others, like Venezuela, do not.[71] A few countries prefer to teach through assigned readings of judicial opinions (the casebook method) followed by intense in-class cross-examination by the professor (the Socratic method).[72][73] Many others have only lectures on highly abstract legal doctrines, which forces young lawyers to figure out how to actually think and write like a lawyer at their first apprenticeship (or job).[74][75][76] Depending upon the country, a typical class size could range from five students in a seminar to five hundred in a giant lecture room. In the United States, law schools maintain small class sizes, and as such, grant admissions on a more limited and competitive basis.[77]

Some countries, particularly industrialized ones, have a traditional preference for full-time law programs,[78] while in developing countries, students often work full- or part-time to pay the tuition and fees of their part-time law programs.[79][80]

Law schools in developing countries share several common problems, such as an over reliance on practicing judges and lawyers who treat teaching as a part-time hobby (and a concomitant scarcity of full-time law professors);[81][82] incompetent faculty with questionable credentials;[83] and textbooks that lag behind the current state of the law by two or three decades.[81][84]

Earning the right to practice law

Some jurisdictions grant a "diploma privilege" to certain institutions, so that merely earning a degree or credential from those institutions is the primary qualification for practicing law.[85] Mexico allows anyone with a law degree to practice law.[86] However, in a large number of countries, a law student must pass a bar examination (or a series of such examinations) before receiving a license to practice.[85][87][88] In a handful of U.S. states, one may become an attorney (a so-called country lawyer) by simply "reading law" and passing the bar examination, without having to attend law school first (although very few people actually become lawyers that way).[89] In other states, the bar examination can be very challenging, such as in California where only 42.3% of applicants passed the examination administered in February 2011.[90]

Some countries require a formal apprenticeship with an experienced practitioner, while others do not.[91] For example, a few jurisdictions still allow an apprenticeship in place of any kind of formal legal education (though the number of persons who actually become lawyers that way is increasingly rare).[92]

Career structure

U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is a famous example of a lawyer who became a politician.

The career structure of lawyers varies widely from one country to the next.

Common law/civil law

In most common law countries, especially those with fused professions, lawyers have many options over the course of their careers. Besides private practice, they can become a prosecutor, government counsel, corporate in-house counsel, administrative law judge, judge, arbitrator, or law professor.[93] There are also many non-legal jobs for which legal training is good preparation, such as politician, corporate executive, government administrator, investment banker, entrepreneur, or journalist.[94] In developing countries like India, a large majority of law students never actually practice, but simply use their law degree as a foundation for careers in other fields.[95]

In most civil law countries, lawyers generally structure their legal education around their chosen specialty; the boundaries between different types of lawyers are carefully defined and hard to cross.[96] After one earns a law degree, career mobility may be severely constrained.[97] For example, unlike their American counterparts,[98] it is difficult for German judges to leave the bench and become advocates in private practice.[99] Another interesting example is France, where for much of the 20th century, all judiciary officials were graduates of an elite professional school for judges. Although the French judiciary has begun experimenting with the Anglo-American model of appointing judges from accomplished advocates, the few advocates who have actually joined the bench this way are looked down upon by their colleagues who have taken the traditional route to judicial office.[100]

In a few civil law countries, such as Sweden,[101] the legal profession is not rigorously bifurcated and everyone within it can easily change roles and arenas.


In many countries, lawyers are general practitioners who will take almost any kind of case that walks in the door.[102] In others, there has been a tendency since the start of the 20th century for lawyers to specialize early in their careers.[103][104] In countries where specialization is prevalent, many lawyers specialize in representing one side in one particular area of the law; thus, it is common in the United States to hear of plaintiffs' personal injury attorneys.[105]


Lawyers in private practice generally work in specialized businesses known as law firms,[106] with the exception of English barristers. The vast majority of law firms worldwide are small businesses that range in size from 1 to 10 lawyers.[107] The United States, with its large number of firms with more than 50 lawyers, is an exception.[108] The United Kingdom and Australia are also exceptions, as the UK, Australia and the U.S. are now home to several firms with more than 1,000 lawyers after a wave of mergers in the late 1990s.

Notably, conflict of interest where barristers in the same chambers work for opposing sides in a case, and in some specialised chambers this is commonplace.

Professional associations and regulation

Mandatory licensing and membership in professional organizations

In some jurisdictions, either the judiciary[110] or the Ministry of Justice[111] directly supervises the admission, licensing, and regulation of lawyers.

Other jurisdictions, by statute, tradition, or court order, have granted such powers to a professional association which all lawyers must belong to.[112] In the U.S., such associations are known as mandatory, integrated, or unified

External links

  1. ^ Henry Campbell Black, Black's Law Dictionary, 5th ed. (St. Paul: West Publishing Co., 1979), 799.
  2. ^ Geoffrey C. Hazard, Jr. & Angelo Dondi, Legal Ethics: A Comparative Study (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004, ISBN 0-8047-4882-9), 20–23.
  3. ^ John Henry Merryman and Rogelio Pérez-Perdomo, The Civil Law Tradition: An Introduction to the Legal Systems of Europe and Latin America, 3rd ed. (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007), 102–103.
  4. ^ Hazard, 22–23.
  5. ^ Advocates Act, 1961, s. 2.
  6. ^ Carl W. Battle, The Patent Guide: A Friendly Guide to Protecting and Profiting from Patents (New York: Allworth Press, 1997), 49.
  7. ^ David G. Cooper and Michael J. Gibson, Introduction to Paralegal Studies, 2nd ed.(Clifton Park: Thomson Delmar Learning, 1998), 4.
  8. ^ Richard L. Abel, "Lawyers in the Civil Law World," in Lawyers in Society: The Civil Law World, vol. 2, eds. Richard L. Abel and Philip S.C. Lewis, 1–53 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 4.
  9. ^ Merryman, 105–109.
  10. ^ Walter O. Reyrauch, The Personality of Lawyers (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1964), 27.
  11. ^ Jon T. Johnsen, "The Professionalization of Legal Counseling in Norway," in Lawyers in Society: The Civil Law World, vol. 2, eds. Richard L. Abel and Philip S.C. Lewis, 54–123 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 91.
  12. ^ Kahei Rokumoto, "The Present State of Japanese Practicing Attorneys: On the Way to Full Professionalization?" in Lawyers in Society: The Civil Law World, vol. 2, eds. Richard L. Abel and Philip S.C. Lewis, 160–199 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 164.
  13. ^ Merryman, 105.
  14. ^ Hazard, 21–33.
  15. ^ Benoit Bastard and Laura Cardia-Vonèche, "The Lawyers of Geneva: an Analysis of Change in the Legal Profession," trans. by Richard L. Abel, in Lawyers in Society: The Civil Law World, vol. 2, eds. Richard L. Abel and Philip S.C. Lewis, 295–335 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 297.
  16. ^ Carlos Viladás Jene, "The Legal Profession in Spain: An Understudied but Booming Occupation," in Lawyers in Society: The Civil Law World, vol. 2, eds. Richard L. Abel and Philip S.C. Lewis, 369–379 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 369.
  17. ^ Vittorio Olgiati and Valerio Pocar, "The Italian Legal Profession: An Institutional Dilemma," in Lawyers in Society: The Civil Law World, vol. 2, eds. Richard L. Abel and Philip S.C. Lewis, 336–368 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 338.
  18. ^ Bastard, 299, and Hazard, 45.
  19. ^ Harry W. Arthurs, Richard Weisman, and Frederick H. Zemans, "Canadian Lawyers: A Peculiar Professionalism," in Lawyers in Society: The Common Law World, vol. 1, eds. Richard L. Abel and Philip S.C. Lewis, 123–185 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 124.
  20. ^ David Weisbrot, "The Australian Legal Profession: From Provincial Family Firms to Multinationals," in Lawyers in Society: The Common Law World, vol. 1, eds. Richard L. Abel and Philip S.C. Lewis, 244–317 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 250.
  21. ^ Georgina Murray, "New Zealand Lawyers: From Colonial GPs to the Servants of Capital," in Lawyers in Society: The Common Law World, vol. 1, eds. Richard L. Abel and Philip S.C. Lewis, 318–368 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 324.
  22. ^ Anne Boigeol, "The Rise of Lawyers in France," in Legal Culture in the Age of Globalization: Latin America and Latin Europe, eds. Lawrence M. Friedman and Rogelio Pérez-Perdomo, 185–219 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), 208.
  23. ^ Hazard, 30–32.
  24. ^ Richard L. Abel, The Legal Profession in England and Wales (London: Basil Blackwell, 1989), 116.
  25. ^ See, e.g., Cal. Code. Civ. Proc. § 116.530 (preventing attorneys from appearing in small claims court except as parties or witnesses).
  26. ^ Rogelio Pérez-Perdomo, "The Venezuelan Legal Profession: Lawyers in an Inegalitarian Society," in Lawyers in Society: The Civil Law World, vol. 2, eds. Richard L. Abel and Philip S.C. Lewis, 380–399 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 387.
  27. ^ Gordon Kent, "Lawyerless Litigants: Is Justice Being Served?" Edmonton Journal, 27 January 2002, A1.
  28. ^ Alan Feuer, "Lawyering by Laymen: More Litigants Are Taking a Do-It-Yourself Tack," New York Times, 22 January 2001, B1.
  29. ^ Fiona Boyle, Deveral Capps, Philip Plowden, Clare Sandford, A Practical Guide to Lawyering Skills, 3rd ed. (London: Cavendish Publishing, 2005), 47–50.
  30. ^ See Abel, England and Wales, 56 and 141.
  31. ^ Jene, 369.
  32. ^ a b Rokumoto, 164.
  33. ^ Anne Boigeol, "The French Bar: The Difficulties of Unifying a Divided Profession," in Lawyers in Society: The Civil Law World, vol. 2, eds. Richard L. Abel and Philip S.C. Lewis, 258–294 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 263; and Boigeol, "The Rise of Lawyers," 206.
  34. ^ Richard L. Abel, American Lawyers (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 132. See, e.g., Hines v. Lowrey, 305 U.S. 85 (1938) (upholding limitation on attorneys' fees in veterans' benefits cases to $10); Walters v. National Ass'n of Radiation Survivors, 473 U.S. 305 (1985) (same).
  35. ^ Paul J. Zwier & Anthony J. Bocchini, Fact Investigation: A Practical Guide to Interviewing, Counseling, and Case Theory Development (Louisville, CO: National Institute for Trial Advocacy, 2000), 13–44.
  36. ^ John H. Freeman, Client Management for Solicitors (London: Cavendish Publishing Ltd., 1997), 266–274.
  37. ^ Abel, England and Wales, 1 and 141.
  38. ^ J. R. Spencer and Richard M. Jackson, Jackson's Machinery of Justice, 8th ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 336.
  39. ^ R.E. Megarry, Lawyer and Litigant in England (London: Stevens and Sons, 1962), 32.
  40. ^ Maureen Paton, "Cab-rank exits," The Times, 9 October 2001, 1. This brief article explains the uneasy tension between solicitors and barristers, and the loopholes that have developed. For example, a barrister need not accept a case if the fee is too low or the barrister is just too busy.
  41. ^ Arthurs, 125; Johnsen, 74; and Pérez-Perdomo, "Venezuelan Legal Profession," 387.
  42. ^ Erhard Blankenburg and Ulrike Schultz, "German Advocates: A Highly Regulated Profession," in Lawyers in Society: The Civil Law World, vol. 2, eds. Richard L. Abel and Philip S.C. Lewis, 124–159 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 124.
  43. ^ Joaquim Falcão, "Lawyers in Brazil," in Lawyers in Society: The Civil Law World, vol. 2, eds. Richard L. Abel and Philip S.C. Lewis, 400–442 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 401.
  44. ^ Justine Fischer and Dorothy H. Lackmann, Unauthorized Practice Handbook: A Compilation of Statutes, Cases, and Commentary on the Unauthorized Practice of Law (Buffalo: William S. Hein Company, 1990), 30–35.
  45. ^ Abel, England and Wales, 185; Bastard, 318.
  46. ^ Kees Schuyt, "The Rise of Lawyers in the Dutch Welfare State," in Lawyers in Society: The Civil Law World, vol. 2, eds. Richard L. Abel and Philip S.C. Lewis, 200–224 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 201.
  47. ^ Stephen J. McGarry, Multidisciplinary Practices and Partnerships: Lawyers, Consultants, and Clients, § 1.06[1] (New York: Law Journal Press, 2002), 1–29.
  48. ^ Luc Huyse, "Legal Experts in Belgium," in Lawyers in Society: The Civil Law World, vol. 2, eds. Richard L. Abel and Philip S.C. Lewis, 225–257 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 227.
  49. ^ Murray, 325; and Rokumoto, 164.
  50. ^ Lee Rousso, "Japan's New Patent Attorney Law Breaches Barrier Between The 'Legal' And 'Quasi-Legal' Professions: Integrity Of Japanese Patent Practice At Risk?" 10 Pac. Rim L. & Pol'y 781, 783–790 (2001).
  51. ^ Arthurs, 125; and Pérez-Perdomo, "Venezuelan Legal Profession," 387.
  52. ^ a b Huyse, 227.
  53. ^ Boigeol, "The Rise of Lawyers," 206.
  54. ^ Abel, England and Wales, 176; Hazard, 90–93; Murray, 325; and Pérez-Perdomo, "Venezuelan Legal Profession," 387.
  55. ^ Abel, England and Wales, 177.
  56. ^ Weisbrot, 292.
  57. ^ s. 14 Stamp Act 1804
  58. ^ Brian Abel-Smith and Robert Stevens, Lawyers and the Courts: A Sociological Study of the English Legal System, 1750–1965 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1967), 23.
  59. ^ Weisbrot, 251.
  60. ^ Arthurs, 125; Huyse, 227; and Schuyt, 201.
  61. ^ Simon Domberger and Avrom Sherr, "The Impact of Competition on Pricing and Quality of Legal Services," in The Regulatory Challenge, eds. Matthew Bishop, John Kay, Colin Mayer, 119–137 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 121–122.
  62. ^ Ralph Warner & Stephen Elias, Fed Up with the Legal System: What's Wrong & How to Fix It (Berkeley: Nolo Press, 1994), 11.
  63. ^ Hazard, 34–35; Huyse, 227; Merryman, 105, and Schuyt, 201.
  64. ^ Larry J. Siegel and Joseph J. Senna, Introduction to Criminal Justice, 10th ed. (Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth, 2005), 311–325.
  65. ^ Lawrence M. Friedman and Rogelio Pérez-Perdomo, "Latin Legal Cultures in the Age of Globalization," in Legal Culture in the Age of Globalization: Latin America and Latin Europe, eds. Lawrence M. Friedman and Rogelio Pérez-Perdomo, 1–19 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), 6.
  66. ^ Abel, England and Wales, 45–59; Rokumoto, 165; and Schuyt, 204.
  67. ^ Wayne L. Anderson and Marilyn J. Headrick, The Legal Profession: Is it for you? (Cincinnati: Thomson Executive Press, 1996), 52–53.
  68. ^ Anonymous, "Careers in the legal profession offer a variety of opportunities: While we may not think about it often, the legal system affects us every day," The Telegram, 14 April 2004, D8.
  69. ^ Christen Civiletto Carey and Kristen David Adams, The Practice of Law School: Getting In and Making the Most of Your Legal Education (New York: ALM Publishing, 2003), 525.
  70. ^ Hazard, 127–129; Merryman, 103; and Olgiati, 345.
  71. ^ Pérez-Perdomo, "Venezuelan Legal Profession," 384.
  72. ^ Robert H. Miller, Law School Confidential: A Complete Guide to the Law School Experience, By Students, for Students (New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2000), 25–27.
  73. ^ Anderson, 4–10.
  74. ^ Blankenburg, 132; Friedman and Pérez-Perdomo, 6; Hazard, 124–128; and Olgiati, 345.
  75. ^ Sergio Lopez-Ayllon and Hector Fix-Figaro, " 'Faraway, So Close!' The Rule of Law and Legal Change in Mexico: 1970–2000," in Legal Culture in the Age of Globalization: Latin America and Latin Europe, eds. Lawrence M. Friedman and Rogelio Pérez-Perdomo, 285–351 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), 324.
  76. ^ Herbert Hausmaninger, "Austrian Legal Education," 43 S. Tex. L. Rev. 387, 388 and 400 (2002).
  77. ^ Miller, 42–60.
  78. ^ Abel, American Lawyers, 57; Miller, 25; and Murray, 337.
  79. ^ Falcão, 410.
  80. ^ J.S. Gandhi, "Past and Present: A Sociological Portrait of the Indian Legal Profession," in Lawyers in Society: The Common Law World, vol. 1, eds. Richard L. Abel and Philip S.C. Lewis, 369–382 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 375.
  81. ^ a b Lopez-Ayllon, 324.
  82. ^ Eliane Botelho Junqueira, "Brazil: The Road of Conflict Bound for Total Justice," in Legal Culture in the Age of Globalization: Latin America and Latin Europe, eds. Lawrence M. Friedman and Rogelio Pérez-Perdomo, 64–107 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), 89.
  83. ^ Junqueira, 89.
  84. ^ Rogelio Pérez-Perdomo, "Venezuela, 1958–1999: The Legal System in an Impaired Democracy," in Legal Culture in the Age of Globalization: Latin America and Latin Europe, eds. Lawrence M. Friedman and Rogelio Perez-Perdomo, 414–478 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), 459. For example, a 1997 study found that not a single law school in Venezuela had bothered to integrate any part of the Convention on Children's Rights into its curriculum, even though Venezuela had signed the treaty in 1990 and subsequently modified its domestic laws to bring them into compliance. Rather than embark on curriculum reform, Venezuelan law schools now offer special postgraduate courses so that recent graduates can bring their legal knowledge up-to-date with current law.
  85. ^ a b Abel, American Lawyers, 62.
  86. ^ a b Lopez-Ayllon, 330.
  87. ^ Hazard, 127, 129, & 133; Miller, 335–341.
  88. ^ Alan A. Paterson, "The Legal Profession in Scotland: An Endangered Species or a Problem Case for Market Theory?" in Lawyers in Society: The Common Law World, vol. 1, eds. Richard L. Abel and Philip S.C. Lewis, 76–122 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 89.
  89. ^ G. Jeffrey MacDonald, "The self-made lawyer: Not every attorney goes to law school," The Christian Science Monitor, 3 June 2003, 13.
  90. ^
  91. ^ Hazard, 129 & 133.
  92. ^ Weisbrot, 266.
  93. ^ Abel, American Lawyers, 167–175; Abel, England and Wales, 214; Arthurs, 131; Gandhi, 374; Merryman, 102, and Weisbrot, 277.
  94. ^ Anderson, 124–131.
  95. ^ Gandhi, 374.
  96. ^ In general, see, Legomsky, Stephen H. (1990) Specialized Justice: Courts, Administrative Tribunals, and a Cross-National Theory of Specialization Oxford University Press, New York, ISBN 978-0-19-825429-4
  97. ^ Merryman, 102–105.
  98. ^ Although it is common for former American judges to return to private practice, it is highly controversial for them to suggest that they still retain any judicial powers (for example, by wearing judicial robes in advertisements). Brad McElhinny, "Workman criticized for using robe in ad: Group files State Bar complaint about the way former justice seeks clients," Charleston Daily Mail, 3 February 2005, 1A.
  99. ^ Blankenburg, 133.
  100. ^ Boigeol, "The Rise of Lawyers," 202.
  101. ^ Bernard Michael Ortwein II, "The Swedish Legal System: An Introduction," 13 Ind. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. 405, 440–445 (2003).
  102. ^ Hazard, 39–43; Olgiati, 353.
  103. ^ Abel, American Lawyers, 122.
  104. ^ Michael H. Trotter, Profit and the Practice of Law: What's Happened to the Legal Profession (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1997), 50.
  105. ^ Herbert M. Kritzer, "The fracturing legal profession: the case of plaintiffs' personal injury lawyers," 8 Int'l J. Legal Prof. 225, 228–231 (2001).
  106. ^ Anderson, 111–117.
  107. ^ Hazard, 39.
  108. ^ Junqueira, 92. According to this source, as of 2003, there were 901 law firms with more than 50 lawyers in the United States.
  109. ^ Gary Slapper and David Kelly, The English Legal System, 7th ed. (London: Cavendish Publishing Ltd., 2004), 550.
  110. ^ Weisbrot, 264.
  111. ^ a b Johnsen, 86.
  112. ^ Boigeol, “The French Bar,” 271; Merryman, 106, and Junqueira, 89.
  113. ^ Abel, England and Wales, 127 and 243–249; Arthurs, 135; and Weisbrot, 279.
  114. ^ Bastard, 295; and Falcão, 401.
  115. ^ Blankenburg, 139.
  116. ^ Jene, 370.
  117. ^ Paterson, 79.
  118. ^ Arthurs, 143.
  119. ^ Murray, 339; Rokumoto, 163; and Schuyt, 207.
  120. ^ Abel, American Lawyers, 116.
  121. ^ Arthurs, 139.
  122. ^ Weisbrot, 244.
  123. ^ Bastard, 299.
  124. ^ Falcão, 404.
  125. ^ Olgiati, 343.
  126. ^ Huyse, 239.
  127. ^ Howard D. Fisher, The German Legal System and Legal Language, 3rd ed. (London: Routledge Cavendish, 2002), 208–209.
  128. ^ Andrews v. Law Society of British Columbia [1989] 1 S.C.R. 143.
  129. ^ Abel, American Lawyers, 68.
  130. ^ Mary C. Daly, "Ethical and Liability Issues in International Legal Practice," in Comparative Law Yearbook of International Business, vol. 17, eds. Dennis Campbell and Susan Cotter, 223–268 (London: Kluwer Law International, 1995), 233.
  131. ^ For a classic explanation of the self-regulating legal profession, see the Preamble to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, ¶¶ 10–13.
  132. ^ Abel, Civil Law World, 10; Johnsen, 70; Olgiati, 339; and Rokumoto, 161.
  133. ^ Falcão, 423.
  134. ^ Maria da Gloria Bonelli, "Lawyers' Associations and the Brazilian State, 1843–1997," 28 Law & Soc. Inquiry 1045, 1065 (2003).
  135. ^ Kandis Scott, "Decollectivization and Democracy: Current Law Practice in Romania," 36 Geo. Wash. Int'l L. Rev. 817, 820. (2004).
  136. ^ Timothy J. Tyler, "Judging the Past: Germany's Post-Unification Lawyers' Admissions Review Law," 29 Tex. Int'l L.J. 457, 472 (1994).
  137. ^ Michael J. Moser, "Globalization and Legal Services in China: Current Status and Future Directions," in The Internationalization of the Practice of Law, eds. Jens I. Drolhammer and Michael Pfeifer, 127–136 (The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 2001), 128–129.
  138. ^ Abel, American Lawyers, 142–143; Abel, England and Wales, 29; and Arthurs, 148.
  139. ^ Arthurs, 138; and Weisbrot, 281.
  140. ^ Abel, American Lawyers, 246–247.
  141. ^ Abel, American Lawyers, 147; Abel, England and Wales, 135 and 250; Arthurs, 146; Hazard, 135; Paterson, 104; and Weisbrot, 284.
  142. ^ Richard L. Abel, English Lawyers Between Market and State: The Politics of Professionalism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 374–375.
  143. ^ William T. Gallagher, "Ideologies of Professionalism and the Politics of Self-Regulation in the California State Bar," 22 Pepp. L. Rev. 485, 490–491 (1995).
  144. ^ Abel, England and Wales, 132–133.
  145. ^ Arthurs, 141.
  146. ^ Boigeol, “The French Bar,” 274; and Olgiati, 344.
  147. ^ Blankenburg, 126; and Boigeol, “The French Bar,” 272.
  148. ^ Abel, England and Wales, 37.
  149. ^ Gerald W. Gawalt, "Sources of Anti-Lawyer Sentiment in Massachusetts, 1740–1840," in Essays in Nineteenth-Century American Legal History, ed. Wythe Holt, 624–648 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1976), 624–625. According to this source, the strong anti-lawyer sentiment of the period was rather ironic, since lawyers were actually so scarce in the American colonies that a 1715 Massachusetts law forbade litigants from retaining two lawyers because of the risk of depriving one's opponent of counsel.
  150. ^ Blankenburg, 127.
  151. ^ Weisbrot, 246.
  152. ^ Arthurs, 128.
  153. ^ Marc Galanter, "Predators and Parasites: Lawyer-Bashing and Civil Justice, " 28 Ga. L. Rev. 633, 644–648 (1994).
  154. ^ Stephen D. Easton, "Fewer Lawyers? Try Getting Your Day in Court," Wall Street Journal, 27 November 1984, 1. This article rebuts the common complaint of too many lawyers in the U.S. by pointing out that it is virtually impossible for a plaintiff to prevail in the vast majority of countries with less lawyers, like Japan, because there are simply not enough lawyers or judges to go around. Even wrongful death cases with clear evidence of fault can drag on for decades in Japan. Thus, any reduction in the number of lawyers would result in reduced enforcement of individual rights.
  155. ^ a b Gerry Spence, With Justice For None: Destroying An American Myth (New York: Times Books, 1989), 27–40
  156. ^ Paterson, 76.
  157. ^ Jerold Auerbach, Unequal Justice: Lawyers and Social Change in Modern America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976), 301.
  158. ^ For examples of legal self-help books written by lawyers which concede that the profession has a bad image, see Mark H. McCormack, The Terrible Truth About Lawyers (New York: Beech Tree Books, 1987), 11; Kenneth Menendez, Taming the Lawyers (Santa Monica, CA, Merritt Publishing, 1996), 2; and Stuart Kahan and Robert M. Cavallo, Do I Really Need A Lawyer? (Radnor, PA: Chilton Book Company, 1979), 2.
  159. ^ Gayle White, "So, a lawyer, a skunk and a catfish walk into a bar...: No shortage of jokes," National Post, 27 May 2006, FW8.
  160. ^ Andrew Roth & Jonathan Roth, Devil's Advocates: The Unnatural History of Lawyers (Berkeley: Nolo Press, 1989), ix.
  161. ^ Bryan Horrigan, "Myths, Fictions, and Realities" (chap. 2), in Adventures in Law and Justice: Exploring Big Legal Questions in Everyday Life, Law at Large, 55–82 (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2003, ISBN 0-86840-572-8), 55 & 62–66. Bierce is quoted p. 64.
  162. ^ Also found quoted in many legal books.
  163. ^ Hazard, 60.
  164. ^ Hazard, 60.
  165. ^ June, Daniel, "Increase of Kentucky Lawyer Suicides Exposes the Unique Stresses of the Profession"
  166. ^ Anderson, 111–112.
  167. ^ Herbert M. Kritzer, Risks, Reputations, and Rewards: Contingency Fee Legal Practice in the United States (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004), 258–259. According to this source, contingency fees (or de facto equivalents) are allowed, as of 2004, in Canada, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, the Dominican Republic, Greece, France, Brazil, Japan, and, of course, the United States.
  168. ^ See Fleischmann Distilling Corp. v. Maier Brewing Co., 386 U.S. 714 (1967) (reviewing history of the American Rule).
  169. ^ Anderson, 120–121.
  170. ^ Matthias Kilian and Francis Regan, "Legal expenses insurance and legal aid—two sides of the same coin? The experience from Germany and Sweden," 11 Int'l J. Legal Prof. 233, 239 (2004). According to this article, pro bono arrangements are illegal in Germany.
  171. ^ Abel, American Lawyers, 129–130.
  172. ^ Abel, American Lawyers, 133.
  173. ^ Arthurs, 161; Murray, 342; Pérez-Perdomo, 392; Schuyt, 211; and Weisbrot, 288.
  174. ^ Boigeol, “The French Bar,” 280; and Jene, 376.
  175. ^ Olgiati, 354, and Huyse, 240.
  176. ^ Huyse, 240–241.
  177. ^ Blankenburg, 143.
  178. ^ Robert J. Bonner, Lawyers and Litigants in Ancient Athens: The Genesis of the Legal Profession (New York: Benjamin Blom, 1927), 202.
  179. ^ Bonner, 204.
  180. ^ Bonner, 206.
  181. ^ Bonner, 208–209.
  182. ^ Hazard, 18.
  183. ^ John A. Crook, Law and Life of Ancient Rome (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1967), 90.
  184. ^ Crook, 90. Crook cites Tacitus, Annals VI, 5 and 7 for this point. For more information about the complex political affair that forced Emperor Claudius to decide this issue, see The Annals of Tacitus, Book VI (Franklin Center, PA: The Franklin Library, 1982), 208.
  185. ^ Crook, 91.
  186. ^ Crook, 87.
  187. ^ a b c d Crook, 88.
  188. ^ Crook, 89.
  189. ^ Crook, 90.
  190. ^ A. H. M. Jones, The Later Roman Empire, 284–602: A Social, Economic, and Administrative Survey, vol. 1 (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1964), 507.
  191. ^ Fritz Schulz, History of Roman Legal Science (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1946), 113.
  192. ^ Schulz, 113.
  193. ^ Schulz, 268.
  194. ^ Jones, 508–510.
  195. ^ Jones, 512–513.
  196. ^ a b c Jones, 511.
  197. ^ a b Jones, 515.
  198. ^ Jones, 516.
  199. ^ James A. Brundage, "The Rise of the Professional Jurist in the Thirteenth Century," 20 Syracuse J. Int'l L. & Com. 185 (1994).
  200. ^ Brundage, 185–186.
  201. ^ Brundage, 186–187.
  202. ^ Brundage, 188.
  203. ^ Brundage, 188–189.
  204. ^ Brundage, 190.
  205. ^ a b Brundage, 189.
  206. ^ Statute of Westminster 1275, ch. 29.
  207. ^ John Hamilton Baker, An Introduction to British Legal History, 3rd ed. (London: Butterworths, 1990), 179.
  208. ^ Lucien Karpik, French Lawyers: A Study in Collective Action, 1274 to 1994 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 21.
  209. ^ a b Carol Rice Andrews, Standards of Conduct for Lawyers: An 800-Year Evolution, 57 SMU L. Rev. 1385 (2004).
  210. ^ Herbermann, et al. (1915). Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Encyclopedia Press. Accessed May 26, 2008. García y García, A. (1992). "The Faculties of Law," A History of the University in Europe, London: Cambridge University Press. Accessed May 26, 2008.
  211. ^ Regio Decreto 4 giugno 1938, n.1269, Art. 48. (in Italian). Accessed February 10, 2009.
  212. ^ Stein, R. (1981). The Path of Legal Education from Edward to Langdell: A History of Insular Reaction, Pace University School of Law Faculty Publications, 1981, 57 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 429, pp. 430, 432, 434, 436
  213. ^ Association of American Universities Data Exchange. Glossary of Terms for Graduate Education. Accessed May 26, 2008; National Science Foundation (2006). "Time to Degree of U.S. Research Doctorate Recipients", "Info brief, Science Resource Statistics" NSF 06-312, 2006, p. 7. (under "Data notes" mentions that the J.D. is a professional doctorate); San Diego County Bar Association (1969). "Ethics Opinion 1969-5". Accessed May 26, 2008. (under "other references" discusses differences between academic and professional doctorate, and statement that the J.D. is a professional doctorate); University of Utah (2006). University of Utah – The Graduate School – Graduate Handbook. Accessed May 28, 2008. (the J.D. degree is listed under doctorate degrees); German Federal Ministry of Education. "U.S. Higher Education / Evaluation of the Almanac Chronicle of Higher Education". Accessed May 26, 2008. (report by the German Federal Ministry of Education analysing the Chronicle of Higher Education from the U.S. and stating that the J.D. is a professional doctorate); Encyclopædia Britannica. (2002). "Encyclopædia Britannica", 3:962:1a. (the J.D. is listed among other doctorate degrees).
  214. ^ American Bar Association. Model Code of Professional Responsibility, Disciplinary Rule 2–102(E). Cornell University Law School, LLI. Accessed February 10, 2009. Peter H. Geraghty., "Are There Any Doctors Or Associates In the House?" American Bar Association, 2007.
  215. ^ Florida Bar News.In Italy J.D. holders use the title of Dottore, but lawyers who have qualified for the bar only use the style Avvocato. Debate over 'doctor of law' title continues. Florida Bar Association, July 1, 2006.
  216. ^ Google Translate; The Contemporary Chinese Dictionary. (2001). Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, Beijing.; Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (Chinese-English). (2006). Pearson Education, Hong Kong, 2006.


See also

In many Asian countries, holders of the Juris Doctor degree are also called "博士" (doctor).[216]

In countries where holders of the first law degree traditionally use the title of doctor (e.g. Peru, Brazil, Macau, Portugal, Argentina), J.D. holders who are attorneys will often use the title of doctor as well.[215] It is common for English-language male lawyers to use the honorific suffix "Esq." (for "Esquire"). In the United States the style is also used by female lawyers.

Even though most lawyers in the United States do not use any titles, the law degree in that country is the Juris Doctor, a professional doctorate degree,[213] and some J.D. holders in the United States use the title of "Doctor" in professional[214] and academic situations.

The title of doctor has never been used to address lawyers in England or other common law countries (with the exception of the United States). This is because until 1846 lawyers in England were not required to have a university degree and were trained by other attorneys by apprenticeship or in the Inns of Court.[212] Since law degrees started to become a requirement for lawyers in England, the degree awarded has been the undergraduate LL.B. In South Africa holders of a law degree who have completed a year of pupillage and have been admitted to the bar may use the title "Advocate", abbreviated to "Adv" in written correspondence. Likewise, Italian law graduates who have qualified for the bar use the title "Avvocato", abbreviated in "Avv."

In French- (France, Quebec, Belgium, Luxembourg) and Dutch-speaking countries (Netherlands, Belgium), legal professional are addressed as Maître ..., abbreviated to Me ... (in French) or Meester ..., abbreviated to mr. ... (in Dutch).

Historically lawyers in most European countries were addressed with the title of doctor, and countries outside of Europe have generally followed the practice of the European country which had policy influence through colonization. The first university degrees, starting with the law school of the University of Bologna (or glossators) in the 11th century, were all law degrees and doctorates.[210] Degrees in other fields did not start until the 13th century, but the doctor continued to be the only degree offered at many of the old universities until the 20th century. Therefore, in many of the southern European countries, including Portugal and Italy, lawyers have traditionally been addressed as “doctor,” a practice, which was transferred to many countries in South America and Macau. The term "doctor" has since fallen into disuse, although it is still a legal title in Italy and in use in many countries outside of Europe.[211]

Generally speaking, the modern practice is for lawyers to avoid use of any title, although formal practice varies across the world.

Example of a diploma from Suffolk University Law School conferring the Juris Doctor degree.


The French medieval oaths were widely influential and of enduring importance; for example, they directly influenced the structure of the advocates' oath adopted by the Canton of Geneva in 1816.[209] In turn, the 1816 Geneva oath served as the inspiration for the attorney's oath drafted by David Dudley Field as Section 511 of the proposed New York Code of Civil Procedure of 1848, which was the first attempt in the United States at a comprehensive statement of a lawyer's professional duties.[209]

The legal profession's return was marked by the renewed efforts of church and state to regulate it. In 1231 two French councils mandated that lawyers had to swear an oath of admission before practicing before the bishop's courts in their regions, and a similar oath was promulgated by the papal legate in London in 1237.[202] During the same decade, Frederick II, the emperor of the Kingdom of Sicily, imposed a similar oath in his civil courts.[203] By 1250 the nucleus of a new legal profession had clearly formed.[204] The new trend towards professionalization culminated in a controversial proposal at the Second Council of Lyon in 1275 that all ecclesiastical courts should require an oath of admission.[205] Although not adopted by the council, it was highly influential in many such courts throughout Europe.[205] The civil courts in England also joined the trend towards professionalization; in 1275 a statute was enacted that prescribed punishment for professional lawyers guilty of deceit,[206] and in 1280 the mayor's court of the city of London promulgated regulations concerning admission procedures, including the administering of an oath.[207] And in 1345, the French crown promulgated a royal ordinance which set forth 24 rules governing advocates, of which 12 were integrated into the oath to be taken by them.[208]

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the onset of the Early Middle Ages, the legal profession of Western Europe collapsed. As James Brundage has explained: "[by 1140], no one in Western Europe could properly be described as a professional lawyer or a professional canonist in anything like the modern sense of the term 'professional.' "[199] However, from 1150 onward, a small but increasing number of men became experts in canon law but only in furtherance of other occupational goals, such as serving the Roman Catholic Church as priests.[200] From 1190 to 1230, however, there was a crucial shift in which some men began to practice canon law as a lifelong profession in itself.[201]

The Village Lawyer, c. 1621, by Pieter Brueghel the Younger

Middle Ages

The notaries (tabelliones) appeared in the late Roman Empire. Like their modern-day descendants, the civil law notaries, they were responsible for drafting wills, conveyances, and contracts.[197] They were ubiquitous and most villages had one.[197] In Roman times, notaries were widely considered to be inferior to advocates and jury consults. Roman notaries were not law-trained; they were barely literate hacks who wrapped the simplest transactions in mountains of legal jargon, since they were paid by the line.[198]

In the words of Fritz Schulz, "by the fourth century things had changed in the eastern Empire: advocates now were really lawyers."[193] For example, by the fourth century, advocates had to be enrolled on the bar of a court to argue before it, they could only be attached to one court at a time, and there were restrictions (which came and went depending upon who was emperor) on how many advocates could be enrolled at a particular court.[194] By the 380s, advocates were studying law in addition to rhetoric (thus reducing the need for a separate class of jurisconsults); in 460, Emperor Leo imposed a requirement that new advocates seeking admission had to produce testimonials from their teachers; and by the sixth century, a regular course of legal study lasting about four years was required for admission.[195] Claudius's fee ceiling lasted all the way into the Byzantine period, though by then it was measured at 100 solidi.[196] Of course, it was widely evaded, either through demands for maintenance and expenses or a sub rosa barter transaction.[196] The latter was cause for disbarment.[196]

During the Roman Republic and the early Roman Empire, jurisconsults and advocates were unregulated, since the former were amateurs and the latter were technically illegal.[189] Any citizen could call himself an advocate or a legal expert, though whether people believed him would depend upon his personal reputation. This changed once Claudius legalized the legal profession. By the start of the Byzantine Empire, the legal profession had become well-established, heavily regulated, and highly stratified.[190] The centralization and bureaucratization of the profession was apparently gradual at first, but accelerated during the reign of Emperor Hadrian.[191] At the same time, the jurisconsults went into decline during the imperial period.[192]

Detail from the sarcophagus of Roman lawyer Valerius Petronianus 315–320 AD. Picture by Giovanni Dall'Orto.

Like their Greek contemporaries, early Roman advocates were trained in rhetoric, not law, and the judges before whom they argued were also not law-trained.[186] But very early on, unlike Athens, Rome developed a class of specialists who were learned in the law, known as jurisconsults (iuris consulti).[187] Jurisconsults were wealthy amateurs who dabbled in law as an intellectual hobby; they did not make their primary living from it.[187] They gave legal opinions (responsa) on legal issues to all comers (a practice known as publice respondere).[188] Roman judges and governors would routinely consult with an advisory panel of jurisconsults before rendering a decision, and advocates and ordinary people also went to jurisconsults for legal opinions.[187] Thus, the Romans were the first to have a class of people who spent their days thinking about legal problems, and this is why their law became so "precise, detailed, and technical."[187]

A law enacted in 204 BC barred Roman advocates from taking fees, but the law was widely ignored.[183] The ban on fees was abolished by Emperor Claudius, who legalized advocacy as a profession and allowed the Roman advocates to become the first lawyers who could practice openly—but he also imposed a fee ceiling of 10,000 sesterces.[184] This was apparently not much money; the Satires of Juvenal complain that there was no money in working as an advocate.[185]

Ancient Rome

[182].ancient Rome Therefore, if one narrows the definition to those men who could practice the legal profession openly and legally, then the first lawyers would have to be the orators of [181] The earliest people who could be described as "lawyers" were probably the

Ancient Greece

16th-century painting of a civil law notary, by Flemish painter Quentin Massys. A civil law notary is roughly analogous to a common law solicitor, except that, unlike solicitors, civil law notaries do not practice litigation to any degree.


[177].legal expense insurance In Germany, mandatory fee structures have enabled widespread implementation of affordable [176] In other countries, legal aid specialists are practically nonexistent. This may be because non-lawyers are allowed to provide such services; in both

In some countries, there are legal aid lawyers who specialize in providing legal services to the indigent.[172][173] France and Spain even have formal fee structures by which lawyers are compensated by the government for legal aid cases on a per-case basis.[174] A similar system, though not as extensive or generous, operates in Australia, Canada, and South Africa.

Lawyers working directly on the payroll of governments, nonprofits, and corporations usually earn a regular annual salary.[169] In many countries, with the notable exception of Germany,[170] lawyers can also volunteer their labor in the service of worthy causes through an arrangement called pro bono (short for pro bono publico, "for the common good").[171] Traditionally such work was performed on behalf of the poor, but in some countries it has now expanded to many other causes such as the environment.

Lawyers are paid for their work in a variety of ways. In private practice, they may work for an hourly fee according to a billable hour structure,[166] a contingency fee[167] (usually in cases involving personal injury), or a lump sum payment if the matter is straightforward. Normally, most lawyers negotiate a written fee agreement up front and may require a non-refundable retainer in advance. In many countries there are fee-shifting arrangements by which the loser must pay the winner's fees and costs; the United States is the major exception,[168] although in turn, its legislators have carved out many exceptions to the so-called "American Rule" of no fee shifting.


Some studies have shown that suicide rates among lawyers may be as much as six times higher than the average population, and commentators suggest that the low opinion the public has of lawyers, combined with their own high ideals of justice, which in practice they may see denied, increase the depression rates of those in this profession.[165]

  • abuse of litigation in various ways, including using dilatory tactics and false evidence and making frivolous arguments to the courts;
  • preparation of false documentation, such as false deeds, contracts, or wills;
  • deceiving clients and other persons and misappropriating property;
  • procrastination in dealings with clients; and
  • charging excessive fees.[164]

More generally, in Legal Ethics: A Comparative Study (2004), law professor Geoffrey C. Hazard, Jr. with Angelo Dondi briefly examined the "regulations attempting to suppress lawyer misconduct" and noted that their similarity around the world was paralleled by a "remarkable consistency" in certain "persistant [sic?] grievances" about lawyers that transcends both time and locale, from the Bible to medieval England to dynastic China.[163] The authors then generalized these common complaints about lawyers as being classified into five "general categories" as follows:

In Adventures in Law and Justice (2003), legal researcher Bryan Horrigan dedicated a chapter to "Myths, Fictions, and Realities" about law and illustrated the perennial criticism of lawyers as "amoral [...] guns for hire"[161] with a quote from Ambrose Bierce's satirical The Devil's Dictionary (1911) that summarized the noun as: "LAWYER, n. One skilled in circumvention of the law."[162]

Public distrust of lawyers reached record heights in the United States after the Watergate scandal.[155][157] In the aftermath of Watergate, legal self-help books became popular among those who wished to solve their legal problems without having to deal with lawyers.[158] Lawyer jokes (already a perennial favorite) also soared in popularity in English-speaking North America as a result of Watergate.[159] In 1989, American legal self-help publisher Nolo Press published a 171-page compilation of negative anecdotes about lawyers from throughout human history.[160]

Hostility towards the legal profession is a widespread phenomenon. The legal profession was abolished in Prussia in 1780 and in France in 1789, though both countries eventually realized that their judicial systems could not function efficiently without lawyers.[147] Complaints about too many lawyers were common in both England and the United States in the 1840s,[148][149] Germany in the 1910s,[150] and in Australia,[151] Canada,[152] the United States,[153][154][155] and Scotland[156] in the 1980s.

Cultural perception

In some countries, like France and Italy, lawyers have also formed trade unions.[146]

Lawyers are always free to form voluntary associations of their own, apart from any licensing or mandatory membership that may be required by the laws of their jurisdiction. Like their mandatory counterparts, such organizations may exist at all geographic levels.[86][144] In American English, such associations are known as voluntary bar associations.[145] The largest voluntary professional association of lawyers in the English-speaking world is the American Bar Association.

Voluntary associations

However, the concept of the self-regulating profession has been criticized as a sham which serves to legitimize the professional monopoly while protecting the profession from public scrutiny.[140] Disciplinary mechanisms have been astonishingly ineffective, and penalties have been light or nonexistent.[141][142][143]

In contrast, common law lawyers have traditionally regulated themselves through institutions where the influence of non-lawyers, if any, was weak and indirect (despite nominal state control).[138] Such institutions have been traditionally dominated by private practitioners who opposed strong state control of the profession on the grounds that it would endanger the ability of lawyers to zealously and competently advocate their clients' causes in the adversarial system of justice.[139]

Of all the civil law countries, Communist countries historically went the farthest towards total state control, with all Communist lawyers forced to practice in collectives by the mid-1950s.[135][136] China is a prime example: technically, the People's Republic of China did not have lawyers, and instead had only poorly trained, state-employed "legal workers," prior to the enactment of a comprehensive reform package in 1996 by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.[137]

In most civil law countries, the government has traditionally exercised tight control over the legal profession in order to ensure a steady supply of loyal judges and bureaucrats. That is, lawyers were expected first and foremost to serve the state, and the availability of counsel for private litigants was an afterthought.[132] Even in civil law countries like Norway which have partially self-regulating professions, the Ministry of Justice is the sole issuer of licenses, and makes its own independent re-evaluation of a lawyer's fitness to practice after a lawyer has been expelled from the Advocates' Association.[111] Brazil is an unusual exception in that its national Order of Advocates has become a fully self-regulating institution (with direct control over licensing) and has successfully resisted government attempts to place it under the control of the Ministry of Labor.[133][134]

A key difference among countries is whether lawyers should be regulated solely by an independent judiciary and its subordinate institutions (a self-regulating legal profession),[131] or whether lawyers should be subject to supervision by the Ministry of Justice in the executive branch.

Who regulates lawyers

Some countries grant licenses to non-resident lawyers, who may then appear regularly on behalf of foreign clients. Others require all lawyers to live in the jurisdiction or to even hold national citizenship as a prerequisite for receiving a license to practice. But the trend in industrialized countries since the 1970s has been to abolish citizenship and residency restrictions. For example, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down a citizenship requirement on equality rights grounds in 1989,[128] and similarly, American citizenship and residency requirements were struck down as unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 and 1985, respectively.[129] The European Court of Justice made similar decisions in 1974 and 1977 striking down citizenship restrictions in Belgium and France.[130]

Generally, geographic limitations can be troublesome for a lawyer who discovers that his client's cause requires him to litigate in a court beyond the normal geographic scope of his license. Although most courts have special pro hac vice rules for such occasions, the lawyer will still have to deal with a different set of professional responsibility rules, as well as the possibility of other differences in substantive and procedural law.

Some countries, like Italy, regulate lawyers at the regional level,[125] and a few, like Belgium, even regulate them at the local level (that is, they are licensed and regulated by the local equivalent of bar associations but can advocate in courts nationwide).[126] In Germany, lawyers are admitted to regional bars and may appear for clients before all courts nationwide with the exception of the Federal Court of Justice of Germany (Bundesgerichtshof or BGH); oddly, securing admission to the BGH's bar limits a lawyer's practice solely to the supreme federal courts and the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany.[127]

Some countries admit and regulate lawyers at the national level, so that a lawyer, once licensed, can argue cases in any court in the land. This is common in small countries like New Zealand, Japan, Portugal and Belgium.[119] Others, especially those with federal governments, tend to regulate lawyers at the state or provincial level; this is the case in the United States,[120] Canada,[121] Australia,[122] and Switzerland,[123] to name a few. Brazil is the most well-known federal government that regulates lawyers at the national level.[124]

In common law countries with divided legal professions, barristers traditionally belong to the bar council (or an Inn of Court) and solicitors belong to the law society. In the English-speaking world, the largest mandatory professional association of lawyers is the State Bar of California, with 230,000 members.

[118].unauthorized practice of law or similar names. Generally, a nonmember caught practicing law may be liable for the crime of [117] Faculties of Advocates,[116] Colleges of Advocates,[115] Chambers of Advocates,[114]

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