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A lawyer is a person who practices law. The role of a lawyer varies greatly across different legal jurisdictions. A lawyer can be classified as an
advocate An advocate is a professional in the field of law. List of country legal systems, Different countries' legal systems use the term with somewhat differing meanings. The broad equivalent in many English law–based jurisdictions could be a barri ...
, attorney,
barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer in common law jurisdiction (area), jurisdictions. Barristers mostly specialise in courtroom advocacy and litigation. Their tasks include taking cases in superior courts and tribunals, drafting legal pleadings, rese ...
,
canon lawyer Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler') is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical jurisdiction, ecclesiastical authority (church leadership) for the government of a Christian organization or chur ...
,
civil law notary Civil-law notaries, or Latin notaries, are lawyers of contentious jurisdiction, noncontentious private law, private civil law (legal system), civil law who draft, take, and record legal instruments for private parties, provide legal advice and gi ...
,
counsel A counsel or a counsellor at law is a person who gives advice and deals with various issues, particularly in law, legal matters. It is a title often used interchangeably with the title of ''lawyer''. The word ''counsel'' can also mean advice g ...
, counselor,
solicitor A solicitor is a legal practitioner who traditionally deals with most of the legal matters in some jurisdictions. A person must have Admission to practice law, legally-defined qualifications, which vary from one jurisdiction to another, to be des ...
,
legal executive Legal executives are a form of trained legal professional in certain jurisdictions. They often specialise in a particular area of law. The training that a Legal Executive undertakes usually includes both vocational training (a minimum of 3 years ...
, or public servant — with each role having different functions and privileges. Working as a lawyer generally involves the practical application of abstract legal theories and knowledge to solve specific problems. Some lawyers also work primarily in advancing the interests of the law and legal profession.


Terminology

Different legal jurisdictions have different requirements in the determination of who is recognized as being a lawyer. As a result, the meaning of the term "lawyer" may vary from place to place. Some jurisdictions have two types of lawyers,
barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer in common law jurisdiction (area), jurisdictions. Barristers mostly specialise in courtroom advocacy and litigation. Their tasks include taking cases in superior courts and tribunals, drafting legal pleadings, rese ...
and
solicitor A solicitor is a legal practitioner who traditionally deals with most of the legal matters in some jurisdictions. A person must have Admission to practice law, legally-defined qualifications, which vary from one jurisdiction to another, to be des ...
s, while others fuse the two. A barrister (also known as an advocate or counselor in some jurisdictions) is a lawyer who typically specializes in arguing before courts, particularly in higher courts. A solicitor (or attorney) is a lawyer who is trained to prepare cases and give advice on legal subjects. Depending on jurisdiction, solicitors can also represent people in lower courts but do not have ordinarily have rights of audience in higher courts. Both solicitors and barristers are trained in law. However, in jurisdictions where there is a split profession, only barristers are admitted as members of a bar association. The distinction between barristers and solicitors originated in the English legal system, but many countries that adopted English law have eliminated the distinction. Countries such as New Zealand, Canada (with the exception of Quebec, which practices civil law), India, Pakistan, and the US have adopted a fused profession, where all lawyers have the privileges of both barristers and solicitors. Some fused-profession jurisdictions use one term to describe lawyers generally. For example, the US lawyers are typically referred to as "attorneys", while Indian and Pakistani lawyers are known as "advocates". Other fused jurisdictions use terms such as "barrister and solicitor" or "attorney and counselor" to describe lawyers in general. Nonetheless, the terminology of "barrister" and "solicitor" may still be applied to lawyers who deal in the specific kinds of work barristers and solicitors generally do. In countries like the US, however, the term "trial lawyer" typically describes the work of a lawyer who specialises primarily in arguing cases. Nonetheless, in countries like England, Wales, Australia, and South Africa, the distinction between barristers and solicitors remain. Additionally, England and Wales has a number of other classifications of lawyers, which include registered foreign lawyers, patent attorneys, trademark attorneys, licensed conveyancers, public notaries, commissioners for oaths, immigration advisers and chartered legal executives. Under the English Legal Services Act 2007, "lawyer" is not a protected title. In other jurisdictions, like the United States, there are strict restrictions on who may call themselves a lawyer, with paralegals and patent agents generally disallowed.


Responsibilities

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
scrivener A scrivener (or scribe) was a person who could read and write or who wrote letters to court and legal documents. Scriveners were people who made their living by writing or copying written material. This usually indicated secretarial and ad ...
s. 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; rather, their legal professions consist of a large number of different kinds of law-trained persons, known as
jurist A jurist is a person with expert knowledge of law; someone who analyses and comments on law. This person is usually a specialist legal scholar, mostly (but not always) with a formal qualification in law and often a legal practitioner. In the U ...
s, some of whom are
advocate An advocate is a professional in the field of law. List of country legal systems, Different countries' legal systems use the term with somewhat differing meanings. The broad equivalent in many English law–based jurisdictions could be a barri ...
s who are licensed to practice in the courts. 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. Notably, England, the mother of the
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent, judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions."The common law is not a brooding omnipres ...
jurisdictions, emerged from the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the late 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the Post-classical, post-classical period of World history (field), global history. It began with t ...
with similar complexity in its legal professions, but then evolved by the 19th century to a single division between
barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer in common law jurisdiction (area), jurisdictions. Barristers mostly specialise in courtroom advocacy and litigation. Their tasks include taking cases in superior courts and tribunals, drafting legal pleadings, rese ...
s and
solicitor A solicitor is a legal practitioner who traditionally deals with most of the legal matters in some jurisdictions. A person must have Admission to practice law, legally-defined qualifications, which vary from one jurisdiction to another, to be des ...
s. An equivalent division 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. Several countries that originally had two or more legal professions have since ''fused'' or ''united'' their professions into a single type of lawyer. 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. 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

Arguing a client's case before a
judge A judge is a person who wiktionary:preside, presides over court proceedings, either alone or as a part of a Judicial panel, panel of judges. A judge hears all the witnesses and any other Evidence (law), evidence presented by the barristers or s ...
or
jury A jury is a sworn body of people (jurors) convened to hear evidence and render an impartiality, impartial verdict (a Question of fact, finding of fact on a question) officially submitted to them by a court, or to set a sentence (law), penalty o ...
in a court of law is the traditional province of the barrister in England and Australia, and of advocates in some civil law jurisdictions. However, the boundary between barristers and solicitors has evolved. In England today, the barrister
monopoly A monopoly (from Greek language, Greek el, μόνος, mónos, single, alone, label=none and el, πωλεῖν, pōleîn, to sell, label=none), as described by Irving Fisher, is a market with the "absence of competition", creating a situati ...
covers only appellate courts, and barristers must compete directly with solicitors in many trial courts. In countries like the United States, which have fused legal professions, there are trial lawyers who specialize in trying cases in court, but trial lawyers do not have a legal 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 court Small-claims courts have limited jurisdiction to hear Civil law (common law), civil cases between private litigants. Courts authorized to try small claims may also have other judicial functions, and go by different names in different jurisdiction ...
s; 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. In other countries, like Venezuela, no one may appear before a judge unless represented by a lawyer. 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.


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. Also, they draft legal papers and prepare for an oral argument. In England, the usual division of labor is that a
solicitor A solicitor is a legal practitioner who traditionally deals with most of the legal matters in some jurisdictions. A person must have Admission to practice law, legally-defined qualifications, which vary from one jurisdiction to another, to be des ...
will obtain the facts of the case from the client and then brief a barrister (usually in writing). The barrister then researches and drafts the necessary court pleadings (which will be filed and served by the solicitor) and orally argues the case. 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. In some countries, like Japan, a
scrivener A scrivener (or scribe) was a person who could read and write or who wrote letters to court and legal documents. Scriveners were people who made their living by writing or copying written material. This usually indicated secretarial and ad ...
or clerk may fill out court forms and draft simple papers for laypersons who cannot afford or do not need attorneys, and advise them on how to manage and argue their own cases.Rokumoto, 164.


Advocacy (written and oral) in administrative hearings

In most developed countries, the legislature has granted
original jurisdiction In common law (legal system), common law legal systems original jurisdiction of a court is the power to hear a case for the first time, as opposed to appellate jurisdiction, when a higher court has the power to review a lower court's decision. ...
over highly technical matters to
executive branch The Executive, also referred as the Executive branch or Executive power, is the term commonly used to describe that part of government which enforces the law, and has overall responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. In poli ...
administrative agencies which oversee such things. As a result, some lawyers have become specialists in
administrative law Administrative law is the division of law that governs the activities of government agency, executive branch agencies of Forms of government, government. Administrative law concerns executive branch rule making (executive branch rules are gener ...
. 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). 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.


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 is explained in six steps. First, the relationship begins with an intake interview where the lawyer gets to know the client personally. The second step is discovering the facts of the client's case. Thirdly is clarifying what the client wants to accomplish. The fourth step is where the lawyer shapes the client's expectations as to what actually can be accomplished. The second to last step begins to develop various claims or defenses for the client. Lastly, the lawyer explains her or his fees to the client. In England, only solicitors were traditionally in direct contact with the client. The solicitor retained a barrister if one was necessary and acted as an intermediary between the barrister and the client. 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 practicing, at a court at which they normally appeared and at their usual rates.


Legal advice

Legal advice is the application of abstract principles of law to the concrete facts of the client's case 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 Consideration is a concept of English law, English common law and is a necessity for simple contracts but not for special contracts (contracts by deed). The concept has been adopted by other common law jurisdictions. The court in ''Currie v Mis ...
, even if no
lawsuit - A lawsuit is a proceeding by a party or parties against another in the civil court of law. The archaic term "suit in law" is found in only a small number of laws still in effect today. The term "lawsuit" is used in reference to a civil act ...
is contemplated or is in progress. 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 the unauthorized practice of law. 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. Some countries go further; in England and Wales, there is ''no'' general prohibition on the giving of legal advice.
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign island country, island country and city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Pen ...
does not have any admission requirements for in-house counsel. Sometimes civil law notaries are allowed to give legal advice, as in Belgium. In many countries, non-jurist accountants may provide what is technically legal advice in tax and accounting matters.


Protecting intellectual property

In virtually all countries,
patent A patent is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention for a limited period of time in exchange for publishing an sufficiency of disclosure, enabling disclo ...
s,
trademark A trademark (also written trade mark or trade-mark) is a type of intellectual property consisting of a recognizable sign (semiotics), sign, design, or expression (language), expression that identifies Good (economics and accounting), product ...
s, industrial designs and other forms of
intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect. There are many types of intellectual property, and some countries recognize more than others. The best-known types are patents, ...
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. The trend in industrialized countries since the 1970s has been to greatly restrict the role of clerks and scriveners in patent and trademark work, and to require these functions to be performed only by lawyers or other licensed agents. This ensures that all work product in such cases receives the full protection of attorney-client privilege. In the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
, for example, the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) may not speak with anyone but the applicant's attorney about pending applications, and all documents filed in connection with a pending application are automatically accorded attorney-client privilege. The European Patent Office has a similar policy. In contrast, many countries in the world do not recognize attorney-client privilege for work product related to intellectual property, or have only very limited recognition of the privilege. These countries include
China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Population of China, population exceeding 1.4 billion, slig ...
,
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally , ''Nihonkoku'') is an island country in East Asia. It is situated in the northwest Pacific Ocean, and is bordered on the west by the Sea of Japan, while extending from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north ...
,
Korea Korea ( ko, 한국, or , ) is a peninsular region in East Asia. Since 1945, it has been divided at or near the 38th parallel north, 38th parallel, with North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) comprising its northern half and Sout ...
, much of
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia, South-eastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, south-eastern region of Asia, consistin ...
, and most of
Latin America Latin America or * french: Amérique Latine, link=no * ht, Amerik Latin, link=no * pt, América Latina, link=no, name=a, sometimes referred to as LatAm is a large cultural region in the Americas where Romance languages — languages derived f ...
. As a result, great care must be taken in these countries to protect intellectual property, as any work product related to a pending application may be disclosed to the public. Many companies choose to file their applications in the United States or Europe first, and then file for protection in other countries where attorney-client privilege is not recognized. This allows them to keep their work product confidential while they are still in the process of perfecting their invention or design.


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. In others, jurists or notaries may negotiate or draft contracts.Huyse, 227. 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).


Conveyancing

Conveyancing is the drafting of the documents necessary for the transfer of
real property In English common law, real property, real estate, immovable property or, solely in the US and Canada, realty, is land which is the property of some person and all structures (also called Land improvement, improvements or Fixture (property ...
, such as
deed In common law, a deed is any legal instrument in writing which passes, affirms or confirms an interest, right, or property and that is signed, attested, delivered, and in some jurisdiction (area), jurisdictions, seal (emblem), sealed. It is com ...
s and mortgages. In some jurisdictions, all
real estate Real estate is property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this (also) an item of real property, (more general ...
transactions must be carried out by a lawyer (or a solicitor where that distinction still exists). 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), and a 1978 study showed that conveyancing "accounts for as much as 80 percent of solicitor-client contact in
New South Wales ) , nickname = , image_map = New South Wales in Australia.svg , map_caption = Location of New South Wales in AustraliaCoordinates: , subdivision_type = Country , subdivision_name = Australia , established_title = Before federation , es ...
." In most common law jurisdictions outside of the United States, this monopoly arose from an 1804 law that was introduced by
William Pitt the Younger William Pitt the Younger (28 May 175923 January 1806) was a British statesman, the youngest and last prime minister of Great Britain (before the Acts of Union 1800) and then first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, prime minister of the Un ...
as a '' quid pro quo'' for the raising of fees on the certification of legal professionals such as barristers, solicitors, attorneys, and notaries. In others, the use of a lawyer is optional and banks, title companies, or
realtor A real estate agent or real estate broker is a person who represents sellers or buyers of real estate or real property. While a broker may work independently, an agent usually works under a licensed broker to represent clients. Brokers and agen ...
s may be used instead. In some civil law jurisdictions, real estate transactions are handled by civil law notaries. In England and Wales a special class of legal professionals–the licensed conveyancer–is also allowed to carry out conveyancing services for reward.


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. In the United States, the estates of the deceased must generally be administered by a court through
probate Probate is the judicial process whereby a will is "proved" in a court of law and accepted as a valid public document that is the true last testament of the deceased, or whereby the estate is settled according to the laws of intestacy in the sta ...
. American lawyers have a profitable monopoly on dispensing advice about probate law (which has been heavily criticized).


Prosecution and defense of criminal suspects

In many civil law countries,
prosecutor A prosecutor is a legal representative of the prosecution in states with either the common law adversarial system or the Civil law (legal system), civil law inquisitorial system. The prosecution is the legal party responsible for presenting the ...
s 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. 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.


Education

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. Law students in those countries pursue a Master or
Bachelor of Laws Bachelor of Laws ( la, Legum Baccalaureus; LL.B.) is an undergraduate law degree in the United Kingdom and most common law jurisdictions. Bachelor of Laws is also the name of the law degree awarded by universities in the People's Republic of C ...
degree. In some countries it is common or even required for students to earn another bachelor's degree at the same time. It is often followed by a series of advanced examinations, apprenticeships, and additional coursework at special government institutes. In other countries, particularly the UK and U.S.A., law is primarily taught at
law school A law school (also known as a law centre or college of law) is an institution specializing in legal education, usually involved as part of a process for becoming a lawyer within a given jurisdiction. Law degrees Argentina In Argentina, l ...
s. In America, the American Bar Association decides which law schools to approve and thereby which ones are deemed most respectable. In England and Wales, the
Bar Professional Training Course The Bar Professional Training Course or BPTC is a Postgraduate education, postgraduate course which allows law graduates to be named and practise as barristers in England and Wales. The eight institutes that run the BPTC along with the four pres ...
(BPTC) must be taken to have the right to work and be named as a
barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer in common law jurisdiction (area), jurisdictions. Barristers mostly specialise in courtroom advocacy and litigation. Their tasks include taking cases in superior courts and tribunals, drafting legal pleadings, rese ...
. Students who decide to pursue a non-law subject at degree level can instead study the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) after their degrees, before beginning the Legal Practice Course (LPC) or BPTC. In the United States and countries following the American model, (such as Canada 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 Canada (with the exception of
McGill University McGill University (french: link=no, Université McGill) is an English-language public university, public research university located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Founded in 1821 by royal charter granted by George IV, King George IV,Frost, Stan ...
) award graduating students a J.D. (
Juris Doctor The Juris Doctor (J.D. or JD), also known as Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D., JD, D.Jur., or DJur), is a graduate-entry professional degree in law and one of several Doctor of Law degrees. The J.D. is the standard degree obtained to practice l ...
/Doctor of Jurisprudence) (as opposed to the
Bachelor of Laws Bachelor of Laws ( la, Legum Baccalaureus; LL.B.) is an undergraduate law degree in the United Kingdom and most common law jurisdictions. Bachelor of Laws is also the name of the law degree awarded by universities in the People's Republic of C ...
) 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. The methods and quality of legal education vary widely. Some countries require extensive clinical training in the form of apprenticeships or special clinical courses. Others, like Venezuela, do not. 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 The Socratic method (also known as method of Elenchus, elenctic method, or Socratic debate) is a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw ...
). 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). 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. Some countries, particularly industrialized ones, have a traditional preference for full-time law programs, while in developing countries, students often work full- or part-time to pay the tuition and fees of their part-time law programs. 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);Lopez-Ayllon, 324. incompetent faculty with questionable credentials; and textbooks that lag behind the current state of the law by two or three decades.


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.Abel, ''American Lawyers'', 62.
Mexico Mexico (Spanish language, Spanish: México), officially the United Mexican States, is a List of sovereign states, country in the southern portion of North America. It is borders of Mexico, bordered to the north by the United States; to the so ...
allows anyone with a law degree to practice law.Lopez-Ayllon, 330. However, in a large number of countries, a law student must pass a
bar examination A bar examination is an examination administered by the bar association of a jurisdiction that a lawyer must pass in order to be admitted to the bar of that jurisdiction. Australia Administering bar exams is the responsibility of the bar associat ...
(or a series of such examinations) before receiving a license to practice. In a handful of
U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, ...
s, one may become an attorney (a so-called country lawyer) by simply "
reading law Reading law was the method used in common law countries, particularly the United States, for people to prepare for and enter the Practice of law, legal profession before the advent of Law school in the United States, law schools. It consisted of a ...
" and passing the bar examination, without having to attend law school first (although very few people actually become lawyers that way). Some countries require a formal apprenticeship with an experienced practitioner, while others do not. For example, in South Africa it is required that in addition to obtaining an LL.B degree that person has to complete a year of pupillage under an experienced Advocate and have to be admitted to the bar to practice as an Advocate. Holders of an LL.B must have completed two years of clerkship under a principal Attorney (known as Articles) and passed all four board exams to be admitted as an "Attorney" and refer to themselves as such. 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). Some countries, such as
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign island country, island country and city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Pen ...
, do not have any admission requirements for in-house counsel.


Career structure

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


Common law/civil law

In most
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent, judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions."The common law is not a brooding omnipres ...
countries, especially those with fused professions, lawyers have many options over the course of their careers. Besides private practice, they can become a
prosecutor A prosecutor is a legal representative of the prosecution in states with either the common law adversarial system or the Civil law (legal system), civil law inquisitorial system. The prosecution is the legal party responsible for presenting the ...
, government counsel, corporate in-house counsel,
administrative law judge An administrative law judge (ALJ) in the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. I ...
,
judge A judge is a person who wiktionary:preside, presides over court proceedings, either alone or as a part of a Judicial panel, panel of judges. A judge hears all the witnesses and any other Evidence (law), evidence presented by the barristers or s ...
, arbitrator, or
law professor A jurist is a person with expert knowledge of law; someone who analyses and comments on law. This person is usually a specialist legal scholar, mostly (but not always) with a formal qualification in law and often a Lawyer, legal practitioner. In ...
. There are also many non-legal jobs for which legal training is good preparation, such as
politician A politician is a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking an elected office in government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case o ...
,
corporate executive Corporate titles or business titles are given to corporate officers to show what duties and responsibilities they have in the organization. Such titles are used by publicly and privately held for-profit corporation A corporation is an o ...
, government administrator,
investment banker Investment banking pertains to certain activities of a financial services Financial services are the Service (economics), economic services provided by the finance industry, which encompasses a broad range of businesses that manage money, incl ...
,
entrepreneur Entrepreneurship is the creation or extraction of economic value. With this definition, entrepreneurship is viewed as change, generally entailing risk beyond what is normally encountered in starting a business, which may include other values t ...
, or
journalist A journalist is an individual that collects/gathers information in form of text, audio, or pictures, processes them into a news-worthy form, and disseminates it to the public. The act or process mainly done by the journalist is called journalism ...
. 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. 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.In general, see, Legomsky, Stephen H. (1990) ''Specialized Justice: Courts, Administrative Tribunals, and a Cross-National Theory of Specialization'' Oxford University Press, New York, After one earns a law degree, career mobility may be severely constrained. For example, unlike their American counterparts, it is difficult for German judges to leave the bench and become advocates in private practice. 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. In a few civil law countries, such as Sweden, the legal profession is ''not'' rigorously bifurcated and everyone within it can easily change roles and arenas.


Specialization

In many countries, lawyers are general practitioners who represent clients in a broad field of legal matters. In others, there has been a tendency since the start of the 20th century for lawyers to specialize early in their careers. 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 The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
to hear of plaintiffs' personal injury attorneys. Texas offers attorneys the opportunity to receive a board certification through the state's
Texas Board of Legal Specialization The Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS) was established on July 16, 1974, by the State Bar of Texas. TBLS oversees the recognition and regulation of Attorneys in the United States, attorneys who specialize in particular areas of law in the U ...
. To be board certified, attorney applicants undergo a rigorous examination in one of 24 areas of practice offered by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Only those attorneys who are "board certified" are permitted to use the word "specialize" in any publicly accessible materials such as a website or television commercial. See Texas Rule 7.02(a)(6).


Organizations

Lawyers in private practice generally work in specialized
business Business is the practice of making one's living or making money by producing or Trade, buying and selling Product (business), products (such as goods and Service (economics), services). It is also "any activity or enterprise entered into for pr ...
es known as
law firm A law firm is a business entity formed by one or more lawyers to engage in the practice of law. The primary service rendered by a law firm is to advise consumer, clients (individuals or corporations) about their legal rights and Obligation, respon ...
s, with the exception of English barristers. The vast majority of law firms worldwide are
small business Small businesses are types of corporations, partnerships, or sole proprietorships which have fewer employees and/or less annual revenue than a regular-sized business or corporation. Businesses are defined as "small" in terms of being able to ap ...
es that range in size from 1 to 10 lawyers. The United States, with its large number of firms with more than 50 lawyers, is an exception. 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,
barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer in common law jurisdiction (area), jurisdictions. Barristers mostly specialise in courtroom advocacy and litigation. Their tasks include taking cases in superior courts and tribunals, drafting legal pleadings, rese ...
s in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and some states in Australia do ''not'' work in "law firms". Those who offer their services to members of the general public—as opposed to those working "in-house" — are required to be self-employed. Most work in groupings known as "sets" or "chambers", where some administrative and marketing costs are shared. An important effect of this different organizational structure is that there is no
conflict of interest A conflict of interest (COI) is a situation in which a person or organization is involved in multiple wikt:interest#Noun, interests, finance, financial or otherwise, and serving one interest could involve working against another. Typically, t ...
where barristers in the same chambers work for opposing sides in a case, and in some specialized chambers this is commonplace. Where lawyer will decide to work is largely down to the remuneration that they will receive. Trainee lawyer salaries vary widely throughout the UK, with their location having a big impact on their pay.


Professional associations and regulation


Mandatory licensing and membership in professional organizations

In some jurisdictions, either the judiciary or the Ministry of JusticeJohnsen, 86. 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. In the U.S., such associations are known as mandatory, integrated, or unified
bar association A bar association is a professional association A professional association (also called a professional body, professional organization, or professional society) usually seeks to advocacy, further a particular profession, the interests of ind ...
s. In the Commonwealth of Nations, similar organizations are known as
Inns of Court The Inns of Court in London are the professional associations for barristers in England and Wales. There are four Inns of Court – Gray's Inn, Lincoln's Inn, Inner Temple and Middle Temple. All barristers must belong to one of them. They have ...
,
bar council {{see also, Bar association A bar council ( ga, Comhairle an Bharra) or bar association, in a common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent, judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi- ...
s or
law societies A law society is an association of lawyer A lawyer is a person who practices law. The role of a lawyer varies greatly across different legal jurisdictions. A lawyer can be classified as an advocate, attorney, barrister A barrister is ...
. In civil law countries, comparable organizations are known as Orders of Advocates, Chambers of Advocates, Colleges of Advocates, Faculties of Advocates, or similar names. Generally, a nonmember caught practicing law may be liable for the crime of unauthorized practice of law. 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 The State Bar of California is California's official attorney licensing agency. It is responsible for managing the admission of lawyers to the practice of law, investigating complaints of professional misconduct, prescribing appropriate disciplin ...
, with 230,000 members. 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, and Belgium. Others, especially those with federal governments, tend to regulate lawyers at the state or provincial level; this is the case in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Switzerland, to name a few. Brazil is the most well-known federal government that regulates lawyers at the national level. Some countries, like Italy, regulate lawyers at the regional level, 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). 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 The Federal Court of Justice (german: Bundesgerichtshof, BGH) is the highest court in the system of ordinary jurisdiction (''ordentliche Gerichtsbarkeit'') in Germany, founded in 1950. It has its seat in Karlsruhe with two panels being situat ...
(''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 The Federal Constitutional Court (german: link=no, Bundesverfassungsgericht ; abbreviated: ) is the supreme court, supreme constitutional court for the Germany, Federal Republic of Germany, established by the constitution or Basic Law for th ...
. 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 In the legal field, ''pro hac vice'' () is a practice in common law jurisdictions whereby a lawyer who has not been admitted to practice in a certain jurisdiction is allowed to participate in a particular case in that jurisdiction. Although ''pro ...
'' rules for such occasions, the lawyer will still have to deal with a different set of
professional responsibility Professional responsibility is a set of duties within the concept of professional ethics for those who exercise a unique set of knowledge and skill as professionals. Professional responsibility applies to those professionals making judgments, a ...
rules, as well as the possibility of other differences in substantive and procedural law. 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 The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC; french: Cour suprême du Canada, CSC) is the Supreme court, highest court in the Court system of Canada, judicial system of Canada. It comprises List of Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada, nine justices, wh ...
struck down a citizenship requirement on equality rights grounds in 1989, and similarly, American citizenship and residency requirements were struck down as unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 and 1985, respectively. The
European Court of Justice The European Court of Justice (ECJ, french: Cour de Justice européenne), formally just the Court of Justice, is the supreme court of the European Union in matters of European Union law. As a part of the Court of Justice of the European Unio ...
made similar decisions in 1974 and 1977 striking down citizenship restrictions in Belgium and France.


Who regulates lawyers

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), or whether lawyers should be subject to supervision by the
Ministry of Justice A Ministry of Justice is a common type of government department that serves as a justice ministry. Lists of current ministries of justice Named "Ministry" * Ministry of Justice (Abkhazia) * Ministry of Justice (Afghanistan) * Ministry of Justic ...
in the
executive branch The Executive, also referred as the Executive branch or Executive power, is the term commonly used to describe that part of government which enforces the law, and has overall responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. In poli ...
. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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 The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China (NPCSC) is the permanent body of the National People's Congress (NPC) of the People's Republic of China (PRC), which is the highest organ of state po ...
. 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). 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 The adversarial system or adversary system is a legal system used in the common law countries where two advocates represent their parties' case or position before an impartial person or group of people, usually a judge or jury, who attempt to dete ...
of justice. 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. Disciplinary mechanisms have been astonishingly ineffective, and penalties have been light or nonexistent.


Voluntary associations

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. In American English, such associations are known as voluntary bar associations. The largest voluntary professional association of lawyers in the English-speaking world is the
American Bar Association The American Bar Association (ABA) is a voluntary association, voluntary bar association of lawyers and law students, which is not specific to any jurisdiction in the United States. Founded in 1878, the ABA's most important stated activities ar ...
. In some countries, like
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...
and
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic, ) or the Republic of Italy, is a country in Southern Europe. It is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, and its territory largely coincides with the Italy (geographical region) ...
, lawyers have also formed
trade union A trade union (labor union in American English), often simply referred to as a union, is an organization of workers intent on "maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment", ch. I such as attaining better wages and Employee ben ...
s.


Cultural perception

Hostility towards the legal profession is a widespread phenomenon. For example, William Shakespeare famously wrote, "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" in ''Henry VI, Part 2'', Act IV, Scene 2. The legal profession was abolished in
Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian: ''Prūsa'' or ''Prūsija'' was a Germans, German state on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. It formed the German Empire under Prussian rule when it united the German states in 1871. It was ''de facto'' dissolved ...
in 1780 and in France in 1789, though both countries eventually realized that their judicial systems could not function efficiently without lawyers. Complaints about too many lawyers were common in both England and the United States in the 1840s, Germany in the 1910s, and in Australia, Canada, the United States,
Gerry Spence Gerald Leonard Spence (born January 8, 1929) is a semi-retired American trial lawyer. He is a member of the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. Spence has never lost a criminal case before a jury either as a prosecutor or a defense attorney, and has not ...
, ''With Justice For None: Destroying An American Myth'' ( New York: Times Books, 1989), 27–40
and
Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a Anglo-Scottish border, border with England to the southeast ...
in the 1980s. Public distrust of lawyers reached record heights in the United States after the
Watergate scandal The Watergate scandal was a major political scandal in the United States involving the administration of President Richard Nixon from 1972 to 1974 that led to Nixon's resignation. The scandal stemmed from the Nixon administration's continual ...
. 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. Lawyer jokes (already a perennial favorite) also soared in popularity in English-speaking
North America North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Car ...
as a result of Watergate. In 1989, American legal self-help publisher Nolo Press published a 171-page compilation of negative anecdotes about lawyers from throughout human history. 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" with a quote from
Ambrose Bierce Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (June 24, 1842 – ) was an American short story writer, journalist, poet, and American Civil War veteran. His book ''The Devil's Dictionary'' was named as one of "The 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature" by t ...
's satirical ''
The Devil's Dictionary ''The Devil's Dictionary'' is a satire, satirical dictionary written by American journalist Ambrose Bierce, consisting of common words followed by humorous and satirical definitions. The lexicon was written over three decades as a series of insta ...
'' (1911) that summarized the noun as: "LAWYER, n. One skilled in circumvention of the law." 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 "persistent grievances" about lawyers that transcends both time and locale, from the Bible to medieval England to dynastic China.Hazard
60
.
The authors then generalized these common complaints about lawyers as being classified into five "general categories" as follows: * abuse of litigation in various ways, including using dilatory tactics and false evidence and making frivolous arguments to the courts * preparation of
false documentation False documentation is the process of creating documents which record fictitious events. The documents can then be used to "prove" that the fictional events happened. A common propaganda tool, false documentation is often used by management grou ...
, such as false deeds, contracts, or wills * deceiving clients and other persons and misappropriating property *
procrastination Procrastination is the action of unnecessarily and voluntarily delaying or postponing something despite knowing that there will be negative consequences for doing so. The word has originated from the Latin word ''procrastinatus'', which itself evo ...
in dealings with clients * charging excessive fees 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. Additionally, lawyers are twice as likely to suffer from addiction to alcohol and other drugs.


Compensation

In the United States, lawyers typically earn between $45,000 and $160,000 per year, although earnings vary by age, experience, and practice setting. Solo practitioners typically earn less than lawyers in corporate law firms but more than those working for state or local government. 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, a contingency fee (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. Recent studies suggest that when lawyers charge a fixed-fee rather than billing by the hour, they work less hard on behalf of clients and client get worse outcomes. 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, although in turn, its legislators have carved out many exceptions to the so-called "American Rule" of no fee shifting. Lawyers working directly on the payroll of governments, nonprofits, and corporations usually earn a regular annual salary. In many countries, with the notable exception of Germany, lawyers can also volunteer their labor in the service of worthy causes through an arrangement called ''
pro bono ( en, 'for the public good'), usually shortened to , is a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Ti ...
'' (short for ''pro bono publico'', "for the common good"). 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. In some countries, there are
legal aid Legal aid is the provision of assistance to people who are unable to afford legal representation and access to the court system. Legal aid is regarded as central in providing access to justice by ensuring equality before the law, the right to cou ...
lawyers who specialize in providing legal services to the indigent. 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. A similar system, though not as extensive or generous, operates in Australia, Canada, and
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the Southern Africa, southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by of coastline that stretch along the Atlantic Ocean, South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the ...
. In other countries, legal aid specialists are practically nonexistent. This may be because non-lawyers are allowed to provide such services; in both
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic, ) or the Republic of Italy, is a country in Southern Europe. It is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, and its territory largely coincides with the Italy (geographical region) ...
and
Belgium Belgium, ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Northwestern Europe. The country is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the ...
, trade unions and political parties provide what can be characterized as legal aid services. Some legal aid in Belgium is also provided by young lawyer apprentices subsidized by local bar associations (known as the ''pro deo'' system), as well as consumer protection nonprofit organizations and Public Assistance Agencies subsidized by local governments. In Germany, mandatory fee structures have enabled widespread implementation of affordable legal expense insurance.


History


Ancient Greece

The earliest people who could be described as "lawyers" were probably the
orators Public speaking, also called oratory or oration, has traditionally meant the act of speaking face to face to a live audience. Today it includes any form of speaking (formally and informally) to an audience, including pre-recorded speech deliver ...
of ancient
Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is a coastal city in the Mediterranean and is both the capital and largest city of Greece. With a population close to four million, it is also the seventh largest c ...
(see
History of Athens Athens is one of the oldest named cities in the world, having been continuously inhabited for perhaps 5,000 years. Situated in southern Europe, Athens became the leading city of Ancient Greece in the first millennium BC, and its cultural achieve ...
). However, Athenian orators faced serious structural obstacles. First, there was a rule that individuals were supposed to plead their own cases, which was soon bypassed by the increasing tendency of individuals to ask a "friend" for assistance. However, around the middle of the fourth century, the Athenians disposed of the perfunctory request for a friend. Second, a more serious obstacle, which the Athenian orators never completely overcame, was the rule that no one could take a fee to plead the cause of another. This law was widely disregarded in practice, but was never abolished, which meant that orators could ''never'' present themselves as legal professionals or experts. They had to uphold the
legal fiction A legal fiction is a question of law, fact assumed or created by courts, which is then used in order to help reach a decision or to apply a legal rule. The concept is used almost exclusively in common law jurisdictions, particularly in England a ...
that they were merely an ordinary citizen generously helping out a friend for free, and thus they could never organize into a real profession—with professional associations and titles and all the other pomp and circumstance—like their modern counterparts. 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
ancient Rome In modern historiography, ancient Rome refers to Roman civilisation from the founding of the city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD. It encompasses the Roman Kingdom (753–509 ...
.


Ancient Rome

A law enacted in 204 BC barred Roman advocates from taking fees, but the law was widely ignored. The ban on fees was abolished by
Emperor Claudius Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (; 1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54) was the fourth Roman emperor, ruling from AD 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, Claudius was born to Nero Claudius Drusus, Drusu ...
, 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 The ''sestertius'' (plural ''sestertii''), or sesterce (plural sesterces), was an Ancient Rome, ancient Roman Roman currency, coin. During the Roman Republic it was a small, silver coin issued only on rare occasions. During the Roman Empire it w ...
. This was apparently not much money; the
Satires of Juvenal The ''Satires'' () are a collection of satirical poems by the Latin author Juvenal written between the end of the first and the early second centuries A.D. Juvenal is credited with sixteen known poems divided among five books A book ...
complained that there was no money in working as an advocate. Like their Greek contemporaries, early Roman advocates were trained in
rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or speakers utilize to inform, persuad ...
, not law, and the judges before whom they argued were also not law-trained. But very early on, unlike Athens, Rome developed a class of specialists who were learned in the law, known as jurisconsults (''iuris consulti'').Crook, 88. Jurisconsults were wealthy amateurs who dabbled in law as an intellectual hobby; they did not make their primary living from it. They gave legal opinions (''responsa'') on legal issues to all comers (a practice known as ''publice respondere''). 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. 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." During the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Res publica Romana ) was a form of government of Rome and the era of the ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization when it was run through res publica, public Representation (politics), representation of the Roman peo ...
and the early
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings aro ...
, jurisconsults and advocates were unregulated, since the former were amateurs and the latter were technically illegal. 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 Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survi ...
, the legal profession had become well-established, heavily regulated, and highly stratified. The centralization and bureaucratization of the profession was apparently gradual at first, but accelerated during the reign of Emperor
Hadrian Hadrian (; la, Caesar Trâiānus Hadriānus ; 24 January 76 – 10 July 138) was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He was born in Italica (close to modern Santiponce in Spain), a Roman ''municipium'' founded by Italic peoples, Italic settlers ...
. At the same time, the jurisconsults went into decline during the imperial period. In the words of Fritz Schulz, "by the fourth century things had changed in the eastern Empire: advocates now were really lawyers." 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. 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. Claudius's fee ceiling lasted all the way into the Byzantine period, though by then it was measured at 100
solidi The ''solidus'' (Latin 'solid';  ''solidi'') or nomisma ( grc-gre, νόμισμα, ''nómisma'',  'coin') was a highly pure gold coin issued in the Late Roman Empire and Byzantine Empire. Constantine I, Constantine introduced the coin, ...
.Jones, 511. It was widely evaded, either through demands for maintenance and expenses or a ''sub rosa''
barter In trade, barter (derived from ''baretor'') is a system of exchange in which participants in a transaction directly exchange goods or services for other goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money. Economists d ...
transaction. The latter was cause for disbarment. 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.Jones, 515. They were ubiquitous and most villages had one. In Roman times, notaries were widely considered to be inferior to advocates and jury consults.


Middle Ages

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: " y 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.' " However, from 1150 (when ''
Decretum Gratiani The ''Decretum Gratiani'', also known as the ''Concordia discordantium canonum'' or ''Concordantia discordantium canonum'' or simply as the ''Decretum'', is a collection of Canon law (Catholic Church), canon law compiled and written in the 12th ...
'' was compiled) onward, a small but increasing number of men became experts in
canon law Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler') is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical jurisdiction, ecclesiastical authority (church leadership) for the government of a Christian organization or chur ...
but only in furtherance of other occupational goals, such as serving the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . It is am ...
as priests. 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. 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 image:K. Henry 2. Kissing the knee of the Popes Legate comming into England.gif, 300px, A woodcut showing Henry II of England greeting the pope's legate. A papal legate or apostolic legate (from the Ancient Rome, ancient Roman title ''legatus'') ...
in London in 1237. During the same decade, the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire Frederick II, the king of the
Kingdom of Sicily The Kingdom of Sicily ( la, Regnum Siciliae; it, Regno di Sicilia; scn, Regnu di Sicilia) was a state that existed in the south of the Italian peninsula, Italian Peninsula and for a time Kingdom of Africa, the region of Ifriqiya from its foundi ...
, imposed a similar oath in his civil courts. By 1250, the nucleus of a new legal profession had clearly formed. The new trend towards professionalization culminated in a controversial proposal at the
Second Council of Lyon :''The First Council of Lyon, the Thirteenth Ecumenical Council, took place in 1245.'' The Second Council of Lyon was the fourteenth ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church, convoked on 31 March 1272 and convened in Lyon, Kingdom of Burg ...
in 1275 that ''all'' ecclesiastical courts should require an oath of admission.Brundage, 189. Although not adopted by the council, it was highly influential in many such courts throughout
Europe Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical size and the weight of its history and traditions. Europe is also considered a Continent#Subcontinents, subcontinent of Eurasia ...
. 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 Deception or falsehood is an act or statement that misleads, hides the truth, or promotes a belief, concept, or idea that is not true. It is often done for personal gain or advantage. Deception can involve dissimulation, propaganda and sleight o ...
, and in 1280 the mayor's court of the city of London promulgated regulations concerning admission procedures, including the administering of an oath. 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. 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 The Canton of Geneva, officially the Republic and Canton of Geneva (french: link=no, République et canton de Genève; frp, Rèpublica et canton de Geneva; german: Republik und Kanton Genf; it, Repubblica e Cantone di Ginevra; rm, Republica e ...
in 1816.Carol Rice Andrews
''Standards of Conduct for Lawyers: An 800-Year Evolution''
, 57 SMU L. Rev. 1385 (2004).
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.


Titles

Generally speaking, the modern practice is for lawyers to avoid use of any
title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic qualification. In some languages, titles may be inserted between the f ...
, although formal practice varies across the world. 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 degree An academic degree is a qualification awarded to students upon successful completion of a course of study in higher education, usually at a college or university. These institutions commonly offer degrees at various levels, usually including unde ...
s, starting with the law school of the
University of Bologna The University of Bologna ( it, Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna, UNIBO) is a Public university, public research university in Bologna, Italy. Founded in 1088 by an organised guild of students (''studiorum''), it is the List of old ...
(or glossators) in the 11th century, were all law degrees and doctorates. 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, Italy and Malta, lawyers have traditionally been addressed as “doctor,” a practice, which was transferred to many countries in South America and
Macau Macau or Macao (; ; ; ), officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (MSAR), is a city and special administrative regions of China, special administrative region of China in the western Pearl River D ...
. 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. In French- (
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...
,
Quebec Quebec ( ; )According to the Government of Canada, Canadian government, ''Québec'' (with the acute accent) is the official name in Canadian French and ''Quebec'' (without the accent) is the province's official name in Canadian English is ...
,
Belgium Belgium, ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Northwestern Europe. The country is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the ...
,
Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=no, Grand-Duché de Luxembourg ; german: link=no, Großherzogtum Luxemburg is a small land ...
, French-speaking area of Switzerland) and Dutch-speaking countries (
Netherlands ) , anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = , map_caption = , subdivision_type = Sovereign state , subdivision_name = Kingdom of the Netherlands , established_title = Before independence , established_date = Spanish Neth ...
,
Belgium Belgium, ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Northwestern Europe. The country is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the ...
), legal professionals are addressed as ''Maître ...'', abbreviated to ''Me ...'' (in French) or ''Meester ...'', abbreviated to ''mr. ...'' (in Dutch). 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. 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 LL.B, who have completed a year of
pupillage A pupillage, in England and Wales, Northern Ireland, Kenya, Malaysia, Pakistan and Hong Kong, is the final, vocational stage of training for those wishing to become practising barristers. Pupillage is similar to an apprenticeship, during which bar ...
and have been admitted to the bar may use the title "Advocate", abbreviated to "Adv" in written correspondence. Holders of an LL.B who have completed two years of clerkship with a principal Attorney and passed all four board exams may be admitted as an "Attorney" and refer to themselves as such. Likewise, Italian law graduates who have qualified for the bar use the title "Avvocato", abbreviated in "Avv." Even though most lawyers in the United States do not use any titles, the law degree in that country is the
Juris Doctor The Juris Doctor (J.D. or JD), also known as Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D., JD, D.Jur., or DJur), is a graduate-entry professional degree in law and one of several Doctor of Law degrees. The J.D. is the standard degree obtained to practice l ...
, a professional doctorate degree, and some J.D. holders in the United States use the title of "Doctor" in professional and academic situations. 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. It is common for English-language male lawyers to use the honorific suffix "Esq." (for "
Esquire Esquire (, ; abbreviated Esq.) is usually a courtesy title. In the United Kingdom, ''esquire'' historically was a title of respect accorded to men of higher social rank, particularly members of the landed gentry above the rank of gentleman a ...
"). In the United States the style is also used by female lawyers. In many Asian countries, holders of the Juris Doctor degree are also called "博士" (doctor).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.
In the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...
and Filipino communities overseas, lawyers who are either Filipino or naturalized-citizen expatriates at work there, especially those who also profess other jobs at the same time, are addressed and introduced as either ''Attorney'' or ''Counselor'' (especially in courts), rather than ''Sir/Madam'' in speech or ''Mr./Mrs./Ms.'' (''G./Gng./Bb.'' in Filipino) before surnames. That word is used either in itself or before the given name or surname.


See also

* Ambulance chasing * Association of Pension Lawyers * Avocats Sans Frontières * Cause lawyer *
Corporate lawyer A corporate lawyer or corporate counsel is a type of lawyer who specializes in corporate law. Corporate lawyers working inside and for corporations are called in-house counsel. Roles and responsibilities The role of a corporate lawyer is to e ...
*
Court dress Court dress comprises the style of clothes and other attire prescribed for members of court, courts of law. Depending on the country and jurisdiction's traditions, members of the court (judges, magistrates, and so on) may wear formal robes, go ...
*
Fiduciary A fiduciary is a person who holds a Law, legal or ethical relationship of Trust (social sciences), trust with one or more other Party (law), parties (person or group of persons). Typically, a fiduciary prudently takes care of money or other asset ...
* Ghost lawyer * Law broker * Lawyer-supported mediation *
Legalese Legal writing involves the analysis of fact patterns and presentation of arguments in documents such as legal memoranda and briefs Briefs (or a brief) are a type of short, form-fitting Undergarment, underwear and swimsuit, swimwear, as oppo ...
*
List of jurists The following lists are of prominent jurist A jurist is a person with expert knowledge of law; someone who analyses and comments on law. This person is usually a specialist legal scholar, mostly (but not always) with a formal qualification in ...
* Notary public * Privilege of the predecessors *
Public defender A public defender is a lawyer A lawyer is a person who practices law. The role of a lawyer varies greatly across different legal jurisdictions. A lawyer can be classified as an advocate, attorney, barrister A barrister is a type of law ...
* Rules lawyer * Shyster * Sole practitioner (lawyer) * St. Ivo of Kermartin (patron saint of lawyers) * Trainee solicitor


Notes


External links

{{DEFAULTSORT:Lawyer Legal ethics Legal professions Law enforcement Positions of authority