Ever since Socrates received the death penalty in Greece, 400 years before the Common Era, and probably long before that, people have been complaining and depending on lawyers.
In fact, Socrates himself held the law in such high esteem that when given the opportunity to go into exile instead of executing the sentence (which was suicide), he went ahead and carried out the sentence instead of disgracing the law by means of of the law. avoiding it.
Actually, the law itself is not as simple a practical discipline as people tend to think. It is more in the nature of a philosophy, dealing with the more abstract concepts such as justice, right and wrong, fairness, guilt and innocence, human rights, and the responsibility of citizens to each other. It is the way in which these principles are practically applied to individual situations that leads the study and practice of law from the abstract to the concrete.
These are just a few of the areas of expertise in the legal profession today:
Loans and mortgages
Criminal defense or prosecution
Domain name registration
Wrongful death lawsuits
Asbestos or mesothelioma claims
This partial list demonstrates how deeply all aspects of our society are affected by the legal system and lawyers, also called attorneys, are the backbone of the system in both advocating for clients and advising them. The job of lawyers is not to write laws, but to apply them to particular circumstances.
The profession developed slowly, and by the middle of the 16th century, two different types of lawyers had appeared in England, actually creating two branches of the profession, which still function today: solicitors and solicitors. An attorney is roughly equivalent to a trial attorney and, although an attorney may appear in lower court, he primarily advises clients and prepares cases for attorneys to present in higher courts. But there was a natural conflict built into their class system. For one thing, only people from the upper classes could afford to receive a good enough education to practice law, but members of those classes were thought to be below the level of practicing a profession. One should, in those days, have enough inherited income or property income to have a secure livelihood without having a profession.
In the American colonies there was no such prejudice. It was considered desirable for children to grow up with the idea of earning an income other than that provided by the land and the law, with its need for higher education, was a more respectable profession than many. Americans expected to have rights, that those rights would be protected by law, and that those protections would be upheld by local courts. While they often went to England to educate themselves in law, they did not intend for the English courts to administer American justice. In fact, it was the principles of English law and the fact that the law was not fairly administered in the American colonies that led to the desire for independence from the crown. Almost a quarter of the signers of the Declaration of Independence had studied law in England.
Most attorneys have a specialization based on their own particular skills and preferences. Trial attorneys, although they must prepare very carefully beforehand, should feel comfortable “thinking on their feet” and speaking extemporaneously in public. Trial work, which can be performed by any attorney, is especially suitable for people with those skills and with a taste for playing what amounts to a game of strategy, sometimes with property, freedom, or even the lives of the customers at stake.
Even within legal specialties there is flexibility. For example, an attorney who has a reputation for being especially well versed in environmental law may take cases on the side of corporations accused of polluting or a group of citizens attempting to sue such corporations for damages.
Mesothelioma, for example, is a lung disease generally caused by exposure to asbestos, which may have occurred in an occupational situation. When asbestos was first used, this hazard was unknown. Furthermore, an additional complication is caused by the fact that it can take up to twenty to thirty years after exposure for the disease to appear in a person. Thus, a whole subspecialty in law has emerged around cases in which people with this disease are suing companies for medical care payments or compensation for pain and suffering. Questions about whether a company was aware of the danger when it hired people for these jobs and whether people were aware of the risks they were taking are factors in litigation.
Some attorneys specialize in car accidents, on behalf of injured people, on behalf of people accused of causing accidents, or on behalf of insurance companies. Some specialize in medical malpractice, either on behalf of patients or doctors.
Those who specialize in courtroom criminal law, whether as prosecutors or defense attorneys, are sometimes considered the “stars” of the legal system, as they are often the most visible in terms of media coverage.
Whatever their specialty, if they plan to have one, all attorneys must go through many years of education and training before becoming licensed. In most states, this means that after obtaining a college degree, a person must graduate from a law school, which has been accredited by the American Bar Association. They must then take and pass a bar exam. In some states it is possible to take the bar exam after some kind of apprenticeship at a law firm. This method was the one that was used universally before accredited law schools appeared.
Due to the fact that lawyers are sometimes asked to defend unpopular clients, they have sometimes been the subject of jokes at their expense. But since it is nearly impossible for a person to find their way through any legal mess on their own, there is no question that the legal profession will play a prominent role in our society for the foreseeable future.