Did you know that, at one time, it was illegal to be a lawyer?

It's debatable where the profession started but most sources claim that it originated in Ancient Greece and then became a profession in the Roman Republic. There were two types of lawyers. Those who were "jurisconsults" were wealthy men who studied law and could offer advice regarding interpretation or certain courses to take. 

The other men were called "advocates," untrained men who developed the talent of public speaking. Technically illegal, these men received little training and used more of their oratory skills to persuade the legal officials. Because this illegal profession began to flourish, the Roman Empire decided to legalize the profession by imposing strict laws and requirements that had to be met by the individuals.

Would you like some law with your religion?

The onslaught of the Dark Ages saw the rising control of the Catholic Church. It naturally follows that the next "real" lawyers were priests, who studied law with the intent of furthering the cause of Christianity. After the year 1190 B.C.E., there is evidence that suggests that men outside of the church were beginning to practice law as a profession. The church still maintained an influence, however. This is probably where the "sworn testimony" oath originated and councils began to require that lawyers take an oath of office before they began practicing law.

Mr. President, what was your occupation before taking office?

Even if you're not all that into world history, you must admit that America has her own history of distinguished lawyers. Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams are several of the more prominent names from history. In fact, over 22 of the previous presidents of the United States were lawyers. Even if their ideas don't resonate with you, it's pretty safe to say that they have influenced politics and the law.

So what?

All this goes to show several things about the present situation of professionals who practice law.

  • Unlike those in the Roman Republic, today lawyers are legal. This allows them to be trained and become proficient in both the law and public speaking. We can trust them to handle our cases wisely.
  • Unlike those in the Dark Ages, lawyers today are not solely focused on religious law. This means that we can have confidence that they will support us whatever our core beliefs.
  • When tempted to treat them with disrespect, we should remember that they have studied hard to become effective in their profession. The law profession can be a dignified one, as shown by their honorable predecessors.

Keep these facts in mind for the next time you meet with a legal professional. It will help you to better understand the occupation.  

For more on lawyers, check out the Law Offices of Lynn Norton-Ramirez PLLC.