A History of Lawyers - Robert J. Debry

A History of Lawyers

The legal profession has been around for hundreds of years, but have you thought about what it must have been like without a fair legal trial? Think about it, there were people that were involved in serious accidents but couldn’t contact a personal accident lawyer or wrongful death lawyer to help them receive fair compensation for their damages, injuries, lost wages and so forth. It’s hard to pinpoint just when the first lawyer came to be, but it’s not hard to see where ancient lawyers practiced their law to pave the way for many of today’s most trusted and skilled attorneys.

In this blog, we thought it would be an interesting idea to take a look back in time to when the first lawyers originated, and how they changed the way that we go about serious issues when it comes to laws.

The Origin of Lawyers: Ancient Greece and Rome

It may come as no surprise that the first lawyers originated in ancient Greece, as this was the birthplace to many of mankind’s greatest achievements. In Athens, a modern personal injury lawyer would be referred to as an “orator.” These orators would plead the case of a friend or loved one, because, at the time, these individuals relied on either themselves or an ordinary citizen to represent them when it came to any legal cases.

During the initial rise of lawyers in Ancient Greece, the orators weren’t allowed to receive compensation for their services, though this law was often violated. The law prohibiting the selling of legal services by orators was never abolished, and this resulted in the inability for legal services to be recognized as a formal profession.

But, in Ancient Rome, Emperor Claudius legalized the monetization of legal services, though, there were still fee limitations implemented. As mind-blowing as we may think it is, those fees made it difficult for anyone to make a living as a legal representative.

The First Bar

With the evolution of the legal profession, more regulations came to be by these ancient governments. These rules were in regard to a variety of things, such as the monetization of legal services, the location at which orators could plead a case, and how these individuals could become licensed. Prior to these regulations, any ordinary citizen could call themselves an orator, but with these new implementations, practicing law became more exclusive; essentially, this profession became an upper-class occupation.

Lawyers in the Middle Ages

The legal profession didn’t flourish in the western world as much as it did in Ancient Greece and Rome. Lawyers who resided in the west found it difficult to make a living practicing law. However, starting in 1190, the state and church doubled their attempts to control and regulate the legal profession, which caused a resurgence in the field. The west was in talks about legalizing the profession and making lawyers take an oath before ever being allowed to practice any sort of law.

Lawyers in the Americas

For a society to need wrongful death, litigation and personal injury lawyers, that society must have a certain level of governance, and during the initial creation of the British colonies in the Americas, lawyers were either non-existent or outlawed. Even when the colonies began to thrive, lawyers weren’t well-trained, and clients were essentially taking a risk when they chose to hire a personal injury lawyer to represent them. For example, there was no training required to become a lawyer in Massachusetts until 1761. After this year, the bar was formed and lawyers had to have seven years of training before they could practice law. The bar also established professional ethics and regulations that all lawyers were required to follow.

As you can see, there was a lot of evolution that occurred within the legal world, and today, lawyers need an undergraduate degree before going to earn their Juris Doctor degree. It’s important for an aspiring legal representative to take a look at the history of ancient lawyer and see how they paved the path to today’s legal professionals.

By |2019-04-13T11:03:02-06:00April 13th, 2019|personal injury law, wrongful death|Comments Off on A History of Lawyers

About the Author: