§ While it is popular to heap derision upon lawyers as a class they are critical to the defense of freedom. While it is true that the rich get off more often than the poor do this is not a problem with lawyers. This is a problem with the lack of funding for both prosecution and defense.

§ It is so critical to justice that people have access to lawyers that it is enshrined in both the constitutions of the United Kingdom and the United States. If anything is changed about this it should not to eliminate lawyers, but to insure that the poor and stupid are not convicted because of that rather than actual guilt.

§ As to all the guilty people that get off because of lawyers it is a generally accepted principle of law that it is better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent person be wrongly punished. I think it vital to consider this when complaining about the injustice of someone like OJ Simpson getting off. The prosecution made critical mistakes, while the defense did a fantastic job. So we got an unusual outcome. Also remember that most industrialized nations have very strong standards for proof of a crime. So it is not true that this could only happen in America.

§ Like with most things impressions can be misleading in talking about laws and lawyers. It is important that statistics be considered rather than deciding the system is broken from a single incident. (Or worse yet, from fiction.)

§ Interesting factoid: The Shakespeare quote about lawyers is out of context.

Henry VI, Part II:

Cade: There shall be in England seven halfpenny loaves sold for a penny; the three-hooped pot shall have ten hoops; and I will make it a felony to drink small beer. All the realm shall be in common, and in Cheapside shall my palfrey go to pass. And when I am king -- as king I will be -- there shall be no money; all shall eat and drink on my score; and I will apparel them all in one livery, that they may agree like brothers, and worship me their lord.

Dick: The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.

§ The intent of the original speaker of this line (to kill all the lawyers as part of a plan to replace the rule of law with the rule of personal whim) is quite dissimilar to the usual modern use of this line (to express frustration with the complexities and perversities of the legal system).

§ The additional complaints about how much people sue in America is not, in my opinion, a result of lawyers. It is because in America it is much easier to get access to the legal system. Would it be truely better if a person could not sue for redress? If people could get away with harming one another without any consequence?

{Jewish Sects and Orders}

The Lawyer of the New Testament, taking his name (nomikos) from the law (nomos), is by many reckoned almost or quite the same as Scribe. But the word occurs in classical Greek for a person skilled in the practice of law, and our translators seem to have intended a professional man in the modern sense. Nor is there any reason against this. The Mosaic laws would have to be enforced on Jews and Jewish jurisprudence was by no means abolished under the Roman supremacy, but the Jews were allowed, except in capital cases, to administer their own laws among themselves - witness Jesus's trial before Caiaphas; Pilate's words, "Take Him yourselves and judge Him according to your law"; the trial of Stephen; the mission of Saul to Damascus. Professional counsel would therefore be needed, as in modern ecclesiastical law, and more especially under the intricate system fostered by the Pharisees and Scribes. Such we may conclude was the Jewish Lawyer - a professional assistant in court, and not merely a theological doctor or expositor. Of course he might be a Scribe as well, one belonging to that profession, but with special training and duties, just as in olden times in England an ecclesiastical lawyer might be a clergyman. This may explain how the man who asked Jesus about the great commandment of the Law is by one evangelist called a Lawyer (Matthew 22:35), and by another a Scribe (Mark 12:28). The Lawyers, like the Pharisees, fell under Jesus's rebukes for their unprinciples professional conduct, and in one place they are said to have "rejected God's purpose for themselves" (Luke 7:30).

Zenas (Titus 3:13) may have been either a Jewish lawyer in the above sense, or a Greek jurist; probably the latter.

To the theocratic belief which was the life of the Jewish polity, the accession of a foreign, half-heathen dynasty like that of Herod to the throne of David must have been a cruel shock. The scepter had "departed from Judah," and yet, in the popular belief, "Shiloh" had not come! In such circumstances the time-serving and politic would strive to make the best of the reigning family, and themselves gaining the solid advantage, while all truly pious Jews would mourn, and the more heedless or fanatical would wildly rebel. Hence it was one and the same condition of affairs which gave rise at the one extreme to the Herodian sect, and at the other ot the Zealots, the Galileans, and the Sicarii.

Law"yer (?), n. [From Law, like bowyer, fr.bow.]


One versed in the laws, or a practitioner of law; one whose profession is to conduct lawsuits for clients, or to advise as to prosecution or defence of lawsuits, or as to legal rights and obligations in other matters. It is a general term, comprehending attorneys, counselors, solicitors, barristers, sergeants, and advocates.

2. Zool. (a)

The black-necked stilt. See Stilt.


The bowfin (Amia calva).


The burbot (Lota maculosa).


© Webster 1913.

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