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Tuesday, 22 December 2015


The earliest people who could be described as "lawyers" were probably the orators of ancient Athens. However Athenian law forbade them from taking a fee to plead the cause of another. This meant the advocate had to uphold the legal fiction that they were merely an ordinary citizen generously helping out a friend for free, and thus they could never organize into a real profession.

Early Roman advocates were trained in rhetoric, not law, but in time Rome developed a class of specialists who were learned in the law, known as jurisconsults. These specialist legal orators were wealthy amateurs who dabbled in law as an intellectual hobby; they did not make their primary living from it.

Shakespeare still upsets legal eagles with his ''The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers'' line. It was stated by Dick the Butcher,  a follower of the rebel Jack Cade, who thought that if he disturbed law and order, he could become king in 'Henry VI' Part II. Shakespeare gift shops report that items bearing the slogan tend to sell well

The early colonists brought with them the long-standing English sentiment against lawyers and tried to do without them. Massachusetts (1641), Virginia (1658), and the Carolinas (1669) all enacted statutes that prohibited pleading in court for hire.

On the death of King Charles II in 1685, the English Bar entered a period of mourning and.started to wear black mourning robes, complete with pleated shoulders and tapered elbows. Although the Bar has stopped formally stopped mourning the death of the monarch, barristers in the UK still dress in all black in court.

The first African-American man to become a lawyer was John Mercer Langston, who passed the bar exam in 1854.

Myra Bradwell's love of the law had begun when she married her husband James Bradwell in 1852, who was also a law student. She started her formal law training when her husband was accepted to the Illinois Bar. There she apprenticed as a lawyer in her husband's office, and assisted him with research and legal writings. On August 2, 1869, Bradwell passed the Illinois law exam becoming the first female lawyer in US. The following month she applied for the submission to the bar, but was prevented, due to her gender, from being admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1890, and the United States Supreme Court two years later,

Despite an Iowa state law restricting the bar exam to males, Arabella Mansfield took it in 1869 and earned high scores. Shortly afterwards, Mansfield challenged the state law excluding her and the Court ruled that women may not be denied the right to practice law in Iowa, admitting Mansfield to the bar. Mansfield was sworn in at the Union Block building in Mount Pleasant that year becoming America's first woman lawyer allowed to practice.

In 1870, Ada H. Kepley, of Illinois, graduated from the Union College of Law in Chicago. In doing so, she became the first woman lawyer to graduate from a law school.

American President Rutherford B. Hayes signed a bill allowing female attorneys to argue cases before the Supreme Court of the United States in 1879. That same year Belva Ann Lockwood was the first American woman lawyer to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Lincoln's Inn in London admitted its first female bar student in 1919. Helena Normanton was the first women to be admitted as a student, on Christmas Eve 1919 at the Middle Temple,

When actor Raymond Massey divorced his wife Adrianne Allen in 1939,  they used, respectively, husband and wife divorce lawyers Dorothy Whitney and William Dwight Whitney. Raymond then married his lawyer Dorothy and Adrianne married her lawyer William.

The Guyana-born lawyer Sir Lionel Luckhoo, achieved 245 consecutive murder charge acquittals between 1940 and 1985.

The shark in Jaws was named Bruce after Bruce Ramer, a lawyer who was representing Stephen Spielberg during the making of the movie.

Matthew McConaughey gave up on going to law school in 1993 to go into acting. His breakout movie role came three years later, as a lawyer.

On October 28, 1998, Shon Robert Hopwood (born June 11, 1975) pleaded guilty to robbing several banks in Nebraska. During his 11 years in federal prison, Hopwood spent time in the law library and became well-known as a jailhouse lawyer. He had become an accomplished United States Supreme Court practitioner by the time he left in 2008.

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