Bar association

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A bar association is a professional body of lawyers who, in some jurisdictions, are responsible for the regulation of the legal profession. In many Commonwealth jurisdictions, the "bar association" comprises lawyers who are qualified as barristers or advocates (collectively known as "the bar", or "members of the bar"), while the "law society" comprises solicitors. These bodies are sometimes mutually exclusive. In other jurisdictions, the "bar" may refer to the entire community of persons engaged in the practice of law.


[edit] United States

Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions.
-Benjamin N. Cardozo, In re Rouss, 221 N.Y. 81, 84 (1917)

In the United States, some states require bar association membership for all attorneys, while others do not.

[edit] Mandatory or integrated bars

Some state bar associations are operated by their respective state governments which make membership in their state's bar association a requirement to practice before that state's courts; such states are said to have a "mandatory" or "integrated bar." Membership in such associations is synonymous with being admitted to the bar or being licensed to practice law in that state or being admitted to practice before the courts of that state. The first U.S. state to integrate its bar was North Dakota in 1921.<ref>Lawrence M. Friedman, American Law in the Twentieth Century (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002), 41.</ref>. Today, the largest mandatory bar association is the State Bar of California. See also State Bar of Texas.

[edit] Voluntary bars

In some places membership in a bar association is voluntary and in addition to any licensing that may be required by the state or the court system. Such associations often advocate for law reform, they may discipline the profession and they may provide information, referral or pro bono services to the general public.

In both types of jurisdictions, in addition to the organizations mentioned above, there are a variety of voluntary national, state, and local bar associations which lawyers may join; such associations, especially at the local level, are often focused on common professional interests (such as bankruptcy lawyers or in-house counsel) or common ethnic interests (such as gender, race, religion, or national heritage).

The largest voluntary bar association in the United States is the American Bar Association, whose membership includes approximately half of all American lawyers. The ABA has successfully fought off all proposals to federalize lawyer regulation which would involve making all American lawyers part of a mandatory federal bar association.

Most American law schools have a Student Bar Association that fulfills various functions including serving as the student government.

[edit] Commonwealth

See Bar council

In Canada one is called to the bar after undertaking a post law school training in a provincial law society program and undergoing an apprenticeship or taking articles as it is called. Legal communities are called provincial law societies, except for Nova Scotia where they are called the "Nova Scotia Barristers' Society" and Quebec where they are called the Barreau du Quebec.

In Pakistan one becomes a member of the bar after fullfiling certain requirements. They must have a valid law degree from a recognized university, and they offer certain undertakings and pay the Bar Association fees. If a person does not hold an LL.M Degree then they must first complete six months pupillage with a practising Advocate, whom they must have assisted on at least ten cases during their six month pupillage period.

[edit] History

Judges may or may not be members of the bar (see below). Rather, they sit "on the bench", and the cases which come before them are "at bar" or "at bench". These terms evolved from the English Inns of Court, where a bar separated the seats of the benchers or readers from the body of the hall, which was occupied by students. When one officially becomes a lawyer, he or she crosses this symbolic physical barrier and is "admitted to the bar". In modern courtrooms, a railing may still be in place to enclose the space which is occupied by legal counsel as well as the criminal defendants and civil litigants who have business pending before the court. Many states in the United States require that some or all judges be members of the bar, but limit or completely prohibit the judges from practicing law while serving as a judge.

The U.S. Constitution contains no express requirement that Federal district court or appeals court judges and Supreme Court justices be members of the bar. As a practical political matter, however, bar membership is a requirement for such positions.

[edit] References

<references />

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] State Bar Associations

[edit] International Bar Associations


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