the Bar

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bar, the,

originally, the rail that enclosed the judge in a court; hence, a court or a system of courts. The persons qualified and authorized to conduct the trial of cases are also known collectively as "the bar." From late medieval times in England the Inns of CourtInns of Court,
collective name of the four legal societies in London that have the exclusive right of admission to the bar. These societies—Lincoln's Inn, Gray's Inn, the Inner Temple, and the Middle Temple (see also Temple, the)—date from before the 14th cent.
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 acted as training schools for men who were to plead causes in the courts, and when a student was judged to be trained in competence, he was "called to the bar" of the Inn; automatically he was then judged competent to plead at the bar of the courts. Modern bar associations, through which the legal profession regulates itself, derive from the Inns of Court. Attorneysattorney,
agent put in place of another to manage particular affairs of the principal. An attorney in fact is an agent who conducts business under authority that is controlled and limited by a written document called a letter, or power, of attorney granted by the principal.
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 must be admitted to the bar before they can practice law in the United States. The requirements for admission vary among the states, but generally an applicant must be of good moral character, have completed a stated course of study at a law school, and have passed a bar examination. The last two requirements were once satisfied by clerking and "reading law" with a practicing attorney. A lawyer can be prohibited from practicing law (disbarred) for conduct impeding justice, criminal acts involving moral turpitude, or unethical professional conduct. The first state to allow women admission to the bar was Iowa (1869), and Great Britain admitted women to law practice in 1919. There are 180 American Bar Association–approved law schools in the United States, the oldest being Harvard Law School, founded in 1817.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Bar, The


an organized body of advocates. In the USSR the advocates’ organization, or advokatura, is a voluntary public organization. It is constituted on elective principles in all of its governing bodies. The advokatura is regulated by statutes which are established under the jurisdiction of the Union republics. The statute on the advokatura now in effect in the RSFSR was adopted July 25, 1962 (Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta RSFSR, 1962, no. 29, art. 450). In the republics, oblasts, and krais, as well as in Moscow and Leningrad, colleges of advocates have been established; in raions and municipalities there are legal consultation offices uniting all the advocates who work in a given area. A member of a particular republic, oblast, or other college of advocates may perform his duties in any juridical body of the USSR. The highest body of the college of advocates is the general assembly of members, or conference, which determines the numerical strength of the college and elects the presidium. The presidium organizes the legal consultation offices, directs their work, appoints the managers of these offices, assigns advocates among the consultation offices, admits and expels members from the college, disposes of the college’s resources, checks on the work of the advocates, and so forth. Government direction over the activity of the advokatura can be carried out by the council of ministers of a Union republic, by a juridical commission under the council of ministers (since 1969, by the ministries of justice of the union republic), by the executive committe of an oblast or krai soviet, or by the council of ministers of an ASSR. Through its work the Soviet advokatura contributes to the protection of the rights and legal interests of citizens, enterprises, institutions, and organizations and helps to strengthen socialist legality and to ensure justice.

In the socialist countries of Europe the bar is a self-governing public organization functioning under the direction of the minister of justice. In Hungary and Czechoslovakia there are organizations which include all advocates on a national level: the All-Hungarian Council of Jurists and the Central Collegium of the Czechoslovakian Bar; there are also colleges of advocates at the local level.

A professional bar was established in prerevolutionary Russia by the Judicial Reforms of 1864. Councils of sworn attorneys admitted to the bar were attached to the appellate courts whose jurisdiction covered several provinces. Each took clients on an individual basis and established his fee by agreement with the client in return for handling the case without any control on the part of the council of sworn attorneys. After 1874 councils of attorneys were discontinued and their functions were transferred to okruzhnye sudy (district courts); the lawyers’ association therefore fell into greater dependence upon the court.

In 1874 another category was created in addition to the sworn attorney. This was the private attorney, who could read only in those courts in which he was registered. He had to pass a special examination at the appropriate circuit court in order to appear there.

In bourgeois states there is no one principle by which bar associations are organized. Lawyers are not government employees and therefore can maintain private offices and bureaus. They join professional associations only to defend their own private interests. Thus in France, for example, a lawyers’ association exists to protect the social and professional rights of its members. Attorneys of various categories have their own associations. In the United States attorneys belong to voluntary associations in each state; the federation of state associations constitutes the American Bar Association. In England all the attorneys in the higher—barrister— category belong to one of four lawyers’ corporations, the so-called Inns of Court. Solicitors have their own separate corporate associations.

As a term, the bar is also used to refer to the profession of law in general.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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