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A bar association is a professional association of lawyers. Some bar associations are responsible for the regulation of the legal profession in their jurisdiction; others are professional organizations dedicated to serving their members; in many cases, they are both. In many Commonwealth jurisdictions, the bar association comprises lawyers who are qualified as barristers or advocates in particular, versus solicitors (see bar council ). Membership in bar associations may be mandatory or optional for practicing attorneys, depending on jurisdiction.
A professional association seeks to further a particular profession, the interests of individuals engaged in that profession and the public interest. In the United States, such an association is typically a nonprofit organization for tax purposes.
A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney, attorney at law, barrister, barrister-at-law, bar-at-law, civil law notary, counsel, counselor, counsellor, solicitor, legal executive, or public servant preparing, interpreting and applying law, but not as a paralegal or charter executive secretary. Working as a lawyer involves the practical application of abstract legal theories and knowledge to solve specific individualized problems, or to advance the interests of those who hire lawyers to perform legal services.
Jurisdiction is the practical authority granted to a legal body to administer justice within a defined field of responsibility, e.g., Michigan tax law. In federations like the United States, areas of jurisdiction apply to local, state, and federal levels; e.g. the court has jurisdiction to apply federal law.
The use of the term bar to mean "the whole body of lawyers, the legal profession" comes ultimately from English custom. In the early 16th century, a railing divided the hall in the Inns of Court, with students occupying the body of the hall and readers or benchers on the other side. Students who officially became lawyers crossed the symbolic physical barrier and were "admitted to the bar".Later, this was popularly assumed to mean the wooden railing marking off the area around the judge's seat in a courtroom, where prisoners stood for arraignment and where a barrister stood to plead. 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.
In law, the bar is the legal profession as an institution. The term is a metonym for the line that separates the parts of a courtroom reserved for spectators and those reserved for participants in a trial such as lawyers.
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.
The Inns of Court in London are the professional associations for barristers in England and Wales. There are four Inns of Court – Gray's Inn, Lincoln's Inn, Inner Temple and Middle Temple.
In many Commonwealth jurisdictions, including in England and Wales, 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, while in other jurisdictions, the "bar" may refer to the entire community of persons engaged in the practice of law.
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally known as the Commonwealth, and historically the British Commonwealth, is a unique political association of 53 member states, nearly all of them former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the Commonwealth Secretariat, which focuses on intergovernmental aspects, and the Commonwealth Foundation, which focuses on non-governmental relations between member states.
Barristers in England and Wales are one of the two main categories of lawyer in England and Wales, the other being solicitors. Barristers have traditionally had the role of handling cases for representation in court, both defence and prosecution.
An advocate is a professional or non-professional in the field of law. Different countries' legal systems use the term with somewhat differing meanings. The broad equivalent in many English law-based jurisdictions could be a barrister or a solicitor. However, in Scottish, South African, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Scandinavian, Polish, South Asian and South American jurisdictions, "advocate" indicates a lawyer of superior classification.
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. Legal communities are called provincial law societies , except for Nova Scotia, where it is called the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society, and Quebec, where it is called the Barreau du Quebec .
Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States, stretching some 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world's longest bi-national land border. Its capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra. Consequently, its population is highly urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, with 70% of citizens residing within 100 kilometres (62 mi) of the southern border. Canada's climate varies widely across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons.
The call to the bar is a legal term of art in most common law jurisdictions where persons must be qualified to be allowed to argue in court on behalf of another party and are then said to have been "called to the bar" or to have received a "call to the bar". "The bar" is now used as a collective noun for barristers, but literally referred to the wooden barrier in old courtrooms, which separated the often crowded public area at the rear from the space near the judges reserved for those having business with the Court. Barristers would sit or stand immediately behind it, facing the judge, and could use it as a table for their briefs.
A law school is an institution specializing in legal education, usually involved as part of a process for becoming a lawyer within a given jurisdiction.
The Canadian Bar Association (and its provincial and territorial branches) is a professional association of barristers, solicitors and avocats that serves the roles of advocates for the profession, provides continuing legal education and member benefits. It does not play a part in the regulation of the profession, however.
In India under the legal framework set established under the Advocates Act, 1961,a law graduate is required to be enrolled with the Bar Council of India. The process of enrollment is delegated by the Bar Council of India to the state Bar Councils wherein almost each state has a Bar Council of its own. Once enrolled with a State Bar Council, the law graduate is recognized as an Advocate provisionally for a period of two years, within which they must clear the All India Bar Examination (AIBE) conducted by the Bar Council of India. Once the advocate clears the AIBE test, they are entitled to appear and practice before any court of law in India. There is no formal requirement for further membership of any Bar Association. However, Advocates do become members of various local or national bar associations for reasons of recognition and facilities which these associations offer. Some well-known Bar Associations in India include the Supreme Court Bar Association, Delhi High Court Bar Association, Bombay Bar Association, Delhi Bar Association, National Bar Association of India, All India Bar Association, etc.
India, also known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.
The Bar Council of India is a statutory body established under the section 4 of advocates Act 1961 that regulates the legal practice and legal education in India. Its members are elected from amongst the lawyers in India and as such represents the Indian bar. It prescribes standards of professional conduct, etiquettes and exercises disciplinary jurisdiction over the bar. It also sets standards for legal education and grants recognition to Universities whose degree in law will serve as a qualification for students to enroll themselves as advocates upon graduation.
In Pakistan, a person becomes a licensee of a Provincial Bar Council after fulfilling certain requirements. He must have a valid law degree LL.B from a recognized university by the Pakistan Bar council, must offer certain undertakings, and pay the Provincial Bar Council fees. Furthermore, he shall join any bar association as a member. Tehsil bar associations work under the umbrella of District Bar Association, District Bar Association under Provincial Bar councils, such as the Punjab Bar Council and Sindh Bar Council. To become an advocate, one must first complete six months pupillage with a practising advocate of High Court, whom they must assist on at least ten cases during a six-month pupillage.
Pakistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world’s sixth-most populous country with a population exceeding 212,742,631 people. In area, it is the 33rd-largest country, spanning 881,913 square kilometres. Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre (650-mile) coastline along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest, and China in the far northeast. It is separated narrowly from Tajikistan by Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor in the northwest, and also shares a maritime border with Oman.
The Punjab Bar Council is a deliberative assembly of lawyers in Punjab. It is established by Parliament of Pakistan and consists of 75 members elected from different constituencies of Punjab. Its main functions are to promote and suggest law reforms, to safeguard the rights, interests and privileges of practicing lawyers while regulating their conduct, to recognize or derecognize Bar associations and to help in the administration of justice. Punjab Bar Council also sends one of its Member to Judicial Commission of Pakistan, who gives advice and vote for the appointment of Lahore High Court Judges. The council is largest Provincial Bar Council in Pakistan with more than 100,000 advocates as its License holders. All Bar associations of Punjab including Tehsil Bar Associations, District Bar Associations and High Court Bar Associations work under the Jurisdiction of Punjab Bar Council. Currently more than 124 Bar associations are working under Punjab Bar Council. The lawyers recognized by the Council can only represent clients in the all Branches of Lahore High Court, District Courts and Session Courts in Punjab, Pakistan. The Punjab Bar Council is based in Lahore, Pakistan, came into being as a result of the promulgation of the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act, 1973. The Council commenced functioning with effect from 1 January 1974.
The Sindh Bar Council is a statutory regulatory body of lawyers in Sindh for safeguarding the rights, interests, rights and privileges of practicing lawyers, within the province of Sindh, Pakistan. The Council is a deliberative body which regulates the conduct of lawyers and helps in the administration of justice. It has been constituted under Section 3(ii) of the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act, 1973. All advocates practicing in any court or tribunal in Sindh are licensed and regulated by the Council. Advocates licensed and regulated by other provincial bar councils can also practice in Sindh.
In the United States, admission to the bar is permission granted by a particular court system to a lawyer to practice law in that system. This is to be distinguished from membership in a bar association. In the United States, some states require membership in the state bar association for all attorneys, while others do not.
Although bar associations historically existed as unincorporated voluntary associations, nearly all bar associations have since been organized (or reorganized) as corporations. Furthermore, membership in some of them (see the next section below) is no longer voluntary, which is why some of them have omitted the word "association" and merely call themselves the "state bar" to indicate that they are the incorporated body that constitutes the entire admitted legal profession of a state.
Some states require membership in the state's bar association to practice law there. Such an organization is called a mandatory, integrated, or unified bar,and is a type of government-granted monopoly. They exist at present in a slight majority of U.S. states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington State, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands also have unified bars. The mandatory status of the Puerto Rico Bar Association was eliminated in 2009 by an act of the legislature, ratified by recently appointed majority of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court. By act of the Puerto Rico legislature, the mandatory status was reinstated in June, 2014. The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico struck down this act in October, 2014, finding that it unconstitutionally usurped its powers.
In some states, like Wisconsin, the mandatory membership requirement is implemented through an order of the state supreme court, which can be revoked or canceled at any time at the court's discretion. In others, like Oregon, the state legislature passed a law and created a government agency. California went farther than any other state and wrote the State Bar of California into its constitution.
The first state to have an integrated bar association was North Dakota in 1921.
A voluntary bar association is a private organization of lawyers. However, the membership may not be restricted only to registered lawyers. The membership can extend to people interested in goals and purpose of the Association. Each Association chooses its own purposes (e.g., social, educational, and lobbying functions), but does not regulate the practice of law or admit lawyers to practice.
There is a statewide voluntary bar association in every state that has no mandatory or integrated bar association. There are also many voluntary bar associations organized by city, county, or other community. Such associations 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), such as the Hispanic National Bar Association. The American Bar Association is the voluntary bar association with the largest membership. Such associations often advocate for law reform and provide information in bar journals, pro bono services or a lawyer referral service to the general public. In 2017, the California State Legislature split off the education, lobbying, and young lawyers sections of that state's Bar in order to create the voluntary California Lawyers Association.
There is no mandatory federal bar association. The Federal Bar Association is a private, voluntary group.
There are also a number of subject-specific private associations, which are not officially denominated as bar associations but which serve similar functions in terms of providing their members with useful publications, networking opportunities, and continuing legal education. The largest association of defense counsel is the Defense Research Institute (the "Voice of the Defense Bar"), while the largest association of plaintiffs' counsel is the American Association for Justice (formerly Association of Trial Lawyers of America). The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) is an association of progressive attorneys and legal workers, founded as the first national lawyer's association with membership open to all races and religions.
Most American law schools have a student bar association, which is a student organization that fulfills various functions, including sometimes serving as the student government.
Judges may or may not be members of the bar. Etymologically, they sit "on the bench", and the cases which come before them are "at bar" or "at bench". Many states in the United States require that some or all judges be members of the bar; typically these limit or completely prohibit the judges from practicing law while serving as a judge.
The United States Constitution contains no requirement that Federal judges or Supreme Court of the United States justices be members of the bar. However, there are no modern instances of the President nominating or the Congress approving any candidate who is not a member of any bar. There are various professional associations of judges, such as the American Judges Association, that perform some of the educational and other service functions of bar associations.
A solicitor is a legal practitioner who traditionally deals with most of the legal matters in some jurisdictions. A person must have legally-defined qualifications, which vary from one jurisdiction to another, to be described as a solicitor and enabled to practise there as such. For example, in England and Wales a solicitor is admitted to practise under the provisions of the Solicitors Act 1974. With some exceptions, practising solicitors must possess a practising certificate. There are many more solicitors than barristers in England; they undertake the general aspects of giving legal advice and conducting legal proceedings.
A Queen's Counsel, or King's Counsel during the reign of a king, is an eminent lawyer who is appointed by the monarch to be one of "Her Majesty's Counsel learned in the law." The term is recognised as an honorific. The position exists in some Commonwealth jurisdictions around the world, but other Commonwealth countries have either abolished the position, or re-named it to eliminate monarchical connotations, such as "Senior Counsel" or "Senior Advocate". Queen's Counsel is an office, conferred by the Crown, that is recognised by courts. Members have the privilege of sitting within the bar of court.
Admission to the bar in the United States is the granting of permission by a particular court system to a lawyer to practice law in the jurisdiction and before those courts. Each U.S. state and similar jurisdiction has its own court system and sets its own rules for bar admission, which can lead to different admission standards among states. In most cases, a person is "admitted" or "called" to the bar of the highest court in the jurisdiction and is thereby authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction. In addition, Federal Courts of the United States, although often overlapping in admission standards with states, set their own requirements for practice in each of those courts.
The Bachelor of Laws is an undergraduate degree in law originating in England and offered in Japan and most common law jurisdictions—except the United States and Canada—as the degree which allows a person to become a lawyer. It historically served this purpose in the U.S. as well, but was phased out in the mid-1960s in favor of the Juris Doctor degree, and Canada followed suit.
Legal ethics, principles of conduct that members of the legal profession are expected to observe in their practice. They are an outgrowth of the development of the legal profession itself.
A bar examination, or bar exam, is the examination which is administered by a jurisdiction's bar association a lawyer needs to pass before being admitted to the bar of that jurisdiction.
The State Bar of California is California's official attorney licensing agency. It is responsible for managing the admission of lawyers to the practice of law, investigating complaints of professional misconduct, and prescribing appropriate discipline. It is directly responsible to the Supreme Court of California. All attorney admissions and disbarments are issued as recommendations of the State Bar, which are then routinely ratified by the Supreme Court.
An admission to practice law is acquired when a lawyer receives a license to practice law. In jurisdictions with two types of lawyer, as with barristers and solicitors, barristers must gain admission to the bar whereas for solicitors there are distinct practising certificates.
Continuing legal education (CLE), also known as mandatory or minimum continuing legal education (MCLE) or, in some jurisdictions outside the United States, as continuing professional development, consists of professional education for attorneys that takes place after their initial admission to the bar. Within the United States, U.S. attorneys in many states and territories must complete certain required CLE in order to maintain their U.S. licenses to practice law. Outside the United States, lawyers in various jurisdictions, such as British Columbia in Canada, must also complete certain required CLE. However, some jurisdictions, such as the District of Columbia and Israel, recommend, but do not require, that attorneys complete CLE.
The State Bar of Arizona is the integrated (mandatory) bar association of the U.S. state of Arizona. The Arizona Supreme Court licenses lawyers, while the State Bar administers the regulation of the practice of law. The State Bar, under the direction of the Court, establishes procedures for the discipline of lawyer misconduct and provides education and development programs for the legal profession and the public. Through the Rules of The Supreme Court of Arizona, the privilege to practice law in Arizona is granted solely to "active member[s] of the state bar."
The Virginia State Bar (VSB) is the administrative agency of the Supreme Court of Virginia created to regulate, improve and advance the legal profession in Virginia. Membership in good standing in the VSB is mandatory for attorneys wishing to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The Alabama State Bar is the integrated (mandatory) bar association of the U.S. state of Alabama.
The Bar Association of Puerto Rico (BAPR) or Colegio de Abogados de Puerto Rico (CAPR) is the bar association of Puerto Rico. It is the oldest professional association in Puerto Rico, and among the oldest bar associations in the world.
The Indiana State Bar Association (ISBA) is a voluntary bar association for the state of Indiana. Unlike some state bar associations, in which membership is mandatory, ISBA membership is not required of lawyers licensed to practice in Indiana, and ISBA membership is totally voluntary. The ISBA is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. It includes among its members lawyers, judges, paralegals, law librarians, law students, and court administrators. About 85% of the practicing lawyers in the state are members.