What is a Lawyer?
A lawyer is a person learned in the law. He could work as an
or as a person licensed to practice law.
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 pay them to perform legal services.
The education of a lawyer varies greatly from country to
country. In some countries, law is taught by a faculty
of law, which is a department of a university's general
undergraduate college. Law students in those countries
pursue a Master or
of Laws degree.
In some other countries, it is common or even required for
students to earn another bachelor's degree at the same time.
Nor is the LL.B the sole obstacle. It is often followed by a
series of advanced examinations, apprenticeships, and
additional coursework at special government institutes.
In the United States, law is primarily taught at
schools. In the United States and countries following
the American model, law schools are graduate/professional
schools where a bachelor's degree is a prerequisite for
The methods and quality of legal education vary widely. Some
countries require extensive clinical training in the form of
apprenticeships or special clinical courses. Others do not. A
few countries prefer to teach through assigned readings of
judicial opinions (the casebook
method) followed by intense in-class cross-examination
by the professor (the Socratic
Some countries, particularly industrialized ones, have a
traditional preference for full-time law programs. In
developing countries, students often work full- or part-time to
pay the tuition and fees of their part-time law programs.
The role of the lawyer varies significantly across legal
jurisdictions. In most countries, particularly civil
law countries, there has been a tradition of giving many
legal tasks to a variety of civil
law notaries, clerks, and scriveners.
These countries do not have "lawyers" in the American sense,
insofar as that term refers to a single type of general-purpose
legal services provider. Rather, their legal professions
consist of a large number of different kinds of law-trained
persons, known as jurists, of
which only some are advocates who are licensed to practice
in the courts.
It is difficult to formulate accurate generalizations that
cover all the countries with multiple legal professions,
because each country has traditionally had its own peculiar
method of dividing up legal work among all its different types
of legal professionals.
mother of the common
law jurisdictions, emerged from the Dark Ages
with similar complexity in its legal professions. But by the
19th century, it had evolved into a single dichotomy between
Because of the increasing workload, foreign lawyers are
allowed to work in Singapore. In fact, there is a growing
contingent of foreign lawyers who are setting up shop in
Singapore. According to the Attorney- General's Chambers (AGC),
their numbers have nearly doubled to 900 in the last five
They are drawn to the rising demand for legal services, such
as advice on mergers, help with business expansions and the
arbitration of cross-border trade disputes.
However, foreign lawyers are not allowed to appear in court
yet. They also cannot practise Singapore law except in the area
of arbitration, which is an out-of-court arrangement. But this
could soon change. Recently, the Law Ministry announced that up
to five foreign firms would soon be allowed to practise in
areas such as banking, corporate finance and maritime law.