In this modern world, everything is dynamic, whether it be the technological advancements or the social conditions, all the factors are constantly changing and evolving for good. Therefore, it is impossible that the way people work remains the same. Almost all the professions are diversifying and new profession cropping up, opening up new opportunities for todays youngsters. Among these is one of the oldest professions known to mankind, the legal profession. It is also one of the most important professions for the administration of justice and to maintain a balance between the legislature and the common people. It has been emphasized many times that, “A well-organized system of judicial administration proposes a properly equipped and proficient Bar.” This profession, like all others, has not remained unaffected from the social, economical and political changes across the world. In India, the changes in the Legal Education System has revolutionized the Legal Profession and will have far reaching consequences.
History of the Legal Profession
The mention of ‘orators’, people who would often plead cases on behalf of other people, generally their ‘friends’, has been found in Ancient Rome and Greece.
The Modern Legal Profession is thought to have been emerged in England during the reign of Edward I in the 13th Century. These were divided into two – one who handled the pleadings before the courts, and the others who handled procedural matters. Although amateurs at first, they quickly turned into professionals, pleading on behalf of other people as well. Major changes were brought into this legal system with the introduction of new Royal Courts and judges who were experts, facilitating the professional nature of the Legal Profession. Many statutes and regulations were also enforced, both formal and informal, regarding the pleaders. These then evolved over the years, through various processes and laws, to emerge as the Legal Profession we know now.
India had some kind of Common Law framework even during the Indus Valley Civilization and in the later period of history, each Kingdom or region, ruled by different rulers, had different types of legal professionals with different provisions for each dynasty. The Modern Legal Profession came into existence in the British Period with the establishment of the British Court in Bombay in 1672. This was set up by Governor Aungier. Then the Mayor’s Courts were established in 1726 in the presidency towns, namely, Calcutta, Madras and Bombay, and were Crown Courts. They were also courts of appeal. In the years that followed, judges brought in many principles, like the right of an attorney to protect his client’s rights, and the right of a court to dismiss an attorney for misconduct.
Further, Supreme Courts were established in the presidency towns, with the weakening of the Mayor’s Courts. First in Calcutta in 1774, then in Madras and Bombay in 1801 and 1823 respectively. This led to the emergence of a new class of Legal Professionals, the Barristers, who increasingly began to work as advocates in courts, and therefore the attorneys started to work as solicitors, as in countries like England. To further differentiate between such classes and to regulate the Legal Profession, the Indian Bar Committee, also known as the Chamier Committee came into existence in 1923. Thus, to effectively legalize the recommendations of this committee, the Indian Bar Councils Act, 1926 was enacted to set up the Bar Councils which had various powers such as recommending the laws regarding lawyers, unification of different grades of practitioners and regulatory powers.
After the Independence, to further resolve the problems put forth by the practitioners, the All India Bar Committeewas set up in 1951 under the chairmanship of Justice S.R. Das of the Supreme Court of India, which provided many recommendations such as setting up a unified Bar for the whole country, continuation of different classes of legal practitioners and revision of laws related to the profession. Hence, The Advocates Act, 1961 was enacted by the Indian Parliament which repealed the existing legislations and tried to implement the recommendations of the committee. This Act has since governed the Legal Profession in India and has undergone several amendments as well.
The Legal Profession, which has evolved into a more professional and advanced field, has played an important role in this country and around the world, as an advisor, an upholder of the rights of common people and as a professional.
First of all, the Legal Profession is important because it helps in solving disputes between various entities, whether it be a feud between two individuals, between the governments, between the government and common people, or anyone for that matter. They advise their clients on the right path and legal remedy to take, and at the same time help in achieving that remedy in the courts of law. Of course, they charge their clients for this, but monetary benefit is necessary for sustanence and survival of any profession. Secondly, the lawyers help the common people in upholding their basic rights. They do this with the help of public interest litigations, through pro bono litigation and other forms of litigation. They help in preserving the Grundnorm, the basic or fundamental part, of law, that is the Constitution. They also help in maintaining a balance between the legislature, executive and judiciary. Thus, the Legal Profession is fundamentally important for the Administration of Justice in the country through various means.
Among all the professions of the world, the Legal Profession is called the Noble Profession. This is because it often acts for noble causes for the common people and very basic foundation of this profession is noble. The Law is an instrument which, through its rules and regulations, maintain order and peace in the society and without it the society would plunder into chaos. The Legal Practitioners act as the keepers and protectors of this very law. Hence, they play a very important role in the society and with the changes being brought into the legal system of the country, their role is set to become more important than ever before.
Edited by Shikhar Shrivastava
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje
 The Bar Council of India, History of the Legal Profession, http://www.barcouncilofindia.org/about/about-the-legal-profession/history-of-the-legal-profession/(last visited Jan. 21, 2020, 9:56 PM (IST)).
 Legal Bites, Legal Profession – Introduction, History, Regulation, https://www.legalbites.in/legal-profession-introduction-history-regulation/(last visited Jan. 23, 2020, 3:16 PM (IST)).
 Legal Services India, Legal Profession in India, http://www.legalservicesindia.com/article/2192/Legal-Profession-in-India.html(last visited Jan. 23, 2020, 4:45 PM (IST)).