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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78054 Find in a Library
Title: Legal Profession in Comparative Perspective (From Social System and Legal Process, P 97-127, 1978, Harry M Johnson, ed. - See NCJ-78053)
Author(s): D Rueschmeyer
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 32
Sponsoring Agency: Jossey-Bass Publishers
San Francisco, CA 94103-1741
Sale Source: Jossey-Bass Publishers
989 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94103-1741
United States of America
Type: Historical Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Factors influencing the development and the character of the legal profession in different cultures are identified and discussed.
Abstract: Socioeconomic development, the relative importance of nonlegal social controls, and the complexity of the legal system are major determinants of the demand for professional legal work in a given culture. The weight of each factor and the role it plays in a particular country, however, cannot be determined without more adequate evidence and analysis of who performs which legal services under different socioeconomic and political conditions. In premodern societies, full-scale agriculture, the development of towns with a substantial division of labor, and the use of writing are the necessary conditions for the emergence of legal specialists. Modern industrial societies are vastly more complex than agrarian societies, and their correspondingly greater problems of integration and the special needs for predictability and flexibility broaden the scope to which contract and bureaucratic organization is used; therefore, the role of law as a means of social control is much larger in modern societies. Because the technically most interesting as well as the most lucrative legal work derives from the problems of a society's upper strata and the complex organizations in a society, lawyers tend to be associated with the dominant interests in a country. A strong legal profession, however, can be relatively autonomous in protecting justice and individual freedom against unreasonable government control and one-sided private power. Influences that nurture such strength are autonomous professional self-regulation and broad access to those in society's lower strata. Fifteen notes and 62 references are listed.
Index Term(s): Attorneys; Socioculture; Sociology
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