Why are lawyers important in our society?

Published: 05th February 2010
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Lawyer is the generic term that is used to describe anyone that has training in the law. Solicitors, legal counsel and barristers are all lawyers
in that they have specialist knowledge of the law in their particular area of expertise and within the jurisdiction of their region.

As a central supporting component of the law is that everyone should have equal access to justice, lawyers have become those people in society that can help the general population ensure they have fair access to the justice they are seeking.

Because the civil laws in particular have developed over hundreds of years, they have become highly complex. Coupled with an equally complex legal system supported by the courts, lawyers have in many ways become vitally important, as they provide, in many cases, the only viable access to the legal system that members of society can obtain. Lawyers can also be vital as they are able to legally represent their clients and deal with a wide range of cases when a layperson could not, or cannot represent themselves.

As the laws in any given country have expanded and diversified, so have the skills of lawyers. Often, lawyers will specialise in just one area of the law. This focused expertise enables these lawyers to provide an even more detailed service to their clients. Often, people will need highly specialised help with a legal matter, be it family law, employment or defamation, and specialist lawyers can help, support and advise on the area of law they have expertise within.

Lawyers can be a vital link in criminal cases, as members of the public do not normally have direct access to the services of a barrister who is the only legal representative that can be used in a criminal case. Lawyers in criminal cases can act as an advocate to ensure that qualified legal representation is available to anyone.

Whether access to civil or criminal law is needed, lawyers can offer initial advice to the legal representation of their clients. In a society which is governed by the rule of law, lawyers are a society's gateway to the justice their population is entitled to.

Ben Letham is content editor at Contact Law, helping ordinary members of the public to find the right solicitor. Contact Law is the UK's leading legal brokerage company. He also recently qualified as a secondary teacher of history, and used to work at the Ski Club of Great Britain as deputy editor of Ski+board magazine.

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