SHORT HISTORY OF LAWYERS: HOW LAWYER BECOME LEGAL PROFESIONJuli 6, 2018
In many sites dating from 250,000 to 1,000,000 years ago, legal tools have been uncovered. Unfortunately, the tools are often in fragments, making it difficult to gain much knowledge.
The first complete site discovered has been dated to 150,000 years ago. Stone pictograph briefs were found concerning a land boundary dispute between a tribe of Neanderthals and a tribe of Cro-Magnons. This decision in favor of the Cro-Magnon tribe led to a successive set of cases, spelling the end for the Neanderthal tribe.
Until 10,000 years ago, lawyers wandered around in small tribes, seeking out clients. Finally, small settlements of lawyers began to spring up in the Ur Valley, the birthplace of modern civilization. With settlement came the invention of writing.
Previously lawyers had relied on oral bills for collection of payment, which made collection difficult and meant that if a client died before payment the bill would remain uncollected. With written bills, lawyers could continue collection indefinitely.
In the late 1880s, legal anthropologists cracked the legal hieroglyphic language when they were able to determine the meaning of the now famous Rosetta Stone Contract.
The famous first paragraph can be recited verbatim by almost every lawyer: In consideration of 20,000 Assyrians workers, 3,512 live goats and 400,000 hectares of dates, the undersigned hereby conveys all of the undersigneds right, title, and interest in and to the property commonly known as the Sphinx, more particularly described on Stone A attached hereto and made a part hereof.
A major breakthrough for lawyers occurred in the 17th century. Blackstone the Magician, on a trip through Rome, unearthed several dozen ancient Roman legal texts. The new knowledge spread through the legal community like the black plague. Up to that point, lawyers had used the local language of the community for their work. Since many smart non-lawyers could thus determine what work, if any, the lawyer had done, lawyers often lost clients, and sometimes their head.
Using Blackstones finds, lawyers could use Latin to hide what they did so that only other lawyers understood what was happening in any lawsuit. Blackstone was a hero to all lawyers, of course, until he was sued for copyright infringement by another lawyer. (FN8)
Despite his loss, Blackstone is still fondly remembered by most lawyers as the father of legal Latin. Res ipsa loquitur was Blackstones favorite saying (my bill speaks for itself) and it is still heard today.
Many lawyers made history during the Middle Ages. Genghis Kahn, Esq., from a family of Jewish lawyers and senior partner in the firm Hun & Kahn, pioneered the practice of merging with law offices around Asia Minor at any cost. At one time, the firm was the largest in Asia and Europe. Unfortunately, their success became their downfall. Originally a large personal injury firm (if you didnt pay their bill, they personally injured you), they became conservative over time and were eventually overwhelmed by lawyers from the west.
Vlad Dracul, Esq., a medical malpractice specialist, was renowned for his knowledge of anatomy, and few jurors would side against him for fear of his special bill (his bill was placed atop 20foot wooden spears on which the non-paying client was placed). His legendary legal practice became the basis for many 20th Century legal horror films staring such legendary actors as Borris Karloff and Christopher Lee. (FN9)
Leonardo da Vinci, Esq. was multi-talented. Besides having a busy law practice, he was also an artist and inventor. His most famous case was in defense of himself. M. Lisa vs. da Vinci (Italian Superior Court 1513) involved a product liability suit over a painting Da Vinci delivered to the Plaintiff.
The court, in ruling that the painting was not defective despite the missing eyebrows, issued the famous line, This court may not know art, but it knows what it likes and it likes the painting. This was not surprising, since the plaintiff was known for her huge, caterpillar-like eyebrows. Da Vinci was able to convince the court that he was not only entitled to damages, but to attorneys fees, costs and punitive damages as well. The court, taking one last look at the plaintiff, granted the request.