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 land dispute case in the late 15th century is still studied today for the clever work of lawyer named Christopher Columbus, Esq. He successfully convinced an Aztec court, in Columbus vs. 1,000,000 Acres, 3 SA3d 1095 (Aztec High Court 1493) that since the Indians did not believe in possession, they could not legally claim the land in question. Therefore, his claim had to be given priority. Despite the fact that the entire court was sacrificed to the gods, the case held and Spain took an early legal lead in the New World. This was due to Columbus recording the courts judgment in the Aztec Public Records. Once recorded, the judgment took priority over every other claim.
As the New World was colonized, England eventually surpassed Spain as the leading colonizer. England began sending all of its criminals and thieves to the New World. This mass dumping of lawyers to the states would come back to haunt England; eventually the grandchildren of these pioneer lawyers would successfully defeat King George III in the now famous King George III v. 100 Bags of Tea 14 F. Supp 34 (Colonial Supreme Court 1783). England by this time was now dreadfully short of lawyers.
Robert J. Bonner, Lawyers and Litigants in Ancient Athens: The Genesis of the Legal Profession (New York: Benjamin Blom, 1927), 202.
James A. Brundage, “The Rise of the Professional Jurist in the Thirteenth Century,” 20 Syracuse J. Int’l L. & Com. 185(1994).
A. H. M. Jones, The Later Roman Empire, 284–602: A Social, Economic, and Administrative Survey, vol. 1 (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1964