Ccouple of years ago, at the annual meeting of the American Corporate Counsels Association held in Washington, there was a large board with the question:
‘What do these men have in common?’
And the names of the men mentioned-
‘Mahatama Gandhi, Sir Thomas Moore and Abraham Linclon’.
The answer was provided in another board- it was all three were lawyers and all the three added value to their clients, the colleagues and their communities, and finally their country.
The phrase ‘adding value’ is best defined with reference to the vision of a great lawyer John Davis, who way back in 1946, addressed the Association of the Bar of the City of New York with these memorable words:
“True, we build no bridges. We raise no towers.
We construct no pictures…… There is little of all that we do
Which the eye of men can see.
But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes;
we take up other men’s burdens and by our efforts we make possible the
peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”
Lawyers, advocates, judges are the engineers of the society. They are the ones who frame the very base of the democracy and act as strong pillars which support law and order. Lawyers play a very important role in rebuilding the very institutions which are essential for an effective system of the administration of justice. If one goes by the words of Byrce: “There is no better test of the excellence of a Government than the efficiency of its judicial system for nothing more greatly touches the welfare and security of the citizen, than his knowledge that he can rely on the certain, prompt and impartial administration of justice.”
In no other occupation to which men can devote their lives, is there a nobler intellectual pursuit or a higher moral standard than inspires and pervades the ranks of the legislation profession. To establish justice, to maintain the rights of men, to defend the helpless and oppressed, to succour innocence and to punish the guilt, to aid in the solution of those great questions, legal and constitutional, which are constantly being evolved from the ever varying affairs and business of men- are duties that may well challenge the best powers of man’s intellect and the noblest qualities of the human heart. “you will” said Choate, “look in vain elsewhere for more spotless honour, more absolute devotion, more patient industry, more conscientious fidelity than among the honest members of the legal profession.”
Law presupposes a community. The community to exist and last, must have certain values and certain general agreed rules of behaviour. From this a legal order comes upon which in course of its development brings out methods by the help whereof law is created, declared and enforced.
Paton: A text book of jurisprudence, edn.3, p.89., quoting Levy Ullmanns.
However, one thing must be noted and that is, that law is never an ideal justice, but human justice defined by those who control the machine. Legal History describes what ends the law has served; but it is the mission of philosophy to lay down what ends it should serve.
Click to read complete article.