Law is a rule of conduct or procedure established by custom, agreement, or authority. It is the body of rules and principles governing the affairs of a community and enforced by a political authority; a legal system, international law. The legal system affects nearly every aspect of our society, from buying a home to crossing the street. Lawyers form the backbone of this system, linking it to society in numerous ways. They hold positions of great responsibility and are obligated to adhere to a strict code of ethics. Lawyers, also called attorneys, act as both advocates and advisors. As advocates, they represent one of the parties in criminal and civil trials by presenting evidence and arguing in court to support their client. As advisors, lawyers counsel their clients about their legal rights and obligations and suggest particular courses of action in business and personal matters. Whether acting as an advocate or an advisor, all attorneys research the intent of laws and judicial decisions and apply the law to the specific circumstances faced by their clients.
It consists of a number of separate disciplines. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus ticket to trading swaptions on a derivatives market. Property law defines rights and obligations related to transfer and title of personal and real property. Trust law applies to assets held for investment and financial security, such as pension funds. Tort law allows claims for compensation when someone or their property is injured or harmed. If the harm is criminalized in a penal code, criminal law offers means by which the state prosecutes and punishes the perpetrator. Constitutional law provides a framework for creating laws, protecting people's human rights, and electing political representatives. Administrative law relates to the activities of administrative agencies of government. International law regulates affairs between sovereign nation-states in everything from trade to the environment to military action.
The central institutions for interpreting and creating law are the three main branches of government, namely an impartial judiciary, a democratic legislature and an accountable executive. To implement and enforce the law and provide services to the public, a government's bureaucracy, the military and police are vital. While all these organs of the state are creatures created and bound by law, an independent legal profession and a vibrant civil society inform and support their progress.
Competition for job opening continues to be keen because of the large number of students graduating from law school each year. The more detailed aspects of a lawyer's job depend upon his or her field of specialization and position.
• Although all lawyers are licensed to represent parties in court, some appear in court more frequently than others. Trial lawyers, who specialize in trial work, must be able to think quickly and speak with ease and authority.
• Lawyers may specialize in a number of areas, such as bankruptcy, probate, international, elder, or environmental law.
• Some lawyers specialize in the growing field of intellectual property, helping to protect clients' claims to copyrights, artwork under contract, product designs, and computer programs.
• Advise insurance companies about the legality of insurance transactions.
• Most lawyers are in private practice, concentrating on criminal or civil law.
• Lawyers are sometimes employed full time by a single client. If the client is a corporation, the lawyer is known as "house counsel" and usually advises the company concerning legal issues related to its business activities.
• A significant number of attorneys are employed at the various levels of government. Some work for State attorneys general, prosecutors, and public defenders in criminal courts. Government lawyers also help develop programs, draft and interpret laws and legislation, establish enforcement procedures, and argue civil and criminal cases on behalf of the government.
• Other lawyers work for legal aid societies-private, nonprofit organizations established to serve disadvantaged people.
• Lawyers can be self-employed, practicing either as partners in law firms or in solo practices.
• Many lawyers working outside of government were employed as house counsel by public utilities, banks, insurance companies, real estate agencies, manufacturing firms, and other business firms and nonprofit organizations.
• Work in the teaching department in the law school.
Famous Women Personalities in the field of law
Marion S. Griffin
Marion Griffin was born in or near Greensboro, Georgia. She was a legal stenographer. In 1900, Circuit Court Judge Thomas Scruggs issued a license for her to practice law in his court. She was also admitted to practice before Chancellor Dehaven. Her application for admission to the Bar, which would have permitted her to practice in all courts of Tennessee, was denied in 1900 and again in 1901. She petitioned the Supreme Court, but in Ex parte Griffin, 71 S.W. 746 (Tenn. 1901), the Court voted three to two to deny her admission. While she was lobbying the Legislature to allow women to be admitted in all Tennessee Courts, she attended the University Of Michigan Law School, from which she graduated within six months. She eventually won her battle in the Tennessee Legislature, and the law as passed in February 1907 decreed that "Any woman of the age of twenty-one years and otherwise possessing the necessary qualifications, who shall hereafter apply for the same, may be granted a license to practice law in the courts of this State." In 1907, Marion Griffin became the first woman licensed to practice law in Tennessee. She was a general practitioner until she retired in 1949. In 1923, she became the first woman elected to the Tennessee State Legislature. The Nashville Chapter of the Lawyers' Association for Women is named after her.
Frances Wolf was a legal stenographer from Memphis who graduated from the University of Tennessee School of Law in 1905. By statute at that time, only "males" could be licensed to practice law in Tennessee. She went to Missouri, where she passed the bar exam and was admitted to practice. She later returned to Tennessee and joined her friend, Marion Griffin, in efforts that culminated in 1907 with the enactment of a statute allowing women applicants for bar examinations. She took the bar exam in 1907 and was admitted to the Tennessee Bar five days after Marion Griffin. She worked in the law office of John Houston, who was later joined in his practice by John Johnston. Under their tutelage, she became an excellent title lawyer and an effective trial lawyer. In 1916, she was a charter member of the Business and Professional Women's Club. She lived with her mother while practicing law and, when her mother died, quit working to care for her invalid sister. Frances Wolf died in 1957 in Memphis. A resolution in her memory, signed by Margaret Wilkinson, Laura Brasher, Samuel Little, and W.D. Bejach, said that she was precept and example of guiding light to women who followed her in the law as a career. Never losing her femininity, her gentleness, or her gentility, she attained a firmness and ruggedness of spirit and endeavor which helped blaze trails for others to follow. She is remembered for her keen sense of humor, her ready smile, her keen wit, as well as her ability to present and argue her cases in the Courts."
Maude Riseden Hughett
Maude Riseden Hughett was the first woman to graduate from the University Of Tennessee College Of Law. Ms. Hughett was raised in Wartburg, Tennessee, and her father served as the first judge of Morgan County. She had one sister, Mae, and three brothers. While all three of her brothers moved to California, both Maude and Mae became Southern lawyers, and both sisters married lawyers. She obtained her law degree ten years before women were granted the right to vote, at a time when there were only 1,000 women with law degrees in the entire United States. She moved to Louisville, Kentucky, practicing with her husband at the firm of Hughett & Hughett in Louisville. She was an active member of the Louisville Bar Association, and her portrait hangs in the foyer of that organization's headquarters. The Riseden sisters joined forces in 1939 to represent Benedum-Trees Oil Company before the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in a dispute set in their native Morgan County, Tennessee. Mrs. Hughett had a daughter, Josephine Hughett, who also practiced law in Louisville until her death just a few years ago.
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