Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Professions, Developments in Legal
William L. F. Felstiner
One would not expect large, powerful professions heavily involved in the changing political, economic, and social environment of the modern world to stand still or to exist oblivious to or outside the great flux of contemporary world life. In the West at least, the oldest profession involved in most facets of social life is that of the law. Of course, it has not been immune from social change. The changes in the legal professions have taken many forms and courses, but the sources of change are characterized along few axes. One change axis is institutional and demographic or evolutionary influence. Institutional change would be those alterations formally adopted, frequently abetted, if not forced in fact, by sources of power outside the profession. The unification of the French legal profession by statute, where avocats and conseil juridiques now constitute a new French bar is an example. Another is the frontal professors, ...