The evidence shows that prior to the mid-twelfth century nothing that could be described as a legal profession in the strict sense existed in Europe during the Middle Ages, and that there had been no such social or vocational identity since the Roman law schools faded away toward the end of the sixth century. By the mid-thirteenth century, however, a legal profession had once more emerged in western Europe. It is likewise clear that this revived legal profession drew many of its ideas and much of its inspiration from the Roman law texts that its members studied in the law schools, but that medieval legal professionals also differed in many respects from their Roman predecessors. Many, probably most, of the profession's members in the thirteenth century were clerics, although the proportion of laymen in their ranks grew substantially, especially in Italy, during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Advocates and proctors who practiced regularly in the courts of the medieval ius commune, the European general law, became full-fledged professionals during the second quarter of the thirteenth century.
Keywords: advocates; proctors; courts; general law; lawyers; Roman law; legal profession; Europe; Middle Ages; law schools
Chapter. 2214 words.
Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)
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