The authority of lawyers
Keywords:Lawyers and the power, the power of lawyers, the role of professionalism in conflict resolution
The public standing of lawyers has always been somewhat ambivalent. On the one hand, they have been taken for a conceited technocratical elite with their own incomprehensible language. On the other hand, they have been cherished as the number one trouble-shooter and peace-maker. Today, the traditional monopoly of lawyers has come under pressure. Rivaling professions such as mediators want to have their share of the conflict resolution market. Still, lawyers are likely to retain the greater bulk.
The author identifies and discusses the following reasons for this predominance
- the affinity of lawyers with the state and public authority;
- the reflex of the authority of law;
- the complex nature of legal systems and the ensuing need for professionalisation;
- a particular training in rhetorical, linguistic, communicative and social skills;
- the function of lawyers as ‘high priests’ of the judicial ritual;
- the real or supposed competence of lawyers to master each and every challenge irrespective of its nature and background;
- homogeneity of the group;
- the ability of lawyers to embrace and ‘swallow’ other disciplines.
The topic is part of the general discourse on the role of professional actors.
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