We all know what the law is; we use the term every day with considerable confidence that our listeners know perfectly well what meaning we attach to this word, even though it may have quite a few shades of meaning. Nevertheless, almost no one can come up with a definition of the term that would satisfy the critical scrutiny of a diverse segment of speakers of American English. Rather than foray into the semantic, philosophical, and scholarly features of definition, let us limit our inquiry to the practical side of the law, since this session is designed as an introduction for those who are considering working in the legal profession. We hope this session will also serve those who simply want to know more about the field, but the focus will be practical or, better said, an introduction to the practical. This simplifies our definitional quandary: Law is what lawyers do, what judges decide, what legislators make. Law is more than that, broader than that, but let us leave any such expansions for another session.
In a sense, this session covers what the law says the law is. In particular, we will look at what it is that lawyers do when they are described as “practicing law.” Be forewarned, however: even the practice of law is hard to define. Lawyers are licensed to practice law and unlicensed individuals are prohibited from practicing law, but the courts and the professional associations that make the prohibitions have had a difficult time delineating what exactly constitutes those activities that are strictly the practice of law. Some things—for example, representing someone before a court of law—are nearly universally considered the territory of lawyers, while others, such as giving someone advice as to the conduct of affairs, are not always easy to label or recognize as legal advice.
Date: March 1, 2017
Time: 10:00am to 10:15am PST
To learn more purchase the text Foundations of Law: Cases, Commentary and Ethics, 6th Edition from Cengage Learning. Paralegal Power Breaks are short information packed sessions that provide useful career information to paralegals at all career levels.