Lawyers have been around since the ancient times. In the Greek civilization, there were individuals who plead for and on behalf of “clients” who were usually accused of wrongdoing.
The modern day concept of lawyers in the Western tradition started in the age of kings when those knowledgeable with the law (hence law-yers) were allowed to represent others before a court of law.
Lawyers have thus been around for quite some time already. However, it is interesting that many do not really know what lawyers, for a lack of a better term, sell to clients.
The services of a lawyer can be broken generally into two: (1) solution, or (b) representation.
1. A solution
When you ask for an “advice” from a lawyer, you are actually asking a solution.
You tell your lawyer your problem or situation. You expect him/her to think about what you just said and evaluate for legal solutions.
That so-called advice is not the same as the one given by your friend. That solution was processed in the mind of an individual who has spent considerable time and effort studying the law.
Think about it next time you sip your overpriced coffee and then ask for a “free legal advice”.
The solution can come in the form of knowledge/skills transfer or via legal documentation. In either case, the lawyer applied his technical knowledge and experience into creating that solution.
For those needing representation in a case, a lawyer becomes a modern-day gladiator with the courtroom as the arena.
When a lawyer extends his services, takes on the role of an advocate for his client. The lawyer may not agree with what you say but he will fight for you to say it, paraphrasing Voltaire.
As counsel on record, a lawyer is professionally obligated to take up your cause to protect your interests, regardless of his personal opinions or beliefs on the matter. He is for the most part the spokesperson of his client subject to certain limitations set by law and regulations.
Of course, a lawyer is not duty-bound to handle a case if he thinks he cannot competently represent a client. In such a situation, he may withdraw representation following the requirements and formalities.