For thousands of years, lawyers have been playing a central role in solving conflicts in a humanitarian and just way. Below, I will argue that our need for them is never going to go away.
The Roman Empire
In Ancient Rome, private individuals who had sufficient financial means would often pay an experienced debater/lawyer to plead their case to the public. Often, if the lawyer was skilled enough in rhetorics and legal matters, they could even be counted on to win a case that should not be won, for example by proving that someone was innocent when they in fact were not, and the like (which is not very ideal in regards of “justly” judging people in the court).
The Viking Age
When disputes arose between different household owners during the Viking Age – often about a piece of land – the outcome was usually one of these two: a fight to the death between the disputants, or the solving of their conflict. The former would often lead to blood revenge, and entire families resolving to kill each other, which led to endless cycles of violence. The latter would mean that one or both of the parties would go to the local chieftain, who was advised by the lawgiver of the town in legal decisions. The lawgiver acted as the different parties’ “lawyer” by providing the chieftain with their own viewpoint on the basis of their legal expertise and experience.
In the 21st century, we have come a long way when it comes to what happens in the court, and rightfully punishing people for their wrongdoings while not punishing those who are innocent. What certainly seems to be out of the question, is that the need for lawyers will go away.
The lawyer’s job has come to be about assessing a case that the client brings and giving advice on how the case can be followed up. If the lawyer has private individuals as clients, the cases may concern, for example, questions of inheritance, divorce, or neighbor conflict. Lawyers who work with business law and have companies and large companies as clients are used, among other things, as advisers in negotiations and when agreements are written.
In other words, lawyers are used in countless different areas. One especially popular type of lawyer in Norway is the eiendomsadvokat Stavanger, who follows up on all matters regarding real estate.
Often, the client’s case can be resolved without ever going to court (though hopefully in more peaceful ways than a fight to the death, such as in the Viking Age). Sometimes this happens through mediation, and many lawyers have continuing education in legal mediation.
If a conflict can only be resolved by taking it to court, it will be a lawyer who leads the case. Both parties to a conflict will then have a lawyer to represent them, and the lawyer’s job is to present the best arguments for his client.
One thing is for sure: the need for lawyers will never go away, as the field has existed for thousands of years, it is expanding, and new needs are coming up as a result of the rapid technological, political, and social development which is taking place.