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A law society in current and former Commonwealth jurisdictions was historically an association of solicitors (effectively the trade organisation for solicitors) with a regulatory role that included the right to supervise the training, qualifications and conduct of lawyers/solicitors. Where there is a distinction between barristers and solicitors, solicitors were regulated by the law societies and barristers by a separate Bar Council.[1]

Much has changed for law societies in recent years, with governments in Australia, New Zealand, England and Wales, and now Scotland (2010) creating government sponsored regulators for lawyers (both barristers and solicitors), leaving to law societies the role of advocacy on behalf of their members.

In Canada, law societies have had statutory responsibility for regulation of the legal profession in the public interest, leaving advocacy to the Canadian Bar Association.

In the United States, unified bar associations are somewhat similar to Law Societies, however there are differences between law societies and the general American phenomenon of bar associations. Usually a bar association is an association of lawyers; lawyers may or may not join as they wish. Regulation of American lawyers usually takes places through the courts, which decide who gets admitted as a lawyer, and also decide discipline cases. Law societies are often created by legislation and play (or played) significant direct roles in the training, licensing and disciplining of lawyers. The conflict or roles between being a regulator and a trade association is seen by many as giving rise to the recent move to government sponsored regulators.

In Italy, the first law society (Bocconi International Law Society or B.I.L.S.) to be created is present in Milan and connected to Bocconi University School of Law.

Law Societies also play a role as part of the justice system, and concern themselves with access to justice. As a result, they may offer paid and unpaid legal assistance to the public or specific target audiences, and have historically been involved in the development of legal aid plans.

See also[edit]

Law societies in the British Islands and Ireland[edit]

Law societies in Continental Europe[edit]

Law societies elsewhere[edit]


  1. ^ In Scotland barristers are called Advocates and are members of and regulated by the Faculty of Advocates.

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_society — Please support Wikipedia.
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3434 news items

The Guardian

The Guardian
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 15:52:30 -0700

Hundreds of solicitors' firms will close if the Ministry of Justice does not postpone fee cuts and delay changes to criminal legal aid contracts, the new president of the Law Society has warned. Andrew Caplen, who took charge of the UK's largest ...
Law Gazette
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 02:11:15 -0700

A British national, Lindsay Sandiford, was in prison in Bali, Indonesia, awaiting execution by firing squad, following her conviction for drug offences. The defendant secretary of state had provided substantial consular assistance, but he had declined ...

The Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 15:07:30 -0700

Livent Inc. co-founder Garth Drabinsky has been stripped of his licence to practise law in Ontario, in another blow for the disgraced theatre producer convicted of fraud in 2009. A disciplinary panel of the Law Society of Upper Canada issued its ...
Law Gazette
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 06:30:00 -0700

The pace of recovery across top-50 firms started to slow in the first half of 2014, research from the Law Society and Legal Monitor City Legal Index suggests today. In the first two quarters of 2014 the total number of deals involving the top 50 ...

Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa Citizen
Sun, 13 Jul 2014 12:24:08 -0700

That failing got him in hot water with the Law Society of Upper Canada, which wanted to suspend him indefinitely until he cleaned up his act. What happened next, though, was extraordinary. White, now 69, had his first drink at 13. He quit in 1977 and ...

Law Gazette

Law Gazette
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 04:15:00 -0700

The Law Society · Find a Solicitor · Gazette Jobs; The Gazette; CPD Centre · Bookshop · Events · Library Knowledge Base. Skip to main content; Skip to navigation. Sign in · Register now · Cookies and privacy · Contact Us · Advertise with us. Search the ...
North Shore News
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 09:30:00 -0700

The Law Society of British Columbia has fined a North Vancouver lawyer $25,000 for professional misconduct, which included backdating corporate transactions to ensure a multi-million-dollar real-estate deal went through. Ronald Wayne Perrick was handed ...

Independent Online

Independent Online
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 03:07:30 -0700

The KwaZulu-Natal legal fraternity is in crisis with the provincial law society effectively shut down, meaning no new attorneys can be admitted, nor can existing ones be disciplined or struck off. All members were emailed by society director Gavin John ...

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