The legal profession in the Kingdom of Washingtonia is the specialized field wherein attorneys or other recognized persons practice the law. Unlike in the United Kingdom and other jurisdictions, the profession in Washingtonia is unified. Therefore, no formal distinction is made between trial attorneys (litigators) and legal advisors (solicitors) - there are only attorneys, although individually they may decide whether or not they wish to practice exclusively as advisors or litigants. Besides lawyers, the Practice of Law Act recognizes paralegals, judges and the legal academia as lawyers. To appear in court, an attorney needs to be admitted to the Bar. A paralegal is defined as "a person with a BLE [Diploma of Basic Legal Education] or a person who is knowledgeable in law and assist attorneys in the execution of their duties". Legal education in Washingtonia takes place at one of the Kingdom's five law schools, of which three are attached to universities, and two are independent.
General Association of the Bar
Main article: General Association of the Bar of Washingtonia
The General Association of the Bar (the Bar) is the mandatory professional association for attorneys in Washingtonia. The Bar was established in 1916 by the Practice of Law Act. The Bar regulates attorney admissions, sets standards for legal education throughout the country, and enforces ethical discipline within the profession.
Training and education
There are currently 5 institutions providing legal education in Washingtonia, namely -
- King George Law School (KGLS, "King Law"), North Island
- Part of the University of King George.
- Greenville College of Law (GCL, "Green Law"), North Island
- Independent law school.
- Trembly College of Law (TCL, "Trembly Law"), North Island
- Independent law school.
- Dandridge University Law School (DULS, "Dandridge Law"), South Island
- Part of Dandridge University.
- University of Reynard Law School (URLS, "Reynard Law"), South Island
- Part of the University of Reynard.
Becoming a lawyer
- Diploma of Basic Legal Education (BLE) - The Diploma of Basic Legal Education is the most basic legal qualification obtainable in Washingtonia. It is not a specialist degree, thus does not differ in different fields of the law. The BLE is a two year diploma which attempts to lay a very basic foundation in law for those who hold it. It is generally expected of BLE holders to continue their legal education and obtain degrees of higher status. Persons not interested in practicing law also commonly pursue the degree for their respectively chosen avenues of career, such as business or politics. A BLE, according to the Practice of Law Act, only qualifies a person to appear in the Municipal Tribunals and the Provincial Courts in certain circumstances for small claims.
- Bachelor of Laws (LL.B or BLaw) - The Bachelor of Laws degree is the typical degree which most lawyers in Washingtonia hold. It is independently a four year degree, however if students already posses a BLE, the degree is generally shortened to three years. In the final year of LL.B studies, students have a choice to gain advanced education in two extended fields of the law, or finish the degree by learning the law generally. It is thus divided into the Bachelor of Laws (the most common), the Bachelor of Laws: Humanities (BLHum) and the Bachelor of Laws: Corporate Finance (BLCor).
- Master of Laws (LL.M or MLaw) - The Master of Laws is an advanced practical degree for students interested in certain advanced fields of law. The LL.M is a one year degree wherein the student must choose his degree in a specialized academic field of law. Among numerous LL.Ms, there exist the Master of Laws: Mercantile Law (LL.M Merc) and the Master of Laws: Medical Law (LL.M Med).
- Master of Jurisprudence (MJur) - The Master of Jurisprudence is a generally academic degree for those interested in doing continuous legal research or pursuing a career in legal education. Most universities require an MJur for law lecturers. The Master of Jurisprudence is a one year degree wherein the student must choose his MJur in a specialized academic field of law. There exist numerous MJurs, including the Master of Jurisprudence: Statutory Interpretation (MJur Stat) and the Master of Jurisprudence: Canonical Law (MJur Can).
- Doctor of Laws (LL.D, DLaw or PhD Law) - The Doctor of Laws is the highest law qualification in Washingtonia and is generally regarded as difficult to obtain. It is a two year program wherein the student must complete a thesis of no less than 200 pages, making it the length of an average book. LL.D students must also decide in which field of law to specialize of which the most common is the Doctor of Laws: Jurisprudence (LL.D Jur) which is a general degree wherein an advanced study of the entire legal system is done. Furthermore, there exist the Doctor of Laws: International Law (LL.D Int) and the Doctor of Laws: Criminal Law (LL.D Crim), among others.