Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



legal profession; cultural history; market control; lawyers; barristers; solicitors


This paper "frames" the study of lawyers in Canadian history against major interpretations of the legal profession and legal professionalism including the historical self-understandings of organized legal professions in the common law world, market-control theorists, institutional, and cultural history approaches. The article serves as the introduction to a new book on The Promise And Perils Of Law: Lawyers In Canadian History, which includes essays on the history of legal education, the practice of law, Quebec's legal distinctiveness, constitutionalism and the rule of law, and issues in race, gender, and diversity.