Formal systems of laws have existed since Hammurabi erected his code in the courtyards of temples during his reign as ruler of the Babylonian empire early in the 18th century B.C.E., and since then there has been a need for individuals to study and interpret those laws. However the history of attorneys, those who are professionals dedicated exclusively to the study, interpretation and application of the law is much more recent.
The sophists of ancient Athens were probably the first who existed as a class of people who were considered as something akin to lawyers. However, there were some societal situations that inhibited the development of a legal profession. One was an Athenian law requiring citizens to plead their own cases. This eroded over time as more and more requested friends to act as an advocate for them. More importantly, though, was the law the disallowed anyone from exacting a fee to plead for someone else, thereby preventing anyone from presenting themselves as a legal expert.
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