Part A of the NCA Syllabus on Canadian Professional Responsibility discusses the Law as a profession and the concept of professionalism. It is impossible to discuss the law as a profession without understanding the idea of self-regulation and the role it plays in today’s legal practice.
Self-regulation is the framework for regulation of lawyers in Canada, a regulation of lawyers by lawyers. It is defined in the prescribed text by Alice Woolley et al. as the control, direction, or governance of an identifiable group by rules and regulations determined by the members of the group, in the area of law. It takes on the form of autonomous governing bodies, known as law societies in the Common Law Provinces in Canada.
Professions are considered different from occupations in that they function with the public’s interest at their core, their services must be provided at the highest ethical standards by persons competent and qualified to offer such services. To ascertain this competence, various educational evaluations are undertaken as well as requirements fulfilled for licensing. This relationship between the profession, its members and the State creates a social contract that allows the profession to enjoy monopoly or dominate the market.
Various fields considered as professions enjoy these traits and exemplify similar characteristics to the legal profession, these characteristics are: