What Is Law?


Law is a body of norms that govern behavior and the exercise of power. It should be widely accessible to ordinary citizens, so that they can learn, internalize, and use it as a framework for their lives. In addition, legal institutions should be accessible to the public, enabling them to settle disputes and protect them from abuses of power. Such institutions must be free from political influence and corruption, and the judiciary should be independent and transparent.

Rule of law

The rule of law is the principle that all people should be subject to the law, regardless of the power they may have. It stands in contrast to tyranny and oligarchy. It was developed in the Middle Ages in England, when Archbishop Stephen Langton gathered the Barons and forced King John to obey the law. This document was known as Magna Carta, and it preserved ancient liberties, such as free speech, while requiring taxes and imposing the rule of law. It was later used as the foundation for the United States Constitution.

Legal norms

Legal norms are rules or principles that are binding on society. They are promulgated by organisations of sovereign power and regulate social relations and define the rights of individuals within their jurisdiction.

Legal system

The legal system in a country determines how law is enforced. Different countries have different systems, ranging from common law to religious law. A common law country usually has a single court to make rulings, while a religious country often has several.

Legal professions

The legal profession has evolved over the years. It is a rule-based profession that earns a living by providing fee-paid legal services. Earlier attempts at legal decision-making systems required attorneys to attend weekend meetings. However, in the future, lawyers will simply type in the facts of a case, and the software will render a decision. For example, Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases use software to produce documents.

Legal education

Legal education in law should challenge students to examine the ways in which the law can improve the lives of people throughout society. In particular, law school students should be challenged to consider the unmet legal needs of the lower and middle classes, and how they might be addressed practically. Students should also be prepared to confront the challenges of individual representation and to think more broadly about the system as a whole.

Legal career options

There are many options for those who wish to pursue a career in law. In addition to the usual corporate law roles, many government agencies also have opportunities for aspiring lawyers. For example, a MLS graduate who is interested in urban planning may consider working for the city zoning board. Another great opportunity is to work for a state agency that protects children, such as the child welfare services department. A prosecutor’s career is another exciting choice that gives a law student an opportunity to gain valuable trial experience immediately.