Federal Bar of Sierra
|Formation||June 23, 1888|
|Type||Unified bar, gentrified trust|
|Headquarters||Porciúncula, Gold Coast, K.S.|
The Bar originated as a private, voluntary association of lawyers that sought to unify local bar associations under a national one. The legal profession was driven largely by self-regulation at the time and the Bar initially existed as a social organization rather than a professional one concerned with the standardization of practices and rules within the profession. The Bar gradually departed from its populist character and shifted towards a more regulatory body during the Sierran Cultural Revolution. During this time, discriminatory barriers against non-white and female attorneys were removed and such members were admitted into the Bar. In 1964, despite internal opposition, the Bar acceded to undergoing nationalization by the government as an integrated bar association.
Under federal law, the Bar is legally designated as a gentrified trust although its membership remained voluntary from its nationalization until the National Legal Profession Regulatory Act of 1996, when Parliament required all attorneys in Federal Sierra to become members of the Federal Bar. It operates as an ancillary body that operates semi-autonomously from the Supreme Court of Sierra. The Bar's Code of Legal Ethics and Professional Conduct (CLEPC) is the primary source of rules and guidelines, although the code is not legally binding and serves as a model for provincial-level regulations.
Mission[edit | edit source]According to the Federal Bar of Sierra's official website, the mission of the Bar is to:
"Protect and serve the public by upholding professionalism, integrity, and compassion in the legal profession through the proactive regulation and supervision of the practice of the law; to advance the goals and objectives of an inclusive, diverse community of attorneys and legal professionals; to ensure the competent and ethical practice of the law; and to render services to both the legal field and the general public with resources, assistance, and public information."
History[edit | edit source]
The Federal Bar of Sierra's predecessor was the Sierran Bar Association, a voluntary national bar association founded in June 1888 with the intent to coordinate and unify the principles, objectives, and goals of local bar associations throughout the Kingdom. The law profession was largely unregulated at the time and carried a negative public perception as a dishonest and corrupt practice. There were no national educational requirements or consistent licensing laws, and no ethical code of conducts existed at either the federal or provincial level to guide attorneys in their practice of the law. The association remained largely a trade association during its first twenty years and was even compared to as a fraternal organization due to its social character. A number of private provincial bars merged with or became subsidiary chapters of the association.
During the Sierran Cultural Revolution, the Sierran Bar Association shifted its mission and activities towards that of a more professional and engaged organization. It started promoting the idea that the practice of law required self-regulation and it worked towards bolstering its reputation as a trusted accreditation organization for Sierran attorneys everywhere. It organized a corpus of ethical guidelines and code of conduct which would later serve the basis for Sierra's own statutory legislation on attorney conduct and ethics. In 1914, it removed its membership ban against people of color and females, becoming the first in the world to do so. Stephanie Cleary became the first Sierran female attorney to be inducted into the bar, although female attorneys had been already practicing since 1905. In 1917, it codified the first edition of the Code of Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility (CLEPC) which became the chief document for the association.
Organization and structure[edit | edit source]
Legal status[edit | edit source]
The Federal Bar of Sierra is the nationally integrated bar association in Federal Sierra. It does not have jurisdiction over the Kingdom of Sierra's three other constituent countries: Bajaría, the Deseret, or Hawaii, which each have their own distinct national bars and legal systems. It is integrated within the federal judiciary and is listed as an ancillary body of the Supreme Court of Sierra. All licensed attorneys and general practitioners must be members of the Federal Bar in order to practice the law or work in the legal field within Sierra, as well as be a member of the provincial bar of the province they operate in. Mandatory membership is based on the statutory requirement found in the National Legal Profession Regulatory Act of 1996, which states in Section 2:
The Federal Bar of Sierra is a gentrified trust corporation. Every person admitted and licensed to practice law in Federal Sierra is and shall be both a member of the Federal Bar and member of the provincial bar(s) of the province(s) in which they are licensed to practice law except while holding office as a judge of a court of record.
Paralegals, legal assistants, legal secretaries, and other legal professionals are also subject to accreditation and ethical standards established by the Federal Bar. They are not officially considered members of the Federal Bar as they are not required to take a provincial bar examination. As non-members, they are not authorized to practice law, except under the supervision of a licensed attorney, or unsupervised in extremely limited circumstances as permitted by provincial statute.
Board of Trustees[edit | edit source]
The Federal Bar is led by the 13-member Board of Trustees, which comprises five attorneys appointed by the Supreme Court, two attorneys appointed by Parliament, and six non-attorneys, four of whom are appointed by the Prime Minister, on behalf of the Queen, one of whom is appointed by the House Speaker, and one of whom is appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules. The board regularly convenes in six board meetings each year. Every two years, the Board of Trustees elects an attorney to serve as the president of the Bar.
Membership[edit | edit source]
Statutory law stipulates that only members of the Federal Bar, excluding the statutory non-attorney members of the Bar's Board of Trustees, are authorized to practice law anywhere in Federal Sierra. Membership is based on licensing set forth by provincial bars, which all utilize bar examinations and evaluations to determine eligibility. Disbarred members, as well as judges, jurists, paralegals, and other non-attorney legal professionals are not authorized to practice the law in almost all cases because they are not permitted membership within the Bar.
Scope and responsibilities[edit | edit source]
The Federal Bar is responsible for overseeing the nation's network of provincial, state, and areal bar associations. It maintains an accurate database and record of all licensed attorneys in the Kingdom of Sierra and issues recommendations on matters related to the legal profession and standards. It also provides members with services including monitoring attorney trust fund accounts and subsidizing pro bono and low income legal aid entities for students. It works closely with the Supreme Court of Sierra and the National Bureau of Court Administration on admission, regulation, and discipline of attorneys. The Federal Bar collects membership dues, fees, and interest on members' accounts, and reinvests a portion of its revenue towards subsidizing law firms and attorneys on a number of legal services and programs, such as legal research subscription fees.
Code of Legal Ethics and Professional Conduct[edit | edit source]
The Code of Legal Ethics and Professional Conduct (CLEPC) are the set of professional standards that function as the baseline for the ethical conduct and expectations of all members of the Bar. It has been adopted and implemented in all jurisdictions of Federal Sierra, with some jurisdictions modifying it or expanding on it significantly. In some jurisdictions, sections of the Code are only advisory while others are enforceable and mandatory.
Publications[edit | edit source]
The Federal Bar of Sierra publishes the Federal Law Review, a monthly, subscription-based legal magazine which publishes news, opinion columns, editorials, and other content. Its intended audience are all members of the Federal Bar of Sierra although it also publishes an online version that is free and available to the general public.
Each provincial bar publishes its own newsletters and magazines that provide more localized content. In addition, there are privately owned journals and publications that have official partnerships with the Federal Bar of Sierra.