R. Blain Andrus opens his book Lawyer: A Brief 5,000 Year History by theorizing how a legal team might have represented Adam and Eve before God, and whether a good lawyer could have “saved” them. He argues that the Book of Genesis is the best beginning for his romp through legal history, as it is in Genesis that God brought order out of chaos—and what better place to start looking for lawyers than in a swirling mass of chaos? Through six parts (Biblical Times, Pagan Times, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Medieval Times, and Modern Times), Andrus goes on to address such topics as the origins of black robes and white wigs, the establishment of common law, the function of English inns of court, the development of the modern-day law school, and the rise of the billable hour.
Andrus’ book is a hysterical and scholarly narrative chronicling the history of lawyers. The author, a lawyer himself, has made a diligent effort to explore the dark corners of history in search of the beginnings of the legal profession, and to follow the vocation through the centuries to its present-day manifestation. He also explores the deep question of “whether lawyers have been and continue to be a social good or are simply an uncomfortable fact of the human condition” in the book, making this both an entertaining and an enlightening read.