8 S. C. L. Q. 179 (1955-1956)
A Profession Not a Skilled Trade

handle is hein.journals/sclr8 and id is 181 raw text is: A PROFESSION NOT A SKILLED TRADE
JUDGX JOHN J. PARKr**
The practice of the law is a profession - not a business or a skilled
trade. While the elements of gain and service are present in both,
the difference between a business and a profession is essentially this:
the chief end of a trade or business is personal gain; the chief end
of a profession is public service. Of the three learned professions,
says Ruskin, it pertains to the minister to teach, to the physician to
heal and to the lawyer to give peace and order to society. This is
the function of the lawyer, his reason for existence-not primarily
to make money or to assist other men in their personal struggles or
difficulties, but to give peace and order to society -to paraphrase
the language of Matthew Arnold, to bring wisdom and the will of
God out of the heavens to direct the affairs of men. The practice
of the profession involves a lawyer in three fundamental relation-
ships: his relation to his client, his relation to the law and his rela-
tion to the community in which he lives. The standards of the pro-
fession grow out of these relationships.
The first relationship in which we envision the lawyer is that of
attorney and client, a relationship of trust and confidence on the one
hand, repaid almost universally by loyalty and devotion on the other.
Notwithstanding the tendency on the part of witlings to speak dis-
paragingly of lawyers, there is no profession in the members of
which the average man reposes greater confidence. Whatever he
may say about lawyers generally, he will entrust his own lawyer
with secrets that he would not trust with anyone else on earth, not
even his physician or his minister, -secrets affecting his life, his
fortune and his sacred honor. And after a long and busy life in
which I have come in contact with lawyers all over this country as
well as in foreign lands, I can say with pride in my profession that
I can count on the fingers of a single hand the lawyers that I have
known who would in any way betray that trust. The lawyer can
be trusted and is trusted by his client, as is no other professional
man on earth. I am proud that the history of the profession shows
that he is worthy of that trust.
This is not to say, however, that it is not necessary to have canons
of ethics relating to the relationship of attorney and client and to
*Address delivered to the student body of the University of South Carolina Law School,
Columbia, S. C., November 30, 1955.
o*Chief Judge, U. S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit.
179

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