Brand shows how changes in the organization and structure of the courts and the ways in which litigation was conducted in the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries contributed to the emergence of professional lawyers and eventually of a recognizable legal profession. Brand draws on research on the plea roles and law reports to provide a detailed picture of the legal profession during the first phase of its existence, the reign of Edward I. He estimates the size of the profession and looks at the functions that lawyers provided for their clients. He also examines the arrangements made for the training of legal practitioners and for controlling entry into the profession and the development and enforcement of a code of professional ethics for legal practitioners. The book concludes with a comparison between the new profession serving the common law courts and its counterpart which served the English Church courts, the canon lawyers.