Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Before the Bar

Bar is a noun with many meanings, but many of them have something to do with barriers and dividers.

In courts of law, the bar is literally a railing or a low wall with an access gate. It serves as a divider. On one side, we find all of the immediate participants: the judge, the bailiff, the stenographer, the jury, the lawyers for defense and prosecution, the defendants, and often, the testifying witnesses. On the other side sit the spectators, reporters, etc.

So if you practice before the bar, you are on the active side of the railing. The Bar is also the name given to a lawyers’ professional association and to the profession itself.

The bar that you walk into to buy a brew has a connection. The bar there is the counter that divides the patrons from the bartender and his resources.

SIDEBAR: American Bar Association – public resources

Available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

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