Since the world we know began, there have been disputes among human beings, and they were solved using weapons or strength. The losers were always the weakest, the oldest or the youngest.
But this began to change when some people with influences in their community or relatives on the weak side intervened in the disputes, and so became the historic antecedents to lawyers.
The history of advocacy is full with facts in ancient Greece that remember Demosthenes as a free defender, Antisoaes as the first defender to charge for his services, and Isocrates as the first not to keep confidentiality about his client’s matters. By 1683 there were treatises about “The Perfect Lawyer’s Ideal”. Saint Ives, patron of lawyers, studied law and became the driving force of moral and ethical principles in law when he published his Twelve Commandments. Simon Bolívar, the Liberator, also studied law and graduated as a lawyer in Universidad Nacional de San Marcos.
Let us not forget that etymologically the word “lawyer” comes from the Latin word “advocatus”, which derives from the Latin expression “ad auxillium vocatus“, which means “the call to help”, and its use today refers to a person who has studied law, has achieved the professional degree of lawyer and has registered into the respective association to be able to work.
There is no defined date to celebrate lawyer’s day in Latin America, because not all countries have a set date, and those few which celebrate it have had different reasons to fix the date:
- In Mexico it is celebrated on July 12 every year. On that date in 1553 there was the first law lecture in Mexico and Latin America, in the university which now known as UNAM. The lecturer was Licenciado Bartolomé Frías y Albornoz. The celebratory date was set in 1960.
- The celebratory date in Ecuador is February 20 every year, and it was set in 1945, centenary of the birth of Luis Felipe Borja Pérez, Ecuadorean jurist and politician.
- Lawyers in Argentina acknowledge August 29 every year. On that day in 1810 Juan Bautista Alberdi, considered Argentina´s 1853 constitution´s mastermind, was born.
- In Peru it is celebrated on April 2 every year. On that date in 1834 was the birth date of Francisco García-Calderón Landa, a lawyer and Peru’s president. He is regarded as Peruvian lawyers’ patron.
- The celebratory date in Venezuela is June 23 every year. It is the birth date of the country’s first president, Cristóbal Hurtado de Mendoza, who also was a lawyer.
- Colombia celebrates its lawyers on June 22 every year, for reasons unknown.
- In Guatemala it is celebrated on September 24.
- Some say there is no celebratory date in Chile, but others say that the established date is May 21, the date of death of captain Arturo Prat Chacon, hero in the Peru-Chile war, who was also a lawyer.
In other countries, the celebratory date is May 19, anniversary of the date of death of Saint Ives, patron of lawyers.