Law is a system of rules created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It may be written down by a legislature through statutes, decrees or regulations; it may be enacted by the executive branch through orders and directives; it can also be established through precedent by judges in common law jurisdictions (see case law).
The discipline and profession concerned with this body of rules is called law or jurisprudence. It is also the system of rules that governs our daily activities and enables society to function. Law includes contract law that regulates agreements to exchange goods or services, property law that defines people’s rights and duties toward their tangible personal possessions, such as their homes and cars, and criminal laws that establish the punishments for offenses against the state or its citizens.
A legal education requires a very sharp mind. In addition to absolute command of the details of legislation and cases, students must be able to think through complex patterns of factual situations. They must also be able to explain why a particular piece of legislation or principle of law applies in a given situation. In addition, legal professionals must be able to adjust the rules of law to reflect new needs and realities by means of creative interpretation and jurisprudence.
A large number of specialized terms are associated with the study and practice of law, including: arraignment – The court proceeding in which an accused person is brought before a judge and told of the charges against him or her. The defendant is usually asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. discovery – The process by which opposing lawyers obtain information and documents from each other prior to trial. This is normally done through a set of procedures laid down in the law of evidence. en banc – A term meaning the entire court is present, and used to refer to sessions of appeals courts when they decide to sit with their full bench rather than a panel of judges.