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Bar can refer to several different things:

In the law, the bar is the community of persons engaged in the practice of law. (I.e., "members of the bar"). In the United States, many state bar associations are operated by their respective state governments[?] which make membership in their state's bar association a requirement to practice before that state's courts (i.e., a "mandatory" or "integrated bar"). In Canada one is called to the bar after undertaking a post law school training in a provincial law society program and undergoing an apprenticeship or taking articles as it is called.

Judges are not members of the bar. Rather, they sit "on the bench," and the cases which come before them are "at bar" or "at bench." These terms evolved from the English Inns of Court[?], where a bar separated the seats of the benchers or readers from the body of the hall, which was occupied by students. When one officially becomes a lawyer, he or she crosses this symbolic physical barrier and is "admitted to the bar." In modern courtrooms, a railing may still be in place to enclose the space which is occupied by legal counsel as well as the criminal defendants[?] and civil litigants[?] who have business pending before the court. In the middle ages the bar was a fence that was used to separate the bench from the members of the public who came to testify. A knight testified by coming forward to the bar and placed one's testicles upon the bar. If the King did not believe the knight he would order his testicles cut off on the spot. This kept the knights honest when they testified.

See also: disbarment

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