What's the magic limit for lawyers?

We’re selecting who to send to another planet, for a long time mission, to establish a frontier and perhaps begin terraforming in anticipation of later colonists.

Now most likely there will be scientists and engineers on this voyage. And a doctor. Different kind of specialists in those fields. If you were to only send 5, or 10 people, those would be chosen in favor of others. Such as barbers, tattoo artists, jugglers and pizza bakers.

When you send a bigger group, more people, you will start adding new professional categories. A psychiatrist maybe, or a masseuse. If you’ve got a group of 100 engineers, an extra engineer will probably not raise the value of the group much, but a skilled masseuse might. Or a dentist. Whatever.

The larger the population gets, the more of these specialists become viable, or even neccesary. At what point do lawyers become neccesary. Or when does an Advertisment Designer?

Since the laws have yet to be determined, you send no lawyers ever. Some of the people that develop the laws once they get there will become the lawyers for the community.

Well, the simple answer is that any society regardless of its size is constructed around agreements regarding what is acceptable – kinds of behavior, environmental conditions, treatment of each member of society (sometimes commensurate with individual roles), responsibilities, if any, beyond or outside of the group, et cetera. These agreements, and more specifically their applications in any given situation, are always codified in some way and arguable through some process; that is, there will always be a need for societies to dispute whether any given thing conforms to the commonly understood standards of acceptability. This means that the practice of lawyering must be present from the start, and is a special function that must be performed, whether it is a full time job requiring a dedicated specialist or a part time job requiring readiness to perform by individual members of society (select or ad hoc).

A more complete answer would have to consider the hierarchical structure of the colony to begin with. Does it begin as a rough reflection of the spawning society? If so, democracies most likely have a lower population threshold where the specialty is required, due to the fact that the voice of each individual member is institutionally equal to any other’s and therefore each opinion is equally disputable. Feudal societies don’t have much higher a threshold, as the population of serfs, to be stable (and therefore productive), must be protected to some extent from lordly whim, and each lord must be protected from rebellion by demonstration that they are following the norms of the realm. Militaristic societies probably have the highest threshold, because the structures of acceptability are more highly defined and more strictly adhered to, and because the lawyerly functions are a direct responsibility of the commissioned officers.

On review, I see I’ve neglected the question of advertisement. That’s probably for the best, as I suspect my response would require even more development than the lawyer question… :wink:

Lawyers in Spaaaaace!

You send all the lawyers you can. Then open the airlocks when they aren’t looking. That will be a good start.

You think you can take Satan by surprise? Foolish man.

I’d think that enforcement of criminal law would become a necessity well before civil law. When that would start requiring lawyers, I can’t say.

When you run out of reaction mass.

One’s not enough, and two’s too many. If you have one lawyer in a small town, he’ll go broke. Two lawyers in a small town and they both get rich.

Satan no, but minor demons, yes.

Once there were codified laws, the minimum number of attorneys would have to be three: one for prosecution, one for defense and one in a judicial capacity.

I don’t believe this is the correct answer, though I’m not sure what is. Yes, a new society will have new laws - but that doesn’t mean they will, or should, reinvent the wheel. Our brave colonists will hail from societies that already have well-developed mechanisms for dealing with theft, violent crimes, civil wrongs, contracts, and so on. These may not be ideal solutions for the new world - they may need tweaks - but it would be a shame to have no one who can speak knowledgeably about how prior societies have solved these problems.

Prior societies have not solved these problems. If they had they wouldn’t have needed lawyers.

I wouldn’t consider it reinventing the wheel, I would consider it interjecting some sense into the process instead of introducing a myriad of technicalities from the beginning that require lawyers to understand, administer and adjudicate. Those can come later, and someone whose judgment is trusted can make the decisions in the meantime.

I don’t think the best question is how many specialists (engineers, doctors, agriculturalists, etc) would you have to include on the mission before you got down to lawyers…

I think the question of when you need to send a lawyer to this colony depends on how many people in total are going to be sent. If we’re sending x workers for every one expert (e.g., ten tradesmen go with one engineer; two nurses with one doctor; five farmhands with each agriculturalist, etc), then the importance of the law goes up with the total population, not according to a list of which professions we think positively of.

I’d say once you get a total workforce of 150 or so, you ought to have a lawyer on hand to insure the law is applied fairly.

From my vantage point, ethical behavior in general and legal action in particular are pretty much all about the technicalities. Besides, if your starter society doesn’t bring along some sort of inherited code defining the process, how do you establish criteria for judgement, or for selecting a ‘trusted’ individual?

It seems to me like the expedition would have to have some sort of system of laws (even if it’s just “The captain has the final say in everything” and some means of choosing a new captain when he dies) before they even reach the launchpad. What that system is will determine when you need lawyers, and how many (for instance, in the absolute captain system, you don’t need lawyers at all, since when the law is whatever the captain says it is, the best arbiter of the law will be the captain himself).

You wouldn’t need to send ad designers until an economy was set up and money started changing hands. Even then, you might not need to specifically send ad designers as the more creative people that are already there may just gravitate towards that field.

You’re positing an airplane crash on a deserted island that creates a societal blank slate. A colony, however, is a vast and deliberate investment, and the government or corporation that commissioned it would have supplied it with a power structure (i.e., a set of laws) designed to protect that investment. That doesn’t necessarily mean that lawyers will be needed; it is possible, perhaps even likely, that the initial law of the colony would not provide for the sort of individual rights and economic interests that would be served by having legal counsel.

Point taken. Unless the colony is established by a particular country and the colonists are guaranteed full citizenship in that country, I can’t see where lawyers would be needed.

Ambrose Bierce wrote:

Wouldn’t it depend on the outlook of the community? If it was fertile farming ground then a few farmers, graziers,brick layers and builders. Doctor or two.

(I am currently reading a book about the First Fleet to Australia and the misfits that it contained.)