This article aims to re-assess the relationship between law and ideology, with a view to identifying the foundational policies established within the judicial-legal sphere in Turkey at the birth of the Republic in 1923. A central focus of the article is the historical project to create a new class of legal professionals, particularly attorneys, as an exemplary case for the interaction between law, ideology and modernization. Firstly, it is argued that Kemalist legal and judicial reforms were an essential part of the general social-engineering project which intended to Westernize/modernize the newly established Republic. Accordingly, reforms were dominated by two closely interrelated themes of legal ideology: the consolidation of the new order and the development of a statist understanding of justice. In turn, legal professionals were remoulded by modernizing cadres in order to secure/promote the modernist perspective within legal foundations as delineated by official ideology. Secondly, the article argues that statist policy towards attorneys was so dominated by modernizing ideology that Weberian formalism was undermined. The idiosyncratic statist concerns outweighed universalistic legal values, which intensified rather than balanced, the ongoing tension between substantive and formalist rationality that is inherent to Weberian notions of justice.