Roman law considered corporations to be legal entities even before the reign of Justinian and the issuance of the Justinian code in 534 AD. Throughout the Middle Ages, civil law continued to recognize the rights and responsibilities of corporations, particularly the Church, universities and some incorporated city and municipal governments. The English common law, later mostly adopted by the United States, similarly recognized corporations as legal “persons” with the same protections and liabilities as “natural persons.” Corporations, just as wealthy individuals, retained lawyers to navigate the increasing litigation of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. By the nineteenth century, the US government expanded the regulation of corporations, especially through the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, which was designed to eliminate monopolies. Increasing regulation through the Progressive Era required more substantial development of legal divisions to protect companies from potential liability. Federal regulation during the Great Depression added further standards with which companies had to comply.