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haps it would be fairer to say that their struggle for existence is neither helped nor hampered by questions of relative rank.
Mere questions of precedence aside, however, the whole scheme of legal life in Great Britain is built upon the hard and fast division between the barrister on the one hand and the solicitor on the other. It is a distinction which tradition, custom and positive law combine to maintain inviolate and inviolable; and to say that it is analogous to the difference with which we are familiar between the court lawyer” and the office lawyer," tells but half the story. Pollock & Maitland assert that historically considered “ these two branches have different roots; the attorney represents his client and appears in his client's place, while the countor speaks in behalf of a litigant who is present in court either in person or by attorney." This was certainly true as far back as 1286 for recognized countors or advocates were already performing their function when the Statute of Merton granted to every free man the right to be represented at the county, trything, hundred, wapentake and minor courts, by an attorney, whose right, however, to address the court seems to have been doubtful. Under Edward the First, the English Justinian, a definite class of English lawyers makes its appearance, and toward the close of the thirteenth century we find statutory evidence of their respective functions in an ordinance passed by no lesser potentates than the Mayor and Aldermen of London, forbidding any countor to practice also as an attorney.
The separation thus begun between the two orders continues to this day and shows itself not only in function but in education, in dress, in legal status, in relationship to clients, in compensation, and not least of all, in eligibility for public office. Thus a barrister educated at one of the Inns of Court and admitted by its benchers to the Bar enjoys in his wig and gown a singular immunity from legal restraint. He is not an officer of the court, and the court neither admits him to practice nor has power to disbar him from his profession. He takes no oath of service, nor even of allegiance, for an alien may enjoy full professional status at the English Bar. No tax is levied upon his right to practice and no statute undertakes to regulate the compensation which
he shall receive. On the other hand he cannot of his own motion and without previous instruction of a solicitor, commence, carry on or defend any action except when retained in open court by a criminal in the dock. He has no direct access to his client, and can neither sue the latter for his fees nor be sued in turn for any negligence in the performance of his duties. He must accept all briefs tendered to him in any of the courts in which he professes to practice when accompanied by the offer of a proper fee, yet can associate no partner with himself to divide his labors and responsibility. The functions which he is permitted to perform fall into three classes, i. e.—advising upon questions of law; drafting pleadings, conveyances and other documents; and acting as an advocate in the courts. So long as he is of the junior Bar he may receive pupils in his Chambers; but once made King's Counsel this and the labors of drafting are beneath his professional dignity. To him and to him alone are open all the judicial offices of the Kingdom as well as the great political posts of Lord Chancellor, Attorney General and Solicitor General.
How different the lot of the solicitor! The law, it is true, gives him a quasi monopoly of litigation by ordaining that no one but a properly enrolled solicitor or a litigant in his own person can
sue out any writ or process, or commence, carry on, solicit or defend any action, suit, or any other, proceeding in any court in England, or act as a solicitor in any cause, matter or suit, civil or criminal.” But it accompanies this grant with a degree of statutory regulation and legal supervision to which perhaps no other profession is anywhere subject. From professional birth to legal death, the solicitor moves in the shadow of the law he serves. As an officer of the court, he must preface his admission by an oath of faithful service, and preserve his status from year to year by taking out an annual certificate on which a tax is paid. The signature of the Master of the Rolls is necessary for his admission but the Law Society which has the rolls in its keeping, may oust him from his calling for any act of professional misconduct or personal immorality. His fees are rigidly prescribed by none too generous statute, and unless he has sheltered himself behind the advice of some presumptively omniscient barrister, damages may be recovered from him for any negligence. He must be a British subject; and while, as the present Prime Minister has brilliantly demonstrated, he may attain the highest political office in the state, yet among legal offices only the most petty are open to him, and his voice may be heard only in the Chancery Chambers, the Bankruptcy Court of First Instance, County Courts and minor tribunals.
The choice between the one life and the other is one that cannot be made at convenience. It must be made at setting out, for there is no part of the road which the neophytes of the two professions travel together. For the intending barrister the initial step is enrollment at one of the Inns of Court. There is an old bit of doggerel for the guidance of the student which runs thus :
“ The Inner for the rich man,
The Middle for the poor man,
And Gray's for the boor." The necessity for rhyming some word with poor is the only reason apparent for this libel upon Gray's Inn. If a student contemplates practice at the Chancery Bar, he will follow custom and attach himself to Lincoln's Inn, which no doubt traces its traditional preference for Chancery to the days when the courts of the Vice-Chancellor were located on the ground which it now occupies. The Inner and the Middle Temple are more especially the Inns of the common law barrister. The Middle is by tradition the most catholic and democratic of all the Inns, while the Inner, larger at present in point of numbers, is recruited largely from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and it is supposed to entertain certain aristocratic leanings. Gray's Inn, the smallest of the four in point of numbers, makes no choice between the chancery and the common law bars. It possesses, however, a mellowness and charm of its own, and claims as its patron saints Queen Elizabeth, Lord Bacon and Lord Chief Justice Coke. When an incendiary bomb from a German airplane pierced its roof, it narrowly escaped the Crown of Martyrdom.
In government and custom there is little room for choice. All four of the Inns are voluntary incorporated societies wholly independent of the State and of each other, although they have chosen to act together in providing for the education and examination of students, and in defining the conditions for a call to the Bar. Their membership is divided between students, utter barristers and benchers. The Masters of the Bench are the governing body of the Inn, filling their ranks from time to time by cooptation from the barristers of more than ten years' standing. It is they who decide what patrons shall be admitted as students and what students shall be called to the Bar. When the barrister has donned his gown, it is they who supervise his professional conduct and who may for sufficient cause inflict upon him the ultimate penalty of dismissal from the profession. So long as he remains at the Bar, the barrister is subject to their supervision, for to retire from the membership of his Inn, unless indeed he becomes a member of another, is to forfeit his right to continue in practice. The Committee on Membership of the American Bar Association may well heave a sigh of envy at thought of such a system.
To discuss in detail the preparation necessary for admission to the Bar would be beyond the scope of this address. It is enough to say that the student must address himself to a double duty; first, keeping terms, and second, passing examinations. The socalled dining terms of the Inns are four in each year lasting three weeks each. Twelve terms or three full years, in the absence of some special dispensation, must be kept by dining in hall. Three days in each term is sufficient for those who are students in some university, six days for those less fortunate; and in order no doubt that the student may improve in morals as well as in mind, no attendance is counted in his favor unless he be present at grace both before and after meals. The examinations which precede his call are prescribed on behalf of the four Inns by the Council on Legal Education upon which all the Inns are represented. A course of preparatory lectures arranged by the Council, which the student is at liberty to attend or ignore; but whatever method of instruction he may choose, he must absorb sufficient information to pass the required examinations and must digest the quantity of food to which his dining terms constrain him.
The segregation of his intended calling is made clear by the fact that he must pledge himself upon his entrance (as well as upon his call) that he does not and will not directly or indirectly act in the capacity of “solicitor, attorney at law, writer to the Signet, writer of the Scotch courts, proctor, notary public, clerk in chancery, parliamentary agent, agent in any court, original or appellate, or to any justice of the peace, registrar or high bailiff of any court, officially professed assistant, or deputy receiver and liquidator in any bankruptcy or winding up act, chartered, incorporated or professional accountant, land agent, surveyor, patent agent, consulting engineer, clerk to any judge, barrister conveyancer, special pleader or equity draftsman, clerk of the peace, or clerk to any officer of any court of justice.” and moreover that he is neither engaged in trade nor an undischarged bankrupt. Only when he has purged himself of all such lesser ambitions is he ready for the society of the Bar.
Except for the necessity of examination there is little that is similar in the making of a solicitor. Straight is the gait and narrow is the way which he must travel on his professional path. The steps are four in number; first, he must serve as a clerk for years under a practicing solicitor; second, he must pass the required examinations, conceded to be even more exacting than those demanded from the barrister; third, he must be duly admitted and enrolled ; last, he must take out a proper certificate to practice. By the articles of clerkship he binds himself to the service of a practicing solicitor, paying him an agreed premium for his tutelage. In one such contract I recall the amount to have been 250 pounds, the addition of a stamp duty of eighty pounds to be affixed under penalty. The articles when executed must be enrolled and registered at the offices of the Law Society. How rigidly they bind the novitiate appears from the fact that before he enters upon any duty or engages in any employment whatever other than that stipulated in the articles, whether in or out of office hours, he must obtain his principal's consent and the sanction of the judge. Even though the employment in no way interferes with his service under the articles, there is no relaxation of the rules, and the penalty is the loss of credit for so much of his five years' term as had elapsed before the offence. Thus where it appeared that an articled clerk had acted without permission as clerk to a Parish Vestry, which seems rather an innoc