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In the cases which are heard before the equity judges at Lincoln's Inn all the counsel who are retained in them successively address the court ' from the greatest even unto the least,' or, in other words, from the oldest Q.C. to the youngest stripling who has received a brief (by special favour) in the cause. The youngest counsel of all—who speaks, of course, last--invariably commences his speech by remarking that he follows on the same side as his learned friends who have just addressed the court.' He then proceeds to remark that after the exhaustive speeches,' to which the judge has just listened, he does not propose to occupy more than a very few minutes of his Honour's time. After which if he be a young man who is likely to rise in his profession—he will address the court for upwards of an hour, and he will, during that period of time, serve up a réchauffe of the arguments which have already been used by his learned leaders rather than hazard any new (and probably doubtful) ones of his own. By pursuing this wise and prudent course he will assuredly find favour in the eyes of the solicitors who have given him a brief in the case, and who will remark one unto another, when he at length concludes his speech, that Mr. Youngfellow is a very promising young counsel, and one who is likely in time to make a very "safe" and valuable junior in a case.'
No great injury moreover-save a slight waste of the public time—has been sustained by reason of Mr. Youngfellow's addressing the court for an hour. His leaders, you may rest assured, have not listened to a word he has said, for they have been all the time deep in the voluminous briefs which have been delivered to them in other cases. As for the judge, be sure that he has not heard one word which Mr. Youngfellow has uttered. His Honour's power of abstracting his mind from surrounding circumstances is indeed so great that the instant he saw Mr. Youngfellow rise to his feet he immediately withdrew his attention from his court at Lincoln's Inn, and reflected within himself whether he should yield to his wife's wishes, and allow her to give a ball; whether if Captain De Boots did really propose to his eldest daughter Mary, he should give the young folks his blessing or insist instead upon her making a better match ; whether he ought not to ask his old friend Baldwin (though he was now a little out of elbows) to dinner, &c., &c. His Honour will then write five letters, which he feels he ought to have written days ago, and after doing so he will proceed to deliver a judgment in the case—Mr. Youngfellow having by this time finished his speech—the lucidity of which will be only equalled by the knowledge of the facts of the case which it displays. His Honour had, in point of fact, quite made up his mind as to the judgment which he ought to deliver before Mr. Youngfellow rose to address the court, but he feels upon the whole rather obliged to that young gentleman for having afforded him a spare hour wherein to do so many odd jobs which needed to be attended to!
Chancery barristers as a rule regard their work as being more 'genteel' than that of their brethren at the Common Law Bar, and I confess that I think that there are grounds for this belief of theirs. Undoubtedly, juniors at the Chancery Bar have not to do nearly so much of what I may call 'rough and tumble work' on first starting in their professional career as have juniors at the Common Law Bar. Another advantage which Chancery barristers have over their brethren of Westminster Hall is that they are spared both the expense and the trouble of going circuit. As the judges of the Court of Chancery never leave Lincoln's Inn, Chancery barristers can remain in their chambers in London from the second day of November till the seventh day of August—upon which latter blissful day the legal long vacation com. mences—whereas. Common Law barristers have to leave London to attend circuit and sessions six or seven times in the course of each legal year.
There is yet another point in which young Chancery barristers have a 'pull' over junior counsel at the Common Law Bar. It is in relation to that peculiar institution of the English Bar which goes in the profession by the name of "devilling.' Jones is "devilling " that brief for Smith' is a phrase which, though it is common enough amongst barristers, must be caviare to the outside world. The explanation of it is, however, simple enough. Mi. Smith is a barrister in large practice, who has not yet solved the problem of how to be in two places at once. He therefore hands over his brief in a cause which has just been called on before the Master of the Rolls to his friend Jones, whilst he himself proceeds to argue in a more important case, which is being simultaneously heard before the Lords Justices of Appeals. Now, Mr. Jones, in return for 'devilling' his friend Smith's brief (in other words, for doing Smith's work for him), would, in accordance with the custom at the Chancery Bar, receive half of Mr. Smith's fee, but supposing Mr. Jones to be at the Common Law Bar, he would, in accordance with the practice in vogue there, receive nothing whatever for rendering his friend Mr. Smith the same service. It is, of course, true that in arguing Mr. Smith's case the opportunity is afforded to Mr. Jones of distinguishing himself—sometimes unhappily also of extinguishing himself—and in this way by devilling' briefs many men have got a first start at the Bar.
A propos of 'devilling' I may remark that the gentleman who at the Common Law Bar fills the post of Junior Counsel to the Treasury is always styled amongst barristers the 'Attorney-General's Devil,' because he'devils,' or, in other words, assists the Attorney-General in his work whenever that high functionary is too busy to attend to all his duties. This post of Attorney-General's devil'is much coveted amongst ‘juniors' at the Common Law Bar, because its holder--who is always a 'stuff-gownsman '—is almost invariably raised to the judicial bench. The analogous post at the Chancery Bar—so far at least as regards the certainty of promotion to be attained by its holderis that of Vice-Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. This last-named office is frequently conferred upon one of the most eminent juniors at the Chancery Bar, who is nearly always afterwards promoted to a seat upon the judicial bench in one of the Courts of Chancery.
I may conclude this paper by remarking that