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that the late Lord Justice Bowen once told me, when he was at the bar and already successful, that he thought that beside patience and talent a man must have luck. But, so far as I have noticed, luck generally comes to patience and talent, if coupled with love of the thing, as the Lord Chief Justice so truly adds.
In this country there seems to be as good a chance to succeed at the bar as in other callings, and I should not think that much depended on luck for a man of the right sort. Sometimes, too, the law has been the starting-point for a business career, and always it has offered an opening into politics.
For the last quarter of a century a large part of our best talent has gone into business rather than into politics, doubtless because it was more needed there and therefore the rewards were higher. It has been more important that the country should be developed than that it should be governed by the greatest skill. But there can be no doubt that we need all the ability we can get in our government at the present time and that we shall want, if we can get them, trained lawyers as well as economists in our legislatures.
But here again the situation is different from that in England; and political life generally means giving up the law for the time and rather a falling off in legal capacity, although I should not advise any one to sleep on that consideration if he should be trying a case against Senator Hoar.
In one of the most beautiful pieces of English in the world, the essay called The Lantern-Bearers, Mr. Robert Louis Stevenson shows us how in their hearts all men are idealists. The only criticism which I should make upon his adorable essay is that his examples find their ideals outside their daily pursuits.
“Who sweeps a room as for Thy laws,
has an intellectual as well as a moral meaning. If the world is a subject for rational thought it is all of one piece; the same laws are found everywhere, and everything is connected with everything else; and if this is so, there is nothing mean, and nothing in which may not be seen the universal law.
The difference between gossip and philosophy lies only in one's way of taking a fact. The law may lead to high things those who stay in it as well as those who pass beyond but not above it to other forms of command.
BY THE LORD CHIEF JUSTICE OF ENGLAND
I HAVE read the comments on "The Bar as a Profession,” by Mr. Justice Holmes, with interest and with some surprise. With much that the learned judge says I find myself in agreement. On two main points I find myself differing from him. In the first place I regard university training as much more important than the learned judge appears to do. Robust minds can do much to make good the want of it, but to make an accomplished lawyer in the sense in which Chief Justice Marshall, Lord Mansfield and Sir William Grant, amongst others, answered that description, I regard university culture as almost indispensable.
My surprise in the next place arises from the depreciatory view which Mr. Justice Holmes seems to take of the value of the study of Roman law. Under that head I of course include not only the Corpus Juris, but also that body of text law, mainly German, which deals not only with the historical and scientific side of Roman law, but which, by modernizing it, has rejected much of the early Roman law now obsolete.
No one can read the judgments of your great Chief Justice Marshall or the writings of Story or of Kent without seeing how much, in arrangement and in breadth of view, they owe to the study of Roman law.
Mr. Justice Holmes speaks truly and with just pride of the system of legal education in the United States. It is in my opinion far superior to that existing in these islands. Its superiority I think mainly consists in its systematic teaching of the historical and scientific aspects of law before the actual, practical, workaday law is dealt with.
To the absence of this system I largely attribute the facts — which I deplore that with but few exceptions our legal treatises are analyses of decided cases, our legal arguments at the bar are a nice discrimination of those cases, and the deliverances from the judges but little more than able efforts to establish analogies or differences between the case in hand and reported authority. I think also the form if not the substance of legislation is injuriously affected by the same cause.
If this state of things is to be remedied, it can only be by early training in law, historically and systematically taught, and I can imagine no such teaching from which the Roman law can be excluded. I need hardly say that in any study of comparative law the Roman system must find a prominent place.
The learned judge speaks of the broader and more profound generalizations reached in our time. May I suggest to him that even now, after the lapse of centuries, the De regulis juris still speaks with a living voice? Again, I cannot agree that the main roots of our law are Frankish they are mainly of native growth - and still less that the “last will” is almost the only conception of first-rate importance which originates in the Roman law. But I would prefer to suggest other authority than my own in favor of the views I propound.
It happens that I have recently had to read the report known as that of the Gresham Commission (1894), before which were examined a number of distinguished men on the subject of the establishment of a legal faculty in connection with a teaching university in London. Amongst these were Lord Coleridge, Lord Bowen, Prof. J. Bryce, M. P., Lord Davey, Professor Westlake, and last, but by no means least, Prof. E. H. Emmott of the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. Each of these high authorities was emphatic as to the importance of the study of Roman law in any high system of legal training.
In The Bar as a Profession, I have suggested a high ideal of the accomplished lawyer — one who may make a great advocate, a great judge, a great writer, or a great legislator, or all of these. I do not deny that without the liberal equipment which I would desire, men of ability may make large incomes and even have distinguished careers at the bar, but I maintain that their careers would have been still more distinguished, their marks on their generation graven still deeper, and their contributions to the wisdom of the world still weightier, had they possessed it.