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what is chiefly needed in a junior counsel is a knowledge of law, whereas the grand requisites in a leader' are coolness, judgment, and skill in speech-making. All these last three qualities are possessed in a remarkable degree by Sir Longrobe Bigwig, and hence his rapid success at the barafter he had once doffed the stuff
of ‘junior,' and had assumed the silk gown of a Queen's Counsel-is easily to be explained. Many men, however, who 'took silk' at the same time as Sir Longrobe Bigwig, have not been so fortunate. Most of these men had good practices as junior counsel, but they have never been able-nor indeed were they ever fitted—to succeed as leaders.
To show you, my reader, how different the duties of a leader' in a case are from those of a “junior,' let us watch for a little while a trial at nisi prius, in which Sir Longrobe Bigwig leads' for the plaintiff. He has 'with him' (as lawyers say) Mr. Page as his junior. So soon as the twelve special jurymen have been marshalled into the box, and the associate of the court has called out Jones v. Brown,' Mr. Page rises, his eyes fixed upon his brief, and in an all but inaudible voice, says, 'Gentlemen of the Jury, the plaintiffs in this case are John Jones and William Jones, and the defendants are James Brown and Charles Brown. The declaration states that the plaintiffs were possessed of a certain ship, and the defendants were possessed of a certain steam tug, and the defendants agreed to tow the plaintiff's said ship from Wastford to Daleham ; but in the course of such towage they conducted themselves so negligently, that the plaintiff's ship was driven against a bridge and sunk. To this the defendants have pleaded two pleas, the first of which traverses the agreement to tow, and the second is a denial of the negligence, and upon these pleas issue has been joined.'
Having thus, as it is technically termed, 'opened the pleadings,' Mr. Page subsides into his seat, leaving the jury in much bewilderment as to what is meant by a declaration,' a 'plea,' and a 'traverse.' No sooner has Mr. Page sat down than Sir Longrobe Bigwig rises, like a tower, and proceeds to state the plaintiff's case to the jury. This he does briefly, for it is one of his maxims to open a case to a jury very cautiously, and, as he himself says, 'to keep his strength in' for the reply. That this is sound policy no one can doubt. Were Sir Longrobe Bigwig in his opening speech, to state in detail what his witnesses were going to say, it is quite possible that some of them might failto use the slang of the bar—'to swear up to his opening,' when they got into the witness box. This would of course prove damaging to the plaintift's case, as it would be certain to be adversely commented on by the counsel for:the defendants. Sir Longrobe Bigwigʻtherefore confines himself in his opening address to the jury to giving them merely such a general outline of the plaintift's case as will enable them to understand the evidence of the witnesses who are to be called before them. This task, which is a more difficult one than may perhaps be at first supposed, Sir Longrobe Bigwig does with wonderful ease. Indeed, no small part of his reputation as an eminent leader has been gained by the skill which he invariably displays in explaining cases, however intricate, to a jury.
So soon as Sir Longrobe Bigwig has finished his opening speech, his junior, Mr. Page, examines the first witness for the plaintiff, Sir Longrobe Bigwig takes the second, Mr. Page the third, Sir Longrobe Bigwig the fourth, and so on alternately, until all the witnesses for the plaintiff have been examined. Besides examining every alternate witness for the plaintiff, Sir Longrobe Bigwig re-examines each of the plaintiff's witnesses after they have been crossexamined by the defendant's counsel. The task of setting a witness on his legs again (in re-examination) after he has been severely mauled in crossexamination by the opposing counsel, is one which needs, it will be readily perceived, the exercise of both skill and patience.
- After the defendant's counsel have opened their case, the task of cross-examining each of the witnesses whom they call falls upon Sir Longrobe Bigwig. Now I may affirm without fear of contradiction that let a man's natural talents for advocacy be what they may, nothing but long and constant practice in court will enable him to cross-examine with effect. In truth, I might almost say that the first requisite for making a good cross-examiner is experience, and the second is experience, and the third is experience. It is, also, necessary, in order that a man may become a really able crossexaminer, that he shall possess quickness of obser-vation ; a power of almost instinctively seeing whether a witness is speaking the whole truth, or is keeping something back; and dexterity in framing questions. Sir Longrobe Bigwig possesses in a remarkable degree all the faculties which I have just named, and it is greatly owing to his exercise of them, that he has risen to be such an eminent leader.
The popular notion of cross-examination is that it simply consists in bullying the witnesses, and there are undoubtedly men at the English bar who are bullies, and nothing more.
But these men, my
reader, are only poor practitioners of the great art of cross-examination, and whenever they find themselves opposed to witnesses of education and ability they are completely foiled. If you watch Sir Longrobe Bigwig as he cross-examines the defendants' witnesses in the present case, you will see that so far from bullying them he addresses them with a studied blandness of manner. Bigwig's art indeed consists in eliciting, by his suave manner and by his skill in framing his questions, admissions from the witnesses which they never intended to make.
After Sir Longrobe Bigwig has finished his crossexamination of the defendants' witnesses,-from whom he has managed to quietly elicit several important facts,—the defendants' counsel sums his case up to the jury; and it then becomes the duty of Sir Longrobe Bigwig to reply upon the part of the plaintiff upon the whole case. Now if there be one thing in which (say the admirers of Sir Longrobe Bigwig) his skill as an advocate is more conspicuously displayed than in any other, it is when he is speaking ‘in reply.' Some men (Sir Longrobe Bigwig's friends admit) surpass him as a cross-examiner; others again can state a case to a jury quite as lucidly as he can; but in reply,' Sir Longrobe Bigwig (his friends maintain) has no