Introduction, Part 1 to blupete's Essay
"An Essay On Lawyers"
"Mrs. Gibbon, with seeming wisdom, extorted me to take chambers in the Temple, and devote my leisure to the study of the law. I cannot repent of having neglected her advice. Few men, without the spur of necessity, have resolution to force their way through the thorns and thickets of that gloomy labyrinth. Nature had not endowed me with the bold and ready eloquence which makes itself heard amidst the tumult of the bar; and I should probably have been diverted from the labours of literature, without acquiring the fame or fortune of a successful pleader."1With all his fine legal knowledge, a freshly minted lawyer should keep this on the upper layer of his newly packed trunk, full of Latin sayings: Nihil simul inventum est et perfectum - Nothing is invented and perfected at the same moment. The plain fact is that a graduate is going to spend many more years practicing law than he did studying it at law school before he becomes an accomplished lawyer.
"'I haven't found a guano island,' I said. 'It's my belief you wouldn't know one if you were led right up to it by the hand,' He riposted quickly; and in this world you've got to see a thing first, before you can make use of it. Got to see it through and through at that, neither more or less.' 'And get others to see it, too," I insinuated ..." (Conrad, Lord Jim.)It is one thing to have a grasp of the theoretical aspects of the law; it is quite another to become gainfully employed because of your knowledge of it. Practical knowledge comes about as a result of the doing of something repeatedly or continuously by way of study and exercise, as the OED defines, "for the purpose, or with the result, of attaining proficiency." The practice of law, is, as Schiller expressed it, "the control of experience."2
"In extending our knowledge we must keep our eye on the models, be they books or pictures, marbles or bricks. We must, as far as possible, widen our horizons, and be always exercising our wits by constant comparisons. Above all must we ever be on our guard against prejudice, nor should we allow paradox to go about unchained.
I go back to Hume. 'Strong sense united to delicate sentiment, improved by practice, perfected by comparison, and cleared of all prejudice, can alone entitle critics to be judges of the fine arts;' and again he says, 'It is rare to meet with a man who has a just taste without a sound understanding.'"3
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