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English Society Illustrated [imagemap with 7 links]
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'Solicitors' and 'barristers' comprised the two major ranks of the legal profession.

Solicitors, also known as attorneys, had lower social status. They dealt with the extensive paperwork and business minutia common to the law -- wills, land titles, real estate documents, apprenticeship contracts, and so on. The solicitor himself trained for his career through an apprenticeship.

Barristers, who enjoyed a greater status at the upper echelon of the legal profession, were assisted by solicitors in preparing cases. Having attended one of the four Inns of Court in London and having been "called to the bar," barristers were able to argue cases in the Court of Chancery, supreme court for issues involving legacies, wills and trusts. Their success often depended upon who they knew, their reputation and their family's social standing.

Cynthia is careful to point out Mr. Henderson's accurate title when discussing him with Lady Cumnor in Wives and Daughters, Part Six, Chapter LVII:

[Lady Cumnor]: '... I understand that Mr -- ' looking about for some help as to the name she had forgotten - 'Anderson - Henderson is in the law. Although there is a general prejudice against attorneys, I have known of two or three who were very respectable men; and I am sure Mr Henderson is one, or your good mother and our old friend Gibson would not have sanctioned the engagement.'

'He is a barrister,' put in Cynthia, unable to restrain herself any longer. 'Barrister-at-law.'

'Ah, yes. Attorney-at-law. Barrister-at-law. I understand without your speaking so loud, my dear...'

English Society Illustrated:
Introduction | Earl & Countess | Duchess | Lord & Lady
Squire | Young Lady | Doctor & Apprentice | Barrister
Land Agent | Governess | Servants

Essays + Interviews | 19th C. Women Writers | English Society Illustrated
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