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in the sea of life. I had such ephemeral acquaintance by the hundred; but they rarely stick by one for any practical good: the majority of them are themselves embarked in the same great adventure of professional speculation, and consequently have themselves to look to first, and little leisure and less inclination to assist others who may perchance hereafter prove their rivals. Moreover the frankness of youth discloses its defects as well as its merits, and it is rare indeed that boys carry their favorable recollections of a school-fellow to the age of maturity. It is among those with whom business, in its proper sense, brings us first acquainted, that we must seek to establish a connexion; and if that connexion is to be permanent, their tastes, their tempers, and their habits, must be as much the subject of our study, as the redress of their injuries, or the protection of their rights. Such is the selfimportance of mankind, that it is thought no common favor by a senior to allow a young man even one opportunity of rendering himself acceptable in his profession. Clients are not very ready to intrust themselves to juvenile advice; and if by the entreaty or influence of friends, or by any other accident they are in duced to do so, not only do they expect most deferential gratitude, but they scan with an illiberal and almost inquisitorial eye, every word and gesture that in men of longer standing would be overlooked. Let me not be misunderstood. Anything approaching to obsequious servility is disgraceful to a member of a liberal profession, however young: any disposition to precipitate familiarity, or any unbecoming descent to the low habits of vulgar society, because wealthy clients may occasionally be found in it, is discreditable, and for the most part disgusting, even to those who are the objects of such unworthy conciliation. A solicitor must never forget that he is his client's adviser; and that the very act of asking advice implies an acknowledged superiority of information or of judgment in the party consulted.
But it is perfectly consistent with necessary self-respect to fall in with the feelings, and be kindly indulgent even to the prejudices and whims of a client; he is very often more taken with this good-natured sympathy than with the most brilliant parade of learning, or the most triumphant success. In fact, clients come to
their solicitor to be consoled, as often as to be assisted: and a prompt self-adaptation to their oddities, a cheerful chiming-in with their fancies, a silent acquiescence in their infirmities of pride or temper, will rivet the confidence which chance only perhaps, or at best a patronizing spirit, has first induced them to repose.
To do this skillfully, and to avoid all mal a propos allusions, like the gaucheries to which I have just confessed, a man must take some little trouble to inform himself of his client's domestic position. In taking instructions for wills or family settlements, this is so obviously indispensable, that it cannot be avoided; but some of the cases that I have above narrated, will prove that it is equally requisite on occasions that scarcely appear to trench at all on the domestic relations. Without some insight into such matters, we can never judge to what extent our advice may not be counteracted by the paramount influence of a wife, a partner, or even a more remote connexion. It once fell to my lot to solicit a bankrupt's certificate, where there were nearly a hundred creditors to be canvassed : I found my applications fruitless in three cases out of five, till I had enlisted the wife in my service, and then all was plain sailing. I have, at the present time, an extensive circle of clients, all of whom are more or less allied to a gentleman of deserved reputation for good sense and a clear head, though but littlo versed in business. I am rarely consulted by one in this circle, upon a mixed question of law and prudence, but I am told, “I must ask my cousin what he thinks of the matter; ” this cousin being somewhat timid withal, I have sometimes found my counsel rejected through his resistance, and generally to the injury of my client. Yet I do not feel it politic to deprecate such appeals. I always yield to them as satisfactory to my client, however little so to myself.
It is not difficult to collect this kind of information without appearing to seek it officiously. I have now and then pointedly asked a man who has seemed half distrustful of my advice, if he has no intimate friend that we could take into our counsel ? whether his wife or his son feels an interest in the affair? whether he is on such terms with his family as to be sure of their approbation, however things might turn out? if such an investment, or such a proceeding would bring him into unpleasant collision with his partners, his correspondents, his customers, etc.; and such questions, if put with tact, usually elicit sufficient of his feelings or his apprehensions to enable one to detect his weak side, and avoid the risk of unconsciously wounding it. In all cases of character, such as libels, breach of trust, non-performance of contract, or composition with creditors, these inquiries are due even to the party himself.