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cessful on the general merits. It is a very pleasant thing, no doubt, to have to tell your client, “Oh yes, Sir! we have succeeded for you; but instead of receiving costs, you will have forty or fifty pounds to pay to your opponent.” Independently of this, a hundred accidents may occur, all tending to multiply costs. A witness may be ill, and the record must be withdrawn; a bill for discovery may be advised; an injunction may be obtained by the defendant; a cross action may be brought; indispensable witnesses may have made a trip to Naples or New York, and must be examined on interrogatories; in a word, so many deviations may, and generally do occur, that no prudent solicitor will ever insure his client against the amount of costs, unless in the most general, and therefore the most unsatisfactory way. The right answer is, “If costs are an object, settle your quarrel out of court, as best you may:" and to clients themselves, I may observe, that if an attorney is disposed to be dishonest, no skill can avail them against overcharges; for his charges may be individually reasonable, and even low, but so needlessly frequent, as to make the sum total of his bill nothing less than fraudulent, though none but a brother-attorney can detect the fraud. It is often the case with mean and illiberal clients, that they submit their attorney's bill to another practitioner, unknown to him. Every solicitor should be prepared for this; for I have known too many instances, where to curry favor with a new acquaintance, or to acquire on easy terms a credit for moderation, an attorney has pronounced severe and mischievous judgment on the costs of his respectable neighbor, though all in the profession would rightly consign the critic himself to the shades of Newgate, as an incorrigible thief.
How my unprofessional readers will stare (if I chance to find any), when I remark that one of the most difficult problems that an attorney has to solve, is to what extent he may properly make any charge at all! Yet I rejoice to say, for it is to the credit of my profession, that with the respectable members of it, this is frequently a preplexing question. It occurs in many ways; the most common is this : an old and
aluable client becomes acquainted with a case of great hardship, and perhaps oppression, involving legal points; he calls on his attorney,
and avowedly on benevolent impulse, asks his opinion; the opinion involves, as a matter of course, inquiry into fact and evidence, for very few clients understand the value of the one, or detail the other with accuracy; the sufferer is sent to explain his grievance: it admits of redress; the client liberally offers to indemnify against disbursements; the attorney can do no less than waive profits; and thus a suit is begun gratuitously, partly from charitable feeling, yet more from anxiety to oblige a client, and time and labor are soon bestowed to a most inconvenient extent. In a simple case like this, there is no help for it: matters must proceed to an end in the usual routine, and compensation must be found in conscience; but this simple case admits of many variations, and then the difficulty begins. The client may go no further than just asking an opinion; the opinion is, on the whole, favorable; the injured pauper is not poor enough to claim a pauper's privilege; if you desert him, you offend your client, who, ignorant of the expense, as well as trouble that the offer implies, expects you will spontaneously take up the case; partial success follows; a wrong - headed jury,—and nineteen out of twenty are wrong-headed,-give ten pounds damages for a broken leg, when they would not have their own gouty toes trod upon for fifty; some thirty more are recovered for taxed costs, and (the case has occurred to myself) after receiviug these “party and party” allowances, you remain more than twenty out of pocket. You may gain a verdict for your pauper client, and swallow up all the fruits of his triumph, even to repay extra costs out of pocket! Reason and equity would say in such a case, that the attorney is excusable for pocketing the damages, as well as the costs; yet character and interest forbid it. It is a hard case: but the attorney must relinquish all, though successful; and to retain the character of a gentleman, must abandon, not only remuneration, but bare indemnity. The most annoying of all causes that a man can undertake, is where he recovers damages, moderate or temperate damages, as they are called, that is to say, fifty pounds for the loss of an eye, or thirty for the crippling of a limb, for a humble client thrust apon him by a wealthy patron, or adopted out of Christian charity! How often have I known jurymen
vaunt with self-complacency, of their justice, when some poor devil has obtained from this same justice, just enough to pay his surgeon's bill, after having been disabled for life by a drunken coachman, or a larking dandy; while the attorney, who has brought the action from mere compassion, has had the pleasure of hearing himself branded by counsel, as a wretch prowling about the streets for quarrels, and obtains for his benevolence, taxed costs that will just pay for coach-hire and a blue bag to take his papers home! I lament to add that I never heard of counsel relinquishing fees for a successful pauper; though I have known many in which the attorney of that pauper has been left to pay such fees out of his own pocket.
There are other instances, where even among the wealthy, good feeling prohibits an attorney from asking costs. As a general rule, it may be laid down that they never should be taken from a charity purse. The retainer may be refused: but if accepted, nothing can be claimed, but money actually expended. Sometimes, however, yet greater liberality should be shown. It once fell to my lot to be consulted by a poor clergyman, who enjoyed a small benefice in the