22 JULY 1882, Page 14



SIR,—Your article of July 15th on " Solicitors and the Public " invites comment. The question is,--What is a standard of efficiency for solicitors P Not mere knowledge of law. A man may be a learned pundit, and yet a very had adviser. The excellence of a solicitor lies in his practical knowledge of the world, his common-sense, his tact, and his administration, so to speak, of his clients' affairs. Such excellence only comes by experience, and a certain talent or aptness for the profession. There is no standard of efficiency, except the opinion of the public. Until the two branches of the profession become amal- gamated, the barrister must be looked to for the higher law- The scope of the two branches is essentially different. A special examination for admission to membership of the Incor- porated Law Society is impracticable, and, moreover, would not benefit the public. The present mode of admission, as to a club, guarantees a status not possessed by all. Admitting that there are many black-sheep amongst solicitors, is not the public responsi- ble to a great extent for their existence ? If people will have recourse to men whose chief qualification, in their eyes, is that of charging less than others, they must reap the consequences of attempting to purchase their law below the market price.. The client's affairs suffer, and in the end he finds cheap law dear at any price. More stringent regulations are certainly needed to protect the public against the malpractices of solicitors, but this, I say, should be a matter of legislation. It is beyond the aims of a mere " trade union." It is, unfor- tunately, too true that the barrister's wig covers more sins than the solicitor's brains. The practical irresponsibility of the Bar is a striking anomaly, and the theory that a barrister's services are merely honorary, is a fiction too absurd to be tolerated any longer. Admitting the unavoidable class bias with which T