There are at least two general types of lawyers, the court or trial lawyer and the counselor. The first must be a true catechist, a convincing public speaker, keen, alert, resourceful, self-confident, courageous, with a considerable degree of poise and self-control. He may be either aggressive, belligerent, and combative, or mild, persuasive, and non-resistant, but shrewd, intelligent, resourceful. A timid, dreamy, credulous man has no business in the law. A lawyer may love peace, but he should be willing to fight for it.
Because legal ethics forbid a lawyer to advertise or solicit business openly, it is necessary for him to secure a standing and clientele by indirect methods. Best of these is making and keeping friends, by mingling with all classes and conditions of people, by political activity, and in other ways making one’s self agreeable and useful in the community. Thus a lawyer draws to himself the attention of the most desirable class of people. In order to be successful in this, the lawyer must possess qualities of sociability and friendship. A man who is not naturally social or friendly is not well qualified for any profession. Unless he intends to work with a partner who has these qualifications, and who will be the business getter of the firm, he would better leave the law alone.
The second class of lawyer, the counsellor, is more of the judicial type. He is quite likely to be stout or to have the indications of approaching stoutness. He should be calm, deliberate, cautious, prudent, capable of handling details, a man with a splendid memory and with the capacity for acquiring a great fund of knowledge about all kinds of things. He should be able to take an interest in almost any kind of business or profession and quickly master its fundamentals.
Men of the high-strung, nervous, timid, self-conscious, sentimental class are sadly out of place in the law. While they may be abundantly well equipped for success from an intellectual standpoint, physically and emotionally they are utterly unfit for it. A young man once sought us for counsel who had spent many years in colleges and universities acquiring one of the finest legal educations possible in this country. Because of his intellectual equipment, the study of the law was fascinating to him, and both his parents and his professors in law school expected him to make a brilliant success in practice. What was his intense disappointment, as well as theirs, when he opened an office, to find that almost everything connected with the practice of law was distasteful to him, so that he found himself incapable of doing it successfully. For several years he had made a desperate attempt to succeed and to learn to like his profession, but every day only made him hate it more ardently. As a natural result he did poorer and poorer work at it.