There are three thousand lawyers practicing at the New York bar. A few of these have large incomes, two or three making as much as fifty thousand dollars per annum; but the average income of the majority is limited. An income of ten or fifteen thousand dollars is considered large in the profession, and the number of those earning such a sum is small.

In most cities the members of the legal profession form a clique, and are very clannish. Each one knows everybody else, and if one member of the bar is assailed, the rest are prompt to defend him. In New York, however, there is no such thing as a legal "fraternity." Each man is wrapped in his own affairs, and knows little and cares less about other members of the profession. We have been surprised to find how little these men know about each other. Some have never even heard of others who are really prosperous and talented.

The courts of the city are very numerous; and each man, in entering upon his practice, makes a specialty of some one or more of them, and confines himself to them. His chances of success are better for doing this, than they would be by adopting a general practice. Indeed, it would be simply impossible for one man to practice in all.

Many of the best lawyers rarely go into the courts. They prefer chamber practice, and will not try a case in court if they can help it. The process in the courts is slow and vexatious, and consumes too much of their time. Their chamber practice is profitable to them, and beneficial to the community, as it prevents much tedious litigation.

Many lawyers with fair prospects and comfortable incomes, who are succeeding in their profession in other places, come to New York, expecting to rise to fame and fortune more rapidly here. They are mistaken. The most accomplished city barrister finds success a slow and uncertain thing. It takes some unusually fortunate circumstance to introduce a new lawyer favorably to a New York public.

The profession in this city can boast of some eminent names in its list of members, amongst which are those of Charles O'Conor, William M. Evarts, the present Attorney-General of the United States, James F. Brady, David Dudley Field, and William J. A. Fuller. These, or any of them, are men of the first ability in their profession, and are amongst the most honored citizens of the metropolis.