In 1700 the only methods of legal education in England and Virginia were apprenticeship to a practising lawyer, either a barrister, a solicitor or a court clerk, and independent reading of law books; most persons seeking active membership in the legal profession did an apprenticeship supplemented by reading and observing the courts in action. In 1700 the inns of court had long since ceased to provide legal instruction, and the universities in England and Virginia had not yet begun to do so. The obvious importance of legal education was, however, not overlooked on either side of the Atlantic Ocean.

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