The English Inns of Court in London had ceased to perform their educational functions in the middle of the seventeenth century. For the next hundred years or so, there was no formal or organized instruction of the English common law. Lawyers, both barristers and solicitors in England and in America, learned their profession as best they could in unstructured situations. They learned by serving as apprentices or clerks to practicing lawyers, by the independent reading of law books, and by observation in the courtroom itself.

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