This chapter examines the professional or career advancement of barristers in early modern England. During Elizabethan and early Stuart England, common lawyers were generally seen as rising men, even without sufficient data on how many lawyers actually rose and how far they ascended. A report released in the early 1600s revealed that more than 200 families had been raised to nobility or at least gentility by a lawyer forebear. This chapter discusses how and why men came to take up the profession, outlines the bar's cursus honorum, and examines the means by which early modern common lawyers rose and fell.
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