The life of a barrister is odd. It has always been odd. Here is part of an account (from 1742) of the life of Chief Justice Saunders (all judges were former barristers):
The Lord Chief Justice Saunders succeeded in the Room of Pemberton. His Character, and his Beginning, were equally strange. He was at first no better than a poor Beggar Boy, if not a Parish Foundling, without known Parents, or Relations. He had found a way to live by Obsequiousness (in Clement’s Inn, as I remember) and courting the Attornies Clerks for Scraps. The extraordinary Observance and Diligence of the Boy, made the Society willing to do him good. He appeared very ambitious to learn to write; and one of the Attornies got a Board knocked up at a Window on the Top of the Staircase; and that was his Desk, where he sat and wrote after Copies of Court and other Hands the Clerks gave him. He made himself so expert a Writer that he took in Business, and earned some Pence by Hackney-writing. And thus, by degrees, he pushed his Faculties, and fell to Forms, and by Books that were lent him, became an exquisite entering Clerk; and by the same course of Improvement of himself, an able Counsel, first in special Pleading, then, at large. And after he was called to the Bar, had Practice, in the King’s Bench Court, equal with any there. As to his Person, he was very corpulant and beastly; a mere Lump of morbid Flesh. He used to say, “by his Troggs,” (such an humourous Way of talking he affected) “none could say he wanted Issue of his Body, for he had nine in his Back.” He was a fetid Mass, that offended his Neighbours at the Bar in the sharpest degree. Those, whose ill Fortune it was to stand near him, were Confessors, and in Summer-time, almost Martyrs. This hateful Decay of his Carcase came upon him by continual Sottishness; for, to say nothing of Brandy, he was seldom without a Pot of Ale at his Nose, or near him.