from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. the four societies of “students and practicers of the law of England” which in London exercise the exclusive right of admitting persons to practice at the bar; also, the buildings in which the law students and barristers have their chambers. They are the Inner Temple, the Middle Temple, Lincoln's Inn, and Gray's Inn.
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Many colonists sent their sons to Britain for university training—to Scottish universities for medicine, to the Inns of Court for law, to Oxford or Cambridge for mathematics, rhetoric, philosophy, and languages; but America had a number of outstanding universities of her own—Harvard, Yale, and William and Mary being the oldest.
There were certain books, — law books, — which he would read at such intervals of leisure as politics might give him; but within the precincts of the Inns of Court he would not again put his foot for twelve months, let learned pundits of the law, — such for instance as Mr. and Mrs. Low, — say what they might.
Another lawyer and well-known Shakespearean, Richard Grant White, says: "No dramatist of the time, not even Beaumont, who was the younger son of a judge of the Common Pleas, and who after studying in the Inns of Court abandoned law for the drama, used legal phrases with Shakespeare's readiness and exactness.