A counsellor is a member of a council. In some of the states the executive power is vested in a governor, or a governor and lieutenant governor, and council. The members of such council are called counsellors. See the names of the several states.
Nearly Obs. Offices. An officer in the Supreme Court of the United States, and in some other courts, who is employed by a party in a cause, to conduct the same on its trial on his behalf. He differs from an attorney at law.
In the Supreme Court of the United States, the two degrees of attorney and counsel are kept separate, and no person is permitted to practise both. It is the duty of the counsel to draft or review and correct the special pleadings, to manage the cause on trial, and, during the whole course of the suit, to apply established principles of law to the exigencies of the case.
Generally in the other courts of the U.S., as well as in the courts of some states, the same person performs the duty of counsellor and attorney at law.
In giving their advice to their clients, counsel and others, professional men have duties to perform to their clients, to the public, and to themselves. In such cases they have thrown upon them something which they owe to the fair administration of justice, as well as to the private interests of their employers. The interests propounded for them ought, in their own apprehension, to be just, or at least fairly disputable; and when such interests are propounded, they ought not to be pursued per fas et nefas.
A counsellor is not a hired person, but a mandatory; he does not render his services for a price, but an honorarium, which may in some degree recompense his care, is his reward. Doubtless, he is not indifferent to this remuneration, but nobler motives influence his conduct. Follow him in his study when he examines his cause, and in court on the trial; see him identify himself with the idea of his client, and observe the excitement he feels on his account; proud when he is, conqueror, discouraged, sorrowful, if vanquished; see his whole soul devoted to the cause he has undertaken, and which he believes to be just, then you perceive the elevated man, ennobled by the spirit of his profession, full of sympathy for his cause and his client.
He may receive a reward for his services, but such things cannot be paid for with money. No treasures can purchase the sympathy and devotedness of a noble mind to benefit humanity; these things are given, not sold. The law has appointed no stipend to philosophers and lawyers not because they are not reverend services and worthy of reward or stipend, but because either of them are most honorable professions, whose worthiness is not to be valued or dishonored by money. Yet, in these cases many things are honestly taken which are not honestly asked, and the judge may, according to the quality of the cause, the skill of the advocate, the custom of the court, and the worth of the matter that is in hand, appoint them a fee answerable to their place.