He engaged at once in forensic and political life.
In this he defended the forensic aspect of the gospel.
The accusations are frequently unfounded; but the trials are already conducted in a certain regular forensic form.
His forensic life begins in 81 B.C., at the age of twenty-five.
Cockburn's forensic style was remarkable for its clearness, pathos and simplicity; and his conversational powers were unrivalled among his contemporaries.
His formally political speeches must never be considered apart from his forensic speeches in public causes.
But the forensic speeches of Demosthenes for public causes are not only political in this general sense.
He has that power of concise and lucid narration, of terse reasoning, of persuasive appeal, which is required by the forensic speaker.
A forensic speech, composed for a public cause, opens the political career of Demosthenes with a protest against a signal abuse.
Nevertheless he proved more than a match for the forensic ability arrayed against him, and his first plea in defence is in a high degree dignified and manly.
He had no forensic eloquence; but the cold obstinacy with which he pressed his charges was more convincing than any rhetoric, and he seldom failed to secure a conviction.
But though he attained a fair practice at the bar, and was recognized as a lawyer of unusual mental distinction and clarity, his forensic success was not nearly so conspicuous as that of some of his contemporaries.
He very rapidly acquired a large practice, and after taking silk in 1842 he gained a reputation for forensic oratory surpassing that of all his contemporaries, and rivalling that of his most famous predecessors of the 18th century.
He wrote also forensic speeches; Phrynichus, in Photius, ranks him amongst the best orators, and mentions his orations as the standard of the pure Attic style.
After his baptism (about 370) by Meletius, the bishop of Antioch, he gave up all his forensic prospects, and buried himself in an adjacent desert, where for nearly ten years he spent a life of ascetic self-denial and theological study, to which he was introduced by Diodorus, bishop of Tarsus, a"famous scholar of the Antiochene type.