Throughout its 200 years, Heriot Row has been full of lawyers. The Post Office Directory for 1814 lists David Boyle as Lord Justice Clerk and Lords Alloway and Ashburton as judges. Archibald Bell, George Bell, John Cay, George Craigie, John Fullerton, James Gordon, Thomas Kennedy and Daniel Vair were practising advocates. John Bell, John Campbell, George Cleghorn, James Hamilton, J and D Horne, James Little, James Mackenzie and Warren Hastings Sands were writers to the signet, Other residents completed their law studies before going on to different careers. Examples include Robert Louis Stevenson (adventurer and writer), Campbell Riddell (colonial administrator) and Henry Mackenzie (writer and tax official).

Scotland retained its separate legal system following parliamentary union with England in 1707. Edinburgh, where Scotland's Court of Session was located, was the legal capital of Scotland and Heriot Row became its residential street of choice. The very large brass letterboxes on many front doors date from a time when court papers arrived by coach or later van.

It was common for houses in the street to change hands without being advertised: word simply got around the legal profession and a gentleman's offer would be made and concluded.

Douglas Strachan at number 27 remembered as a child coming in through the front door being "told to shush by whoever was in charge of me so as not to disturb a consultation going on between my father and his clients in the study next door. If the clients were important enough there would be a couple of silk hats on the hall dresser (silk hats were top hats of the highest quality, covered with fine black silk which had a slight nap like a snooker cloth: when properly cared for they were brushed with a soft brush until they gleamed)".

Heriot Row has been home to holders of all Scotland's top legal jobs - Solicitor General, Lord Advocate and Lord President. Residents have also held legal sway in courts outside Scotland - including colonial India, the House of Lords, Jersey, Botswana and the European Court of Justice. Many advocates continue to live in the street, but the last twenty years have seen a reduction in the number of solicitors' practices as firms amalgamated or moved to modern office premises.

The combined presence of so many legal brains in the street has helped to counter past threats to its amenity and unspoiled nature.

Heriot Row has been home to holders of all Scotland's top legal jobs - Solicitor General, Lord Advocate and Lord President