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The Chairman :
I feel quite certain that I express the feeling of all the members of the Section when I say to the Dean of the College of Law of the University of Minnesota that we appreciate the courtesy of the action which has been taken.
Edwin A. Jaggard, of Minnesota :
Several things in the admirable paper just read serve to emphasize the brave spirit of this morning's address by the President of the American Bar Association. One line of distinction more or less clearly drawn between the English and American Bars is this: the English Bar tends to search for truth in law books; the American Bar to look through law books, to nature or expediency for truth. English, and perhaps especially Canadian, lawyers have a controlling regard for precedents as the embodiment of law. American lawyers, confronted by vastly more numerous and often inconsistent opinions of different jurisdictions, are driven to their criticism, to adopting the best rule attainable and to justifying decisions by principle. The mind of the American jurist is an open door. The advantage is plainly with us.
American law schools are therefore sound in theory in teaching that the law is not merely what judges, with their localized knowledge and restricted intelligences, have held to be law, but that the law is a progressive science. This tendency of our jurisprudence, the multiplex variety and increasing numbers of our authorities alike impose greater labor on the Bench and Bar and require of both better equipment and more discriminating minds. More knowledge and longer training must obviously be demanded of all law students. A vivid appreciation of this necessity, as often impaired by our familiarity with it as a truism as it is emphasized in courts by pitiable exhibitions of the want of preliminary education on the part of counsel, should lead to an aggressive effort for the maintenance of higher standards for admission to the Bar. Harvard is right in exacting a collegiate degree as a prerequisite to registration in its law school. Because of inev. itable competition between law schools, isolated efforts to approach that standard are likely to prove futile. Sustained and systematic co-operation along this line by those here. present could finally accomplish what we are all aiming at, but I fear disconnectedly striving for. The responsibility weighs the heavier because in large measure the honor of the Bar and the excellence of the law will be determined by the men who teach in these schools not only what the law is, but also what it ought to be.
James D. Andrews, of New York:
I had hoped that the address of the Chair would provoke greater discussion. From my standpoint, examining the matter as I have had occasion to do, I think that the remarks of the Chair strike deep into the vitals of our institutions, perhaps more so than any other thing that I have heard expressed in these meetings. It is a homely expression, but a true one, that “the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” The cradle of American jurisprudence, the cradle of American law, is being rocked today by professors of law in the schools of America. And while they cannot, of course, neglect that daily training which the Chairman has said is necessary and essential, and is properly occupying the greatest amount of time in the law schools, I do believe, with other jurists besides our Chairman, that it is to be regretted that more time is not expended in the teaching of those things which pass under the name of legal ethics.
The last speaker referred to the transformations which take place in the character of business by the changed circumstances of business life. The truth must be apparent to any close observer that there is a change relatively in the relations of the Bar to the public, which has arisen because of the magnitude of great business enterprises. There was a time in this country when our institutions were entirely dominated by lawyers. The time was when the relation of client and lawyer actually existed. It may be said that the whole relation is now changed, and that instead of client and lawyer the relation
of employer and employee has been substituted; and that a great many of our lawyers, those who are now exercising great weight and influence in the country, are employees. You can scarcely think of anything in this country that is not being looked after by lawyers as employees of great corporations. That, of course, brings up the definite idea which is the foundation of the address of the Chairman, and it rests with the teachers of the law schools—because they are the only ones who have communion personally with the minds and characters of the students—as to whether that condition shall be continued. Those who are instructors can best say: You must determine, when it shall be your good fortune to complete your course and be admitted to the Bar, whether you will become an employee or a practitioner of law, and taking the position that this must be a government of law, no matter who the client is, you will not do those things which are undermining our institutions.
Nathan William MacChesney, of Illinois :
The last speaker has suggested, what to my mind is a fact, that possibly the corporation lawyer may be referred to as an employee; but after listening to the splendid address of the President of the American Bar Association this morning, it seems to me that we may well take heart when a corporation lawyer of his distinguished standing takes the attitude which he took in reference to regulative measures by the national Congress. We may still feel that a lawyer, though he represents great business interests, is in a position to, and does, still regard the public interests as paramount.
It seems to me that the Chairman in his address referred to two quite distinct things when speaking of the attitude of the lawyer toward his public duty, and his attitude toward a higher professional standard; the desirable thing is, of course, that the right attitude toward both should be cultivated as much as possible. Now, my close observation of these matters has been confined particularly to two or three law schools, and it seems to me that Harvard has done a very great deal towards stimulating a higher professional standard and a higher intellectual attainment in the profession. Northwestern University, in the West, has been a close ally of Harvard in that regard, in its attempt through its courses in legal history, etc., to stimulate interest in the higher side of the profession; while at the University of Michigan, it seems to me, that particular emphasis has all along been given to the public side of a lawyer's life and that the students come out from there with perhaps more of an interest in public affairs than from most of the law schools of the country; and that the faculty there has inspired the students with a high ideal in that respect. It seems to me very desirable that the spirit of the first two and the last should be combined. I doubt not that may be done, perhaps, in some law schools, but I do not know where. Certainly it is the desirable thing to do.
In talking with a distinguished law school teacher a year or two ago, I expressed my surprise at the fact that he was apparently encouraging the starting of a night school by lending his name to it. I was interested in his reply when he stated that those in charge were determined to start one, anyway, and he was anxious that it should be started on the right basis.
We must recognize that the night school is a factor in legal education, whether we desire it or not, that has its legitimate place under conditions as they actually exist, and that it would be unfortunate to have an impression go out that this body is opposed to night schools as such. Some effort should be made by this Section, or by the Association of American Law Schools, to have the courses in those schools, as well as the courses in the regular university law schools, proceed along lines which will lead to a higher professional attainment; courses in legal ethics, in legal history and biography, and the science of jurisprudence, and courses upon the public functions of the lawyer should be introduced and encouraged and an atmosphere of high professional ideals should be everywhere maintained.
Mark Norris, of Michigan : My observation at the Bar and as a member of the State Board of Law Examiners in my own state has led me to agree with the Chairman as to the necessity of the schools giving greater weight to the ethical side of professional training. It does not seem to me that the blame for this defect lies at the door of anyone, except the profession at large, for students of the history of our profession know that no profession is better provided with good statements of the standards of legal ethics, and for that matter, with formulated codes of legal ethics, than ours. They should be taught, and properly taught, in the schools. The ethical side of our professional training has never been better presented than by the distinguished Justice of your own Supreme Court, Mr. Justice Sharswood, whose “Legal Ethics” was for a long time the standard in many of the schools which taught legal ethics. My observation during my service as a member of the State Board of Law Examiners of Michigan, and in making an examination of the curricula of a large number of law schools, is that this subject is not taught in the schools. If it were, I am satisfied that it would result in great benefit to the profession at large.
James H. Brewster, of Michigan:
It might be inferred from what the last speaker stated that in Michigan the leading law schools did not have a course in legal ethics. We have such a course.
Mark Norris :
Being a graduate of the University Law School of Michigan myself, I am satisfied that I passed through an entire course of study there without once hearing the study of legal ethics discussed. However, that was more than twenty-five years ago.
C. C. Cole, of Iowa :
I want to express my appreciation of the address of the Chairman and my hearty concurrence in his suggestions. There is no difficulty in getting law students to come before the public in matters interesting the public, but it is very difficult to get lawyers to take part in any leading way in the