Page images
PDF
EPUB

PROCEEDINGS.

Associations toward a universal reduction of naval expenses. I have the matter with me, and if any gentleman cares to look into it with a view of action by this Association, I will be pleased to hand it over.

We have also a communication from the Manufacturers' Association of the United States,-I do not remember the exact title,-asking the association to take action in reference to certain bills that were before the last Congress, and will be probably before the next Congress, relating to the issuance of injunctions by the United States Courts.

We have another communication relative to the salaries of Federal Judges, and yet another touching the legislation for the protection of trademarks.

I have promised to call attention at this time to the fact that a number of institutions are endeavoring to perfect their sets of the reports of this Association. We have an urgent request from the Law Library of Yale, and the New Hampshire State Library and the Cincinnati Law Library. There is another from Judge Harker, whom we all know, on behalf of the Law Library of the University of Illinois, and yet another from Mr. Lee on behalf of the Law Library of Harvard—perhaps I should say Prof. Lee, and yet I do not know whether a law school professor who so far backslides as to become a railroad lawyer, should be called Professor.

We compiled last year a list of the Bar Associations within the State, and it is contemplated that that list shall be maintained as part of the records of the Association, and will be subsidiary and helpful in carrying out the suggestions made by the President in his address, and perhaps in further action by this Association. I was somewhat surprised at the number of the Associations. It seems that the bar in about thirty-five counties, I think fully one-third the counties of the State, now have a local organization.

We have a number of complaints during the year of action by lawyers, asking that they should receive the atten

PROCEEDINGS.

mere

[ocr errors]

tion of this Association. In many cases restitution, chiefly in the form of the payment of money withheld, has been made upon the

suggestion of complaint, that the action or non-action of the Grievance Committee is not by any means a full indication of the power of the Association in that regard. In one case not only was restitution made, but the party accused, or against whom there was a suggestion of accusation, stated that his failure to pay over was due wholly to the neglect of his wicked clerk. And by way of an Exhibit to his letter he produced a letter from the wicked clerk stating that he and not the attorney was the guilty party.

In another case there was a complaint made which really appealed to me, and yet I thought we could not do anything for the party because it appeared that his real grievance was against a constable of Chicago and that the attorney whose name he used was not directly concerned in the matter. He wound up his last letter, when I explained the distinction between lawyers and constables, with the statement "that the system of collection agencies, lawyers and constables of Chicago, Illinois, has, to my mind, been a bewildering maze of jugglery." I was somewhat touched, partly by his situation and partly by his extreme fairness, that in criticising the system of Chicago, he designated which Chicago, in order that no other Chicago might suffer from his condemnation.

I have said before and I repeat it now, that in my opinion our by-law number 10 is not well constructed. It requires a written complaint in duplicate, signed and sworn to by the complaining party, before the action of the Grievance Committee can be inaugurated. It seems to me that whenever there is a fairly reliable public report of a notorious act, or supposed notorious act, by a member of the bar which ought to receive action or consideration by some such body as this, it should be made the duty of the Grievance Committee, in a manner analogous to that of a Grand Jury, of its own motion, and if need be at the expense of the Association, to

PROCEEDINGS.

make a proper investigation. There was such act not a hundred miles from Springfield, in which a lawyer drew up a written contract between two citizens for the exchange of their wives, received a fee for it, I do not know whether an abstract of title went with each or not (Laughter), and it was for a time carried into effect. That case was referred to the Grievance Committee. I do not know what action has been taken, or whether they felt embarrassed by the provisions of by-law number 10 requiring a written statement verified and in duplicate, as a basis for the action.

Over in New York the Bar Association has been very seriously considering the subject of judicial nominations and have been asking for information throughout the United States as to the participation by the State Associations in the matter of judicial nominations.

In Massachusetts they are about inaugurating a State Association, or at least extending its activities in line with those of other States, and they wanted information as to whether there arises friction and jealousy between the State Associations and the local Associations.

From Tennessee they want light as to the salaries of Judges in Illinois, and as to what allowances are made in addition to the salary for traveling and other expenses.

On the Pacific Coast a new light is perhaps about to arise in the firmament of bar associations, in the way of an association, an inter-state association, composed of the associations of several states of the Pacific Coast.

In many instances, I think in perhaps every instance throughout the country, at least in most of them, there are indications of renewed activities on the part of all the Associations. There is a peculiar thing, however, in New York, not in the State Association, but in that of New York City, in the direct and public reversal by resolution of a former expressed opinion of the Association. It was probably just in the

PROCEEDINGS.

particular case, but its effect may be far-reaching in tending to impeach the supposed infallibility of all bar associations.

Our members have been making their mark elsewhereMr. Gregory in Louisiana ; Mr. Peck in Colorado; Judge Grosscup in Ohio, and James Hamilton Lewis has created some perturbation in Maryland by his utterance—his alleged utterance, I do not know whether he said it—that the lawyer will be extinct in about a hundred years. And taking into consideration the average age of the Maryland Bar Association, they concluded it was interesting, but a matter of no immediate concern to those that were there assembled.

Alabama, Washington and Texas are discussing the question of Juvenile Courts, and with constant and honorable reference to the action of Illinois in that line.

In Alabama the President's review of the acts of the preceding General Assembly contains the expression that on examination as to the fate of those acts that had come before the Supreme Court of the State it was found that the effect on these decisions, I think without exception, had been to increase the invalid list. There is an extended account of the new incorporation law of Alabama, and it contains some phases in a way sounding some alarm about the liberality of the act, but I thought there was in that address some note of cheer, perhaps of pride, leading up to the conclusion that Alabama is now in the list of “leading charter granting States.”

Everybody knows that in the race for the corporation business of the country quite a number of states have gone pretty far in enlarging and liberalizing, if I may use such a term, their laws for the incorporation of companies. I think in Alabama they did not know what else they could do to make theirs a little easier than the rest, but they did do one thing, and that was a provision that the preliminary statement of the incorporators need not be acknowledged before a Notary Public or any other officer, and the little fee and the annoyance of attending before a Notary is thereby saved. Alabama has

PROCEEDINGS.

scored one point above all the rest. There was a solemn reference to a recent statute in Alabama, now I believe held unconstitutional, making it a misdemeanor to break a contract either of service or for the renting of land. And that looked like a restoration, to some extent, of the old-time compulsory service. In Alabama, however, there is another thing peculiar in coming from a southern state, and that is a strong appeal that the United States has power and of right ought to protect from mob violence a prisoner who is under arrest in the hands of an officer of the state.

In Louisiana they have somewhat restricted the powers of certain Judges to practice law, while, on the contrary, in Virginia, they have enlarged the privilege.

In Ohio, in the State Association, they have, by solemn resolution, provided that the debates and oral discussions should not be printed in the report of the Association; that only the formal papers should be so printed, while in Washington much indignation was aroused by the fact that the re. port appeared to have been edited with the blue pencil, and the Secretary, on being put upon his defense, explained that the reason he cut it out was because, in his opinion, one of the members had been jumped on.

In one of the reports that came not from the west, but from the Atlantic States, I thought there was some suggestion that some editing ought to be done, in the solemn statement of one of the prominent speakers that a certain English gentleman was the deepest and “scholarist” man in England.

In one of the Northwestern States there was not only a picture of the President, as we give it, but a sketch of his life, with his leading professional achievements, and some account of his mental and moral qualities that had made those achievements possible. And, Mr. President, a similar opportunity is open in our next report.

In Indiana the Grievance Committee reported somewhat in the stereotyped form, that no grievances had been reported to

« PreviousContinue »