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ADDRESSES DELIVERED BEFORE THE ILLINOIS STATE BAR
ASSOCIATION, AT THE TWENTY-THIRD ANNUAL
MEETING, CHICAGO, JULY 6 AND 7, 1899.
DELIVERED BEFORE THE ILLINOIS STATE Bar AssocIATION,
AT CHICAGO, JULY 6, 1899.
BENSON WOOD, VICE PRESIDENT.
Gentlemen of the Illinois Bar Association :
In the regretted absence of the distinguished gentleman whom you selected a year ago as your president, I have been honored by the executive committee in being chosen to discharge the duties, which under other circumstances would have fallen upon him.
I am sure that I but voice the feelings of every member of the Association when I express my sorrow that the unfortunate illness of President Hurd has deprived us of his presence here today.
Since 1881 he has been a faithful and industrious member of this body. Constant in attendance; able and intelligent in the discussion of questions of interest to the profession; gentlemanly and courteous in association with his fellow members, he has greatly endeared himself to all who have met him in meetings such as these. For more than a quarter of a century his name has been closely associated with the statute law of the State, and its various revisions. Some of us, long years ago, with pleasure and profit, sat under his instructions as law students, when he so ably filled the chair of Pleadings and Practice in the old Law School of the University of Chicago. The recollection of those days is very pleasant. My hopes for IS THE PROPERTY OF THE
PRES DENT'S ANXUAL ADDRESS.
his speedy recovery to health and strength, are mingled with
The constitution and by-laws make it the duty of the president to deliver an annual address, "embodying therein such reference to recent changes in the law of this State, its present state and administration; with his recommendations in respect thereto as shall seem best calculated to conserve the general weal. * * In his absence, the duties of president shall be discharged by the vice president, selected by the executive committee."
To the discharge of this duty, thus unexpectedly placed upon me, I now briefly address myself.
Since the last meeting of this Association there has been very considerable legislation of a general character. Much of it concerns lawyers as citizens only—in which they have no higher or different interest than other people. Whether appropriations shall be large or small—whether officers and State boards and commissions shall be multiplied, or their number circumscribed; whether the principle of State government shall be that people are best governed who are governed least, or be based on the idea of paternalism, are all questions of policy. Lawyers are interested in them-not as lawyers, but as citizens. These laws are for the courts to construe, and as officers of the courts, it is our duty to give such aid in their construction as will fairly carry into effect the intent of the law-making power.
Any legislation, however, that makes changes in the practice of our courts, or any proposed legislation tending to se. cure better, more speedy, and uniform administration of justice, through forms of law, is always a subject of deep interest to our profession. I am constrained to believe that the “changes in the laws of this State" referred to in the constitution of this association, have reference to such, and only to such legislation.
On November 4, 1897, the Supreme Court adopted rules, made necessary, perhaps, by the consolidation of the several divisions at the State capital. No radical changes were made. The course of procedure since the organization of the court, during all of which time its administration of justice has been without reproach, was left substantially unchanged. A new rule concerning the admission of attorneys was made. It was in substantial accord with the recommendations of this association. A board of able and high-minded law examiners was appointed. The period of study was increased from two to three years, and the standard of qualification, so far as general education is concerned, was materially raised.
The result of the operation of this rule, during a period of nearly two years, has fully demonstrated its wisdom.
Unfortunately this action, by the Supreme Court, was not in accordance with the "legislative idea." By an act approved
” February 21, 1899, and passed with such unanimity as to contain an emergency clause, it was provided in effect, that those who had begun the study of law, in office or in law school, in this State, prior to the adoption of the rule, should have the benefit of the two year period of study before existing, and moreover should not be required to make proof, “by examination or otherwise,” of preliminary education.
It is quite difficult to perceive upon what principle this particular and special legislation was based, unless that the law student had a vested right in the rule of court which was in force at the time he began his studies. The rule, as modified by the act, seemed likely to bring about a rather curious condition of affairs in the matter of the rights and privileges of citizenship. The citizen of Illinois, who had obtained a thorough preliminary education in college or university, and had pursued legal studies in the law schools of Yale or Harvard for a week, or even a day, less than three years, was not permitted to have the examiners even pass upon his qualifications for admission to the bar. The citizen of the State, how