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COLEMAN, WILLIAM M.......
. New York.
New York. ... New York,
. New York.
Saratoga Springs. ... New York,
.. Cleveland. DEMPSEY, James H.......................... Cleveland. FERRIS, AARON A.........
... Granville. FORDING, DAVID ......
... Alliance. MERRELL, WM. S....
. Coshocton. ROGERS, SAMUEL G..
AUTRY, JAMES L.
The committee adopts as part of its report a brief biographical notice of Edward Douglass White, prepared by Hampton L. Carson ; of William A. Blount, President of the Association, prepared by Scott M. Loftin; and of Stephen S. Gregory, former president of the Association and member of its Executive Committee, prepared by John T. Richards.
W. THOMAS KEMP,
To the American Bar Association:
Your special committee on legal aid work, which was appointed pursuant to the resolution offered at the last meeting of the Association, begs to make this report and to recommend the following action by the Association:
RECOMMENDATIONS. 1. That there be a standing committee on legal aid work, and to that end that Article IV of the Constitution, in the fifth paragraph thereof, be amended by adding after the words “ On Noteworthy Changes in Statute Law;" the words “On Legal Aid Work;”.
2. In the event that the foregoing recommendation is not or cannot be adopted, that a special committee consisting of five members be appointed by the President to study legal aid work during the ensuing year and to report to the Association at its next annual meeting.
SUMMARY OF REASONS FOR THE RECOMMENDATIONS. Your committee's reasons for these alternative recommendations may be summarized as follows:
1. There is a direct responsibility, both civic and professional, on members of the bar to see to it that no person with a righteous cause is unable to have his day in court because of his inability to pay for the services of counsel.
2. This responsibility is best met by members of the Bar acting, not as individuals, but in their collective capacity and through their recognized associations.
3. Legal aid and advice to poor persons are most efficiently and economically secured, at least in the larger cities, through the existing agencies specially created and adapted for this purpose, called legal aid organizations.
4. There should be, therefore, a direct relationship between the American Bar Association and legal aid work in its national aspects and as a national movement.
5. This relationship is of a permanent and continuing nature and should be recognized as such by the creation of a standing or annual committee which should each year report to the Association as to the progress, the needs, the advantages and the shortcomings of legal aid work in the United States.
REPORT. Organized legal aid work began in the year 1876. The American Bar Association was formed in the year 1878. These two agencies have always shared a common interest in striving to make more perfect our administration of justice. Yet for over forty years they have existed side by side, without contact, without mutual recognition, and without joining hands. Legal aid work came to the official attention of the Association only last year when the matter was discussed.
Your committee has felt that the greatest service it could render would be not only to make this contact but also to establish a definite' relationship by bringing legal aid work within the number of activities fostered by the American Bar Association. Your committee has confined its discussion to this one consideration and limits its report to a presentation of its views as to what responsibility the American Bar Association should take for the conduct and further development of legal aid work in the United States.
We believe that every member of the Bar, because he is the member of a profession and a minister of justice, owes a moral obligation to see to it that no person is left without needed legal advice or assistance because of inability to pay fees. While the merchant can properly refuse to sell his goods to those without the purchase price a different standard has always obtained in the profession of medicine and in the public profession of the law.
This obligation, like all the ethical obligations of the profession, has been self-imposed.
When the American Bar Association adopted its canons of ethics in 1908 it included the form of Oath which it recommended should be taken by every lawyer on his admission to practice. As Mr. Justice Brewer pointed out at the time, this Oath included within itself the final statement of the lawyer's duty. The last clause in the Oath of Admission is:
I will never reject from any consideration personal to myself the cause of the defenceless or oppressed, or delay any man's cause for lucre or malice. So help me God.
In these time-honored words which may be traced back through many years of history to the Oath of Admission administered to attorneys in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland, the obligation of service is imposed.