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The Meeting of the Section of Legal Education of
the American Bar Association-1909.
HE Section of Legal Education of made a report of some length the first year
of its organization. After that no reports the American Bar Association met
were made until 1890, which date marks the in Detroit, Mich., on Tuesday, August beginning of the activity of that committee.
From 1890 to the present time the committee 24, 1909. The meeting was called to or
has presented nine exhaustive reports, all der by the chairman of the Section, Har- of which deal with law schools and embrace
such subjects as the law school curriculum, ry S. Richards, Dean of the University
preliminary education, methods of teaching, of Wisconsin School of Law. The order
present state of law schools, and law de
grees. of business consisted of an address by
The membership of the committee
during this period has been made up of law the Chairman, the report of the Commit- teachers, or a majority of law teachers. tee on Standard Rules for Admission to
The plans of the committee have remained
fairly constant, owing to the reappointment the Bar, two short papers on certain
of one or two old members to the committee phases of the report by Franklin M.
Since its organization the chairmen of the Danaher of New York and James Par
section have been law teachers without exker Hall of Illinois, and a general dis- ception. of the sixty-three persons who cussion of the sixteen propositions or
have read papers before the section, fifty
were law teachers, four were laymen, and rules presented in the Committee's re- the remaining nine may have had some conport.
nection with law schools.
An examination of the titles of the papers
read shows that thirty-four of the papers HARRY S. RICHARDS, in his ad
were on law school problems. Of the re
maining twenty-nine, perhaps half deal with dress as chairman of the Section, said
general questions interesting to the profession, such as legal ethics, professional ideals,
etc. The others ostensibly deal with general The Section on Legal Education has been problems of legal education. Yet a great in existence sixteen years. The Committee part of their subject-matter relates to law of Legal Education has been one of the schools. An examination of the proceedings standing committees since the organization of the section shows that the law teacher of the American Bar Association in 1878. has dominated the discussions as well. During this period some sixty-three address- From attendance at the meetings of the es have been delivered before the section section for a number of years, I would say on various topics connected with legal edu- that the nonteaching members of the profescation. The Committee on Legal Education sion not only do not address the meetings, 23
but they do not attend them. These facts will merely serve to confirm the idea, that every one who has given attention to the subject must have, that the members of the bar are indifferent to the question of staudards of admission to the bar and the standards of the schools that profess to prepare men for practice. It cannot be said that the bar is hostile to the movement for more efficiency. Bar Associations will pass resolutions in favor of better things with little debate, except to call attention to the fact that the proposed measures would have excluded Abraham Lincoln from practice. This indifference is shown in other ways. The greatest foes of real progress in better things are the pretentious, but weak, law schools that are springing up all over the country. The prospectus of these schools is perbaps attractive, and the list of professors is certainly impressive, including, as it usually does, prominent lawyers and judges from the community in which the school is established. The fact that these men give little time to the school, and that the instruction, such as it is, is given by obscure men, is carefully concealed. The paper standards are never observed, if a student will be lost thereby. The schools serve no useful purpose, except to fatten the income of their promoters, while deluding the student with the idea that he is getting efficient legal training. We can all call to mind schools of this type which could not exist for a moment but for the indifference of the bar. The surprising thing is that men holding prominent places in the profession will so readily lend their names as a bait to enterprises of this character, which serve no legitimate educational purpose. The host of correspondence schools that have sprung up in the past few years are due to the same indifference of the bar. Without going into the question of whether law can be taught effectively by correspondence, it is safe to say that some of these schools are not efficient. They exist merely to fatten on the forfeited fees of men who have been deluded into the belief that they can in this way prepare for a professional career. It is but natural that the law teacher, whose thoughts are constantly and neces sarily directed to problems of legal education, should dominate the proceedings of a section like this. Nor is it surprising that, when called upon to present papers, they should deal with the questions nearest their interest.
It is unfortunate, however, since it has resulted in the neglect of a number of questions that are of pressing and vital concern to the personnel and character of the pro fession as a whole. The law schools that do their work efficiently and inaintain a high standard still prepare a relatively small pro portion of all the men who are yearly admitted to the bar. The Association of American Law Schools has but thirty-six members,
while there are more than a hundred law schools in the United States. The question of what to do with this class of men, who come to the bar after preparing in the weak schools or by reading in law offices, has largely been ignored by this section. Yet it is of vital importance that, with perhaps two or three notable exceptions, all law schools, high or low, are compelled to shape their instruction, their standards of adnission and graduation, with reference to the standards for admission to the bar in the particular jurisdiction in which the school is situated or from which it draws its students. Most young men who enter a law school really look upon their work there as primarily to admit them to the bar. If they can be admitted without it, they will not comply with preliminary requirements.
Trustees of colleges or universities will not as a rule countenance any requirements that will cost the attendance at their school, since the superficial popular test of efficiency is numbers, and must be reckoned with. It is of vital importance to law teachers, therefore, that this indifference of the profession to legal educational problems shall cease, that paper requirements shall be real re quirements, that no mercy shall be shown to fake educational enterprises, that the prefession and the public shall demand that every man granted the privilege and not the right to practice law shall have a training commensurate with the exacting demands which modern industrial conditions impose on the profession. The tendency of the stronger schools to have tbeir faculties made up largely of men not in practice has tended to isolate the law teacher from the practitioner. That is apparent in the proceedings of this Section, as previously pointed out. The confinement of our discussions largely to law school problems, in which the practicing lawyer has no interest, has meant tbat we have formed a group apart, when in truth our interests are in common. The sympathy and co-operation of the bar is essential to our influence and success. There are many questions connected with legal education which can only be advantageously considered in co-operation with the practitioner, and particularly with those practitioners who, as bar examiners, are brought face to face with these questions.
The law teacher and the examiner have one purpose in common, the admission to the bar of only well-trained men, A mutual understanding of the difficulties and purposes of each would tend to better results. The general adoption of the plan for state bar eraminers was a long step in advance. But the questions of the character of the tests to be applied to applicants for admission to the bar, the length of study, the amount aud character of preliminary training, the credit to be given to work done by correspondence, are still to be satisfactorily determined, and law school men should join their activities with those of the examiners in deciding them. There should be some common meeting ground where these questions can be discussed and put in the way of solution. No such place exists under our present organization. The association of law examiners is moribund, if not dead. The Association of American Law Schools is limited in the character and number of its membership. The Section on Legal Education of the American .Bar Association in the past has, as indicated, largely devoted its energies to other subjects. It would seem that this Section, organized by and composed of the members of the Bar Association, with a possible scope much wider than the other organizations referred to, would be the proper place for such meetings. No one expects the results in a day, or any great good to come from papers; but, if these two interests can be brought together here and be made to understand each other, results will come. As matters now stand, the Section on Legal Education and the Law School Association are practically one body as far as personnel goes. It is unfortunate that so much time is occupied by these two bodies at each meeting of the Bar Association. Too many papers are presented, for one thing, and the result is that there is no discussion of importance. If there could be a joint committee on program to fix the number and length of papers, with a view to having some time for debate, I am sure it would make the meetings more profitable. The activities of the two bodies should be differentiated as much as possible. The Association of American Law Schools was organized to improve legal education, particularly in the Law Schools. Let it confine its activities in that field, and let us reserve to this Section of the American Bar Association the consideration of the questions which have already been suggested. Do not confine your chairmanships and committee membership largely to law school men. The character of the questions to be raised in the papers to be read should be indicated to the members of the Bar Association in ad. vance, to present some opportunity for members to be prepared to discuss the papers.
shall embrace all that should ordinarily be included within an adequate admission system, and which hereafter may serve as a general guide in jurisdictions in which changes in the rules now in force are being made or are in contemplation. Your committee does not understand that it is proposed either to refer the rules when finally approved to the Association's Committee on Uniform State Laws or in any other way to undertake a propaganda for their universal adoption in America.
Standard rules in so important a matter can be of substantial value only through intrinsic merit. It follows that they should be drafted with the greatest care and only after the fullest possible consultation with those likely to have opinions and suggestions of value.
II. The committee in its report of last year submitted sixteen interrogatories in re some of the more important points under consideration and upon which it desired expressions of your opinion. The limitations of time at the Seattle session necessitated a postponement until the 1909 meeting.
We are of opinion that more rapid progress will result if the main points to be incorporated in the rules are first discussed as independent propositions; that in fact they can be better considered in this form than if crystallized into concrete rules, for in a draft of the rules as a whole a matter of prime importance may be embodied in a single clause and attract but little notice. We therefore resubmit the sixteen points embraced in the interrogatories last year, but in the form of propositions. They do not in some instances voice the unanimous judg. ment of the committee; but they do represent the present majority view.
III. Your committee considers two main points as settled: First, that examinations for admission to the bar should be conducted in each state by a board appointed by the highest appellate court; and, second, that a law school diploma should not entitle the holder to admission to the bar without examination by this board.
In presenting the following propositions, we do not desire to be considered as commit. ted thereto as a committee, but ask as full a discussion of each as the limitations of time at the meeting will permit:
(1) The candidate shall on admission be a citizen of the United States.
(2) He shall also be a citizen of the state in which he is applying for admission, or prove that it is his intention to maintain an office therein for the practice of the law.
(3) Character credentials on application for admission shall include the certificates of three responsible citizens, two of whom shall be members of the bar, and the certificates shall set forth how long a time, when, and under what circumstances those giving the same have known the candidate.
LUCIEN H. ALEXANDER, of Philadelphia, Pa., Chairman of the Committee on Standard Rules for Admission to the Bar, presented the report of the Committee as follows:
To the Members of the Section of Legal Edu
cation, American Bar Association: I. By virtue of the action of the Section, your committee understands its function to be the preparation of a draft for standard rules for admission to the Bar-rules which
(4) The lawyer on admission shall be designated attorney and counselor, and not merely attorney.
(5) Three years' practice in states having substantially equivalent requirements for admission to the bar shall be sufficient in the case of lawyers from other jurisdictions applying for admission on grounds of comity.
(6) There is no necessity for the insertion in the rules of a reciprocal comity provision; that is, of a proviso prohibiting the admission of lawyers from other states on grounds of comity unless the state from which the lawyer comes extends similar courtesies to lawyers from the bar of the state in which the candidate is applying for admission.
(7) Students shall be officially registered at the commencement of their course of preparation for the bar, upon report of the State Board as to fitness. The board's report shall be based upon its inspection of the candidate's credentials establishing that he has passed the required academic eramination. The registration shall be with the clerk of the highest appellate court. A candidate removing from a jurisdiction having similar standards for registration may have the registration transferred. Nunc pro tunc registration may be permitted according to the present New York practice, which allows such registration only when the candidate had the requisite education at the date as of which he desires to be registered and in a case where there has been no laches on his part.
(8) No candidate shall be registered as a student at law until he shall have passed the entrance examination to the academic department of the State University of the candidate's state or to one of such colleges as may be approved by the State Board of Law Examiners.
(9) Proof of moral character shall be required as a prerequisite to registration.
(10) Student candidates for admission to the bar, in order to be eligible for the eramination for admission, shall have studied either in an approved law school or bona fide served a regular clerkship in the office of a practicing attorney during the required period of preparation.
(11) No student candidate shall be eligible for admission to the bar until he shall have devoted four years in preparing for call to the bar, either by the service of a four years' clerkship in an approved law office, or three full years in an approved law school, fol. lowed by one year of clerkship in an approve ed law office; provided, however, that the fourth year may be passed in an approved law school in post-graduate work, including procedure and practice. In the draft for the rules a footnote should be appended to this provision to the effect that in those states in which candidates are eligible for exami. nation for admission after completing only a two years' law school course, the one year
additional of practical work should be required. This would leave the entire period of preparation in those states at only three years.
(12) Candidates for admission shall present themselves prepared for examination in the following subjects: Constitutional Law, including the Constitutions of the United States and
* (the candidate's state), Equity, the law of Rcal and Personal Property, Evidence, Deccdents' Estates, Landlord and Tenant, Mortgages, Contracts, Partnership, Corporations, Crimes, Torts, Agency, Sales, Negotiable Instruments, Domestic Relations, Common Law Pleading and Practice, Federal and State Practice, Professional Ethics, the Federal Statutes Relating to the Judiciary and to Bankruptcy, and the de. velopment in
(the candidate's state) of the principles of the law, as erenplified by the decisions of its highest appellate court and by statutory enactments.
(13) Names of all candidates for admission should be published by the board for three days in succession at least ten days before the examination in a newspaper of general circulation throughout the state, and for four weeks in a law periodical, should there be one within the state jurisdiction. A similar publication should be made of the names of the candidates passed at the examination and at least ten days before the State Board's certificates are issued to the candi. dates.
(14) From the examination fees received the members of the State Board shall receive such compensation as the highest appellate court of the state may from time to time by order direct.
(15) The fee for examination for admis. sion shall be $25, and for passing upon registration credentials in the matter of general educational qualifications, $5.
(16) The State Board shall consist of five members of the Bar, no one of whom shall receive student candidates in his office in preparation for call to the Bar, or be connected with the faculty or governing body of any laro school presenting candidates for admission.
IV. We hope suggestions will be made at the meeting as to other points of importance to be incorporated in the proposed standard rules.
We recommend that the committee be continued and directed to send a copy of this report in the fall to all members of State Boards of Bar Examiners, with requests for suggestions and criticisms, and also prior to May 1, 1910, to submit a copy of its preliminary draft for the rules to each member of the American Bar Association, to the Chief Justice of each state appellate court, to each State Board of Bar Examiners and to the Dean of each Law School in the Association of American Law Schools, with requests for criticisms and suggestions, and