« PreviousContinue »
first turned to the last volume of the Smith, 116 N. Y. S. 1091." Key-Number Series, looking for a clue, "What's that?" shouted Mr. Stockand, using the Descriptive Word method, bridge, seeing at a glance the application I turned to the reference heads, 'Strikes' of the lockout decision to his own case. and 'Delays.'” Silas went on to explain He snatched the pamphlet from Silas' how he had found in the Key-Number hand, and read the index paragraph, and Series, under the reference heads, “De- then, opening to the text of the opinion, lays” and “Strikes,” the reference to he read it attentively. “Contracts, $ 300,” and how he had then Silas, who was also beginning to see simply followed that topic and section the light, suddenly turned to the Librathrough each of the six volumes of the rian. “What is the exact difference beKey-Number Series, and the Decennial, tween a strike and a lockout?" and had found the authorities which he “Now you will have to go to Words had marked in the books now open be- and Phrases," said the Librarian, and fore them on the library table.
brought out two volumes of that publi"Well," said Mr. Stockbridge, "I al- cation. Opening the first, and finding ways did suppose that practically all the the place, he began to read: "A lockout cases were covered by the American Di- has been defined to be the closing of a gest System; but I never thought that factory or workshop by an employer, anybody could find them."
usually to bring the workmen to satisfac"Oh, yes, they teach us how to use law tory terms by a suspension of wages." books in the Law Schools nowadays," He then turned to the second volume, said Silas demurely.
and was about to read definitions of “Humph!" said Mr. Stockbridge, look- strikes, when Silas broke out, "Mr. ing at him under his eyebrows.
Stockbridge, the contractor who built Just then the postman entered the that bank wasn't delayed by a strike. library with the afternoon mail. “Here What he had was a lockout." is the weekly issue of the New York “That's clear enough,” said Mr. StockSupplement,” said the Librarian. "Try bridge. "So is the case, now that I can your Key-Number on that, young man. cite this recent decision on the point. You know that the indexes of the week- How did you find it all in a minute? ly advance sheets of the Reporters, and It's lucky you stumbled on it, I can tell even the syllabus paragraphs, as well as you." the indexes of the bound volumes, carry "It wasn't luck, and I didn't stumble," as an annotation the same Key-Number protested Silas. "All I needed to look that is used in the Digests. I heard Mr. for was a number. The Key Number Whyte talking about it the other day. Annotation" He thinks it's great."
"Tut, tut, tut! I didn't say luck; I Silas took the number and turned at said lucky," growled Mr. Stockbridge. once to the index in search of Contracts "Now I think we had all better go out to § 300.
lunch, and then you and I can go back "Here it is, - Contracts $ 300 again," to the office and clean out that old desk exclaimed Silas. And he began to read: and put another peg behind the door on "S 300.-A clause making a strike among which you can hang your hat and coat." workman a valid excuse for delay does "Very well, sir," said Silas, meekly. not protect a contractor from a volunta- But to himself he said, “It was lucky I ry lockout on his part. Mahoney v. took that course in Legal Bibliography."
Practical Suggestions to Young Lawyers
An Address by VIRGIL M. HARRIS Trust Officer of the Mercantile Trust Company of St. Louis, before
the St. Louis University Institute of Law
"This creature shoots his pointed quills,
And beasts destroys, and men ; But more the ravenous lawyer kills
With his half-quill, the pen."
And thus was natural history taught the young in those days.
The lawyer of necessity must see much of the mean, ignoble, and hateful traits of human nature. Byron says:
"The lawyer and the critic but behold
The baser sides of literature and of life; And naught remains unseen, but much un
told By those who scour these double vales of
shore, is a peninsula, the province of Bretagne, or Brittany, and on its rockbound coast the waves of the Atlantic forever beat. This province is one of the most interesting portions of Europe, being rich in history and Celtic ruins, and its landscapes are said to be surprisingly beautiful. Its people still retain their ancient language and customs.
In the year 1253 there was born in Brittany, of a noble family, one YvesHelori, who is recognized the world over as the patron saint of lawyers. He espoused the cause of the orphan, the widow, and the poor. He was greatly honored by his countrymen, and was canonized by Clement VI at Avignon. Many monuments have been erected and hymns written to perpetuate his virtues and his memory. He died at the age of fifty years, and on a tablet in one of the churches of Brittany are these words in Latin:
“St. Ives was of Brittany; He was a lawyer, and not a robber, At which the people wondered." And so, as early as the thirteenth century, it was not uncommon to asperse the legal profession, and from that time to this there have been variant phases of disparagement to both the bar and the bench. And I take it, it will ever be so as long as malefactors are brought to justice and debtors made to pay their just dues.
But a few days ago I saw a book for children, printed in 1767. Under a wood cut of a porcupine were these lines:
Balzac was, in my opinion, the greatest novelist that France ever produced, and there are not wanting competent judges who regard him the greatest novelist the world has ever produced, in the delineation of characters. At any rate, as time goes on, his name is put close to those of Shakespeare, St. Simon, and Dickens. As a boy, he was a worker in cooper shops and a gatherer of grapes on the hillsides of provincial France. At the age of nineteen he went to Paris and studied law, and there began the creation of his hundred books, to which he gave the title, "La Comédie Humaine;" and on his literary stage we find two thousand well-defined characters, and they stand out like strongly painted figures on canvas, and are as cleanly cut as cameos. A few critics regard some of his books as immoral; but immorality must be judged by environment and by the age in which an author writes. Balzac had, intuitively, a keen insight into human na
ture. He wrote of the rich and the poor, exercises of a medical college, an old of statesmen and of peasants, and, in French doctor addressed the students, fact, touched all grades of society, and and he said: "Young gentlemen, rememdid not overlook lawyers. In one of his ber that the doctaire, the doctaire, the minor books, "Colonel Chabert," we find doctaire, should always be a gentleman." an old lawyer saying to a younger mem- And I say to you that a lawyer should ber of the profession:
always be a gentleman, and, if it happen "There are in modern society three that any of you are of the opposite sex, men who can never think well of the I know it will be unnecessary to tell you world, the priest, the doctor, and the man to be ladies. One of the finest lines in of law; and they wear black robes, per- our language is: "And thus he bore haps because they are in mourning for without abuse the grand old name of every virtue and every illusion. The gentleman." most hapless of these is the lawyer. He My second suggestion is with refersees the same evil feelings repeated ence to location. Much depends upon a again and again. Nothing can correct proper selection of a place to practice. them. Our offices are sewers which can All things considered, I believe the never be cleansed. I have known wills
young lawyer stands a better chance in burned. I have seen mothers robbing the small cities and towns. their children; wives kill their husbands. Honesty is the very life blood of the I could not tell you all I have seen, for I. lawyer; but, as one of our learned judges have seen crimes against which justice is has said: "There are unworthy members impotent. In short, all the horrors that in every profession, and therefore we romancers suppose they have invented should take no shame to oursclves that are still below the truth."
they are sometimes to be found in ours. No doctor or lawyer ever reads these We can take refuge behind the maxim words without being struck by them, and that supply corresponds with demand. without pausing to reflect. He knows If there were no dishonest clients, there they are true. Our author might have would be no dishonest lawyers. Our made a distinction between priests and profession does but adapt itself to the ministers on the one hand, and doctors community in which it is exercised. But and lawyers on the other. Priests and it can be said that the number of lawyers ministers know what people profess; who betray their trusts is very few. Our doctors and lawyers know what they profession abounds in opportunities and practice. It is not given to man to see temptations to abuse its high functions." the human heart completely unveiled be- The penitentiaries contain more merfore him. But the lawyer, perhaps, chants than lawyers, and quite as many comes more nearly to this than
preachers and doctors. Do not be deAll the passions, all the vices, and all the ceived about the results of doubtful or virtues are by turns subjected to his scru- crooked practice. It may serve a purtiny. He has the opportunity to study pose for the moment, but dishonest lawhuman nature in its least disguised ap- yers are known and despised. Under no pearance.
circumstances, and at no time, permit My first suggestion will be a consider
any pressure to cause you to lose your ation of the word "gentleman." On one professional integrity. Burns had the occasion, in attending the commencement matter about right:
“To catch Dame Fortune's golden smile,
Assiduous wait upon her,
That's justified by honor.
Vor for a train attendant ; But for the glorious privilege
Of being independent. “The fear of hell's a hangman's whip
To hold the wretch in order ;
Let that, ay, be your border.
Debar all side pretenses ;
The confidential relation between lawyer and client should never be abused. The employment of the lawyer is preeminently a matter of trust and confidence. The law itself so regards it. The privilege is that of your client, and not yours. You are not permitted to reveal what your client has confided to you. And this protection was not formerly extended, even to a religious confessor.
All classes of people will come within your doors, the aged and the young, the wise and the simple, and it is your duty to protect the information given to you. The temptation is sometimes strong to disclose confidential matters; but it should never be done, and as you grow older in practice you will find it easier to accomplish.
Be humane. Great men are always humane. There may be better words in our language and in our lives than consideration and helpfulness; but I am free to say to you that I have not found them. View it as you will, all that is worth living for is encompassed by them. Each of you will have occasion to extend a helping hand, and I charge you never fail to do it. Robert Louis Stevenson says that love is the amulet which makes the world a garden.
General Custer was once leading the Seventh Regiment over the Western plains. Riding at the head of his regi
ment, he came to a place where a number of meadow larks had made their nests in the roadway. To avoid molesting them, he turned out, and the whole Seventh Cavalry did the same thing, leaving the birds unharmed; and each soldier as he passed saw the cause and read a lesson. That was the same General Custer who, with his whole command, went down not long after in a hand-to-hand encounter in the battle of the Little Big Horn.
There are two kinds of money which you will handle as lawyers. The one is your own; the other kind belongs to your clients. I urge you, most earnestly, never to mingle the money of your clients with your own.
The law, recognizing the frailties of human nature, prohibits your doing so. When
When you collect money for a client, pay it over at once. Do not wait until to-morrow; but do it to-day. If it is absolutely necessary to hold it, put it in an account which clearly indicates the ownership. Never permit yourself to be tempted, under any circumstances, to use your clients' money, even though you walk the streets hungry and are familiar with the inside of pawnshops.
Lincoln, it is said, carried his own money in one pocket, and his clients' in another. It may
have been a crude way, but it was the true one.
The law is an exacting pursuit. You cannot succeed without unremitting toil and labor. In my judgment, not one lawyer in ten is fitted for the business. Travelers tell us that in mountainous regions water appears to run up hill. It does not. Water runs down hill, and always seeks its level; and lawyers follow the same law of professional gravitation.
If, after practicing five years, you find you have mistaken your vocation, quit it. It is better to pocket your pride, and start
anew, than put off the change until a lectures to law students have never been time when it is too late. If you are go- surpassed in merit and in brilliancy. ing to direct your attention to other I shall conclude this lecture by a parawork, the sooner you commence, the bet- phrase of one of his addresses: ter. Blessed is the man whose life work I presume you have not selected the and destiny tend to the same end. law as a road to great wealth; for, if so,
To succeed, you must love your pro- you are almost sure to be disappointed. fession, and remember she is a jealous No lawyer in this country can become mistress. Devote your entire time to the very rich in the strict pursuit of his proprofession. Eschew politics and side is- fession; but, if properly pursued, it will sues.
lead to independence, which is all a wise I recommend that you be readers, not man need desire. And as to reputation only of law, but of all good books. It is it opens an ample field. Tastes may difidle to proclaim that miscellaneous read- fer on this subject; but for myself, had ing is not a necessary adjunct in law. I the most burning thirst for fame, I Law is not an exact science, and the law- would rather be a great jurist than a yer who is profoundly read has a decided great statesman. At the American Bar, advantage of one who is not.
success cannot be the result of luck or Be a leader. Among lawyers, as in all chance. · Accident has made many a hero other vocations, there are leaders. Men and many a king, but never a Mansfield get to the front by reason of personality or a Marshall. The first requisite, cerand strength. Whenever you have an tainly, for success, is a competent knowlopportunity to make an address, take ad- edge of the law. Every case will be a vantage of it, no matter what the occa- lesson, and your whole professional life sion, and though your legs do wobble. will be one of progressive improvement.
I earnestly urge you not to gamble and The most learned of lawyers would not not to drink. More brilliant lawyers fall get business if he did not attend to it; from these causes than from all others and, other things being equal, he will combined. The greatest members of our manage a cause the best who devotes profession are not addicted to these hab- the most attention to it. Next to legal its, and it is certain that intemperance knowledge, the most important condition sears the brain, and gambling deadens of success is a habit of strict attention to
business. Your clients must know where Do not go about your professional du- to find you, and when to find you. Esties in a haphazard manner.
tablish a reputation for attending faithpared when your cases come to trial, and fully to whatever you undertake, and this avoid slovenly methods. The character alone will secure you a good share of of a lawyer is reflected by his work. business. You cannot be men of all
Notaryships should be obtained by work and lawyers besides. Young men young lawyers, not so much on account are anxious to make money faster than of the fees that may be earned, but as a by fees, and therefore frequently enter stepping-stone to acquaintance with de- into speculation or politics; but either sirable clients.
course is fatal to distinguished profesJudge Timothy Walker was at the sional success.
The law cannot be put head of the Cincinnati Law School in the on and taken off as a garment. It reearly part of the last century, and his quires all the energies you can command.