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A Student's Opinion of Practical Law School
By WALTER K. TOWERS, A. B.
FTER the average student has ear- come from high school or college, with
nestly struggled in the field of legal out the slightest knowledge of the work learning for half of his allotted period they are to undertake. Higher educaof preparation, dark hours of reflection tion is coming to be rather a matter oi and introspection come to him as he pon- habit than of effort and aspiration on ders over how small his knowledge of the part of the individual. The student the law really is. Those who have gone has come to college for the same reason before give, by way of comfort and en- his father has sent him-because it is couragement, the assurance that the suc- the thing to do.” Everything has been cessful lawyer does not know all the done for him in the past, and he comes law, but knows where and how to find to expect that all that is to be learned the law. How satisfactory this comfort is to be brought to his attention. Even is depends on whether the lawyer in pro- though the student realize that there are cess of construction follows a step far- things to be learned outside the curricuther and asks himself whether he is lum, his energies are so completely taxlearning how to find the law. Necessity ed by the work that is placed before him seldom calls the student's attention to that he has little inclination to go into this phase of the situation. If he is the library and search for further lore. aware of his own complete ignorance of when no particular occasion or inspirathe repositories of the law, the all too tion offers. If he does push ahead of natural inclination is to hide this lack his own initiative, the search for inforof information from the instructors, who mation must be an aimless one, as he is are rather likely to be regarded as task- upon entirely strange ground, where the masters to be satisfied, rather than help- signposts are unfamiliar and the direcers on the way to a complete legal train- tions written thereon in unintelligible ing. Thus the student's lack of infor- phrases. He does not even know what mation as to the practical utilization of he seeks. the tools of the trade is likely to escape Regarding the matter from the student the notice of the faculty.
viewpoint, it cannot be too strongly emIt cannot be safely taken for granted phasized that it cannot be safely assumthat students possess knowledge of the ed that the ordinary law student has, or practical details of the use of legal works can secure for himself, any practical deof reference. When the average per
tails that are not taught as part of or inson enters upon the study of the law in volved in the regular school work. The a modern law school, he is entering a student lacks knowledge of even the field entirely strange to him. Some of most general character of the arrangethe men may have seen the inside of a ment of legal works. If legal informalaw office. Some may have looked with- tion and authority are desired that are in a law book, but the great majority not in a text-book that has been studied.
the student does not know just what set given by Roger W. Cooley on "How to of works holds the knowledge he seeks Find the Law.” At the University of nor in what volume and chapter it is to Michigan the work is entirely elective. be found; nor does he know how to as- The students are under no compulsion certain these things. I knew of a stu- whatever to attend, and receive no creddent of more than usual intelligence and it of any kind for the work. The course preparation, a candidate for the degree is merely called to their attention, withof Juris Doctor, who finished a year's out any complete explanation of its nastudy of the law with excellent marks, ture or value. Yet so keen is the feelyet did not know what “34 Michigan, ing that work of this nature is invaluable 254;" meant. Aside from the fact that that the attendance is large and the work it had something to do with the law and followed with closest attention. This the state of Michigan, the arrangement year the work was given to the juniors, of figures and letters meant as little as instead of to the senior class as heretothough it were Sanskrit. The mystery fore. The juniors had not yet begun was revealed to him while he was solv- their work in the practice court, and so ing the problems issued in a course in had not yet felt the necessity of informaLegal Bibliography.
tion as to where and how to seek for leThe students occupied with the study gal principles and authorities. They of the law are in earnest. They take were also bearing an increased burden their work seriously, and mean to do it of work, another subject having been well. In a law school of the highest added to the course as given in years class, however, the student finds himself past. Beside this, the lectures were givdriven to the limit of his effective abili- en at the time when spring was beginty. If he spends sixteen hours a week ning to appear, and sunshine and warm in the recitation room, subject to close breezes furnish little inspiration for addquiz work, he must spend two hours in ed tasks. Yet under these circumstances preparation for each of those recitations, the students showed their desire for and This means a total of forty-eight hours appreciation of such work in no uncera week, or eight hours a day, if he works tain fashion. six days of the week—more than nine, if In the ordinary courses that comprise Saturday is a vacation. Under these the bulk of the work in the law school, circumstances, when he has been led to the student is given a casebook, or a regard the law course as comprehensive, text-book, or both. The process through can he be expected to search out addi- which he goes in familiarizing himself tional information for himself? Can he with the law by the study of these books secure it without proper direction? The is very different from the one he knows students want the information that is to he will be called upon to go through in be of use to them in their life work. solving the problems that arise in actual They want to know how to do the work practice. The theory of the law is masthat is to be expected of them. They tered, the principles are learned, but the wish to be taught how to apply their selection, classification, and solution of knowledge.
the problem have all been accomplished. That the students do desire practical The cases studied and the questions information as to how and where to which arise are at least within the parfind the law is shown by the interest with ticular subject under consideration, the which they attend lectures such as are rules of which are at hand. The student knows that entirely different work will ably act as a key to open the entire maze. be required of him when he seeks to earn By searching in the digests for headings his livelihood as a practitioner. A client corresponding to the words that seem to will come into his office with a statement be descriptive of important elements in of facts, probably varied and involved. the controversy or remedy sought, a These must be sifted, the point deter- case can probably be found involving a mined, and the solution arrived at. Nat- similar principle and laying down a rule urally the lawyer expects to be able to of law that aids in deciding the problem turn to his books for aid and support. at hand. Thus reference is had to a case If the stress of college life has not that is a source of information and an forced him to dispose of the books he authority. How to find other cases is studied, he may be able to locate the still another problem. Lacking trainprinciple governing the case in question ing, a haphazard search is the method in a text-book. He cannot quote that most likely to be employed. Instruction text to the tribunal which is to determine in the organization and arrangement of his client's case with the assurance with reference and source books discloses which he stated it to his professor in short cuts and cross-references, by means the classroom. He must know how to of which other authorities may be found find cases to support the rule of the text. and the entire case law on the subject He should know how to use those cases completely exhausted. Even though this as keys to others to bring the investiga- might have been done without special tion down to date. The judicial history drill, that drill discloses time and labor of each case to be cited is to be examin- saving methods that are of the greatest ed, and the most expeditious method of practical utility to both student and pracaccomplishing this task is information of titioner.
titioner. Though the student may be the most valuable kind.
able to find his way around in the reIf information covering the exact con- ports, he is likely to be in entire ignotroversy cannot be found in an avail- rance of parallel tables, citators, and othable text, or it fails to cite authority that er aids and search works. A course that can be applied to this particular case in discloses the hidden mysteries is eagerly this jurisdiction, he must turn to digests welcomed by the thoughtful student. and reports. How to locate the subject The course recently given, brief though in the volumes at his disposal is the first it was, has done much to train the studproblem. In the course given by Mr. ents in the practical work they will be Cooley the descriptive word method is called upon to accomplish. They can taught as one means of locating the ques- enter the work of the practice court with tion in the digests.
Some particular some understanding of how to reach word in the statement of facts will prob- what the library contains.
Recent State Bar Examination Questions*
Questions Given to Applicants for Admission to the Bar of New York January 24, 1911, to the Bar of Massachu
setts December 31, 1910, and to the Bar of Pennsylvania December 6 and 7, 1910
FOR THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Pleading and Practice and Evidence
1. A. sold and delivered a horse to B., for which B. paid the agreed price of $300. A. expressly warranted the horse to be sound, and the price paid was predicated thereon. Draw a complaint in an action in the Supreme Court brought by B. against A. for damages for a breach of the warranty; B. not returning or offering to return the horse. Omit verification.
2. What must be shown to procure a warrant of attachment?
3. X. consulted you, and stated that he was a police officer of the city of X., and that he had been unjustly retired from the force and placed on a pension, based on wrong and false findings and certificates of the police surgeons, which were not conclusive, that he was disabled physically so as to be unfitted and unable to perform full police duty. The police surgeons had jurisdiction to retire police officers for disability.
What proceeding would you take, if any, to procure his reinstatement?
State your reasons for your answer.
6. On the trial of an action with a jury, both parties requested the court to direct a verdict in his favor. The court directed a verdict against the defendant, who then and there excepted, and asked the court to be allowed to go to the jury and submit certain questions of fact concededly disputed.
The court refused the request, to which defendant excepted. The verdict was then entered, upon which plaintiff subsequently entered judgment, from which defendant appeals upon the exception above taken. Judgment on appeal affirmed or reversed, and why?
7. A. sued B. for services rendered under an express contract to pay him $1,000 therefor. The answer was a general denial and a special agreement to render the services for $100. On the trial plaintiff offered testimony to prove the value of his services, to which objection was made. What should the ruling of the court be, and why?
8. A. contracted in and by a writing, absolute on its face, which he delivered to B., to sell and deliver to B., for $3,000 in cash, a celebrated running horse. It was orally agreed at the time that the agreement was not to become a binding contract unless X. consented to the sale. B. sues A. for not delivering the horse. On the trial A. offers parol evidence (a) of the above condition, and (b) that X. refused consent to the sale.
Objection is made to the evidence by B. What should the ruling of the court be, and why?
9. A. was a broker, and was sued by B., customer, for converting a United States bond for $10,000, plaintiff's property. A., in discussing at home, alone with his wife, his financial affairs and difficulties and the high cost of living, told her in the conversation, in confidence, that he was indebted to B. in the sum of $10.000, the value of a United States bond of B.'s, which he had sold without right.
On the trial of the action, the wife was subpænaed as a witness on the part of the plaintiff, and was asked to give evidence of the above conversation, to which the husband's attorney objected, on the ground that the wife could not be compelled to disclose
4. In an action for damages sustained by plaintiff through defendant's negligence, the complaint alleged that the injury complained of was occasioned by defendant's negligence, but it failed to allege absence of contributory negligence on the part of plaintiff.
Question arises as to the sufficiency of the complaint in that regard. What do you say? State your reasons.
5. A physician sued his patient for seryices rendered in setting and treating his patient's broken leg, and duly recovered a judgment therefor by default for fifty dollars. Thereupon the patient brought an action against him for malpractice and for negligence and want of skill in setting and treating the aforesaid broken leg, and claimed damages in the sum of five hundred dollars.
The physician consults you as to the effect of his judgment, if any, on the cause of action set forth in his patient's complaint. What would be your advice, and why?
*Copy for these questions was furnished by Franklin M. Danaher of the State Board of Examiners of New York, by Hollis R. Bailey of the State Board of Law Examiners of Massachusetts, and by William R. Fisher of the State Board of Law Examiners of Pennsylvania.
a confidential communication made to her by her husband during marriage, and that the conversation was inadmissible under section 831 of the Code.
What should the ruling of the court be, and why?
10. A. was a traveling salesman in the employ of B., and, as such, he sold a bill of goods to X. with an express warranty of quality, which he was authorized to make. X. has sued B. for damages for breach of warranty. On the trial of the action, X. calls Y. as a witness to testify to a conversation had by him with A. while A. was working for another firm, subsequent to the transaction in question, in which A. stated that both he and B. knew at the time of the sale that the goods were not according to the warranty, and that he had been instructed by B. to make the warranty notwithstanding. Question arises as to the admissibility of the evidence. What do you say, and why?
11. On the trial of an action in this state, it becomes essential to prove the law of Massachusetts on the question at issue. There is no written law on the subject in Massachusetts. What would you do under the circumstances ?
12. A. was indicted for the crime of receiving stolen property, knowing the same to have been stolen. The property was found in his possession at the time of his arrest. On the trial, he swore that he had purchased the property in question from one X., and offered to prove what X. had said to him at the time he claimed to have bought it as to the mode of obtaining the property by X. This was objected to as hearsay, irrelevant, and incompetent. What should be the ruling of the court, and why?
ing. How is the controversy decided? Answer fully, and give your reasons.
14. X. held real property under an imperfect title. He conveys the same to Y. for a valuable consideration by deed, with corenants of warranty, and Y. enters into possession of the land. Subsequently X. purchases a judgment for value which is a lien on the land, and assigns the same to Z., who causes the sheriff to levy upon and advertise the land for sale under execution. What are the rights of Y. and Z., respectively? Answer fully, with your reasons.
15. X. executed and delivered to Y. a deed of conveyance of certain real estate, woich deed contained the following condition:
"Provided always and this indenture is made upon the condition that the grantee, his heirs or assigns, shall not at any time manufacture or sell, to be used as a beverage, any intoxicating liquor on the premises hereby conveyed, and that if the grantee, his heirs or assigns, shall violate the condition aforesaid, or permit any violation thereof, then this indenture shall be void. and the said premises shall revert to and become the absolute property of the grantor, his heirs or assigns, who may enter into pos. session thereof and eject the grantee, his heirs or assigns, or any person holding under him or them therefrom."
Y. entered into possession of the premises under said deed, and subsequently, while in possession thereof, sold intoxicating liquors, to be used as a beverage, on said premises. X. thereupon brings an action for ejectment to recover the possession of the land on account of the breach of said condition in said deed from X. to Y. Y. defends on the ground that the deed conveyed a fee and the condition was invalid. Judgment for whom, and why?
16. A., by a covenant in a contract between A. and B., agreed to pay money to C. It was stated in the contract that said promise by A. was solely for the benefit of B. A. de faulted upon his covenant, and C. brought an action on the covenant against A. to recover the amount which he therein agreed to pay to C. Judgment for whom, and why?
17. A., a wagon maker, sold to B. a wagon. and delivered it before the payment of the whole amount of the purchase price. B. sold the wagon to C. C. discovered certain defects and returned the wagon to A. to inake the repairs. The repairs were made hy A. and paid for by C. A. then refused to deliver the wagon until paid the balance due therefor from B. B. thereupon writes A. that he will pay the same in ten days, provid. ed the wagon is delivered to C., and C. promises in writing to see that this is done. B. does not pay, and A. sues C. on his promise. Can he recover? Give your reasons.
18. John Doe, desiring to undertake the business of manufacturing automobiles, en
13. X. wishes to engage in the business of manufacturing automobiles. He purchases from Y. a factory building which is supplied with steam boilers and engines with shafting for driving machinery built into the building. He completes his plant by purchasing from Z. lathes and other machines to be driven by belts from this shafting, which are screwed to the floor in order to keep them in place while running, and each of which is removable from the factory without injury thereto or to any other machine. gave his promissory note to Z. for the lathes and other machines purchased from Z., secured by a chattel mortgage on the same and upon the steam boilers and engines and gearing, which Z. caused to be duly filed. Later X. executed and delivered to W. a real estate mortgage upon the factory and all the machinery of every nature therein, which is duly recorded. Z. and W. foreclose their respective mortgages, each claiming to hold a lien upon all the machinery in the build