Page images
PDF
EPUB

than were those who took the freshman this statement any superiority for the and sophomore work in resident at- Correspondence Law Schools over the tendance. Whether the foregoing state- resident schools, for in both cases the ment is absolutely correct I cannot say; result depends largely on the student, but I can very well believe, from my ex- the above record is at least high tribute perience, that the statement in the form to the students of the correspondence given is absolutely true.

schools, to their earnestness, their perAdmitting that the correspondence sistence, and their ability, and it proves method of instruction is good in some conclusively that a man can learn the ways, the question may be raised: Can law by correspondence and that he can the law be successfully taught by corre- learn it thoroughly and well. spondence ? Seventeen or eighteen As has been stated, a man cannot go years ago the asking of such a question through a correspondence course in law might have been justified. To-day, except he wants to learn. Study by however, that is not the case, for the correspondence is harder than at the reason that the experience of the vari- resident schools, for it has none of the ous Correspondence Law Schools and adventitious attractions that university of thousands of students who have life offers, and no one takes a corresstudied in these schools has conclu- pondence course merely because father sively proved that the law can be suc- can afford it and it is a nice way to cessfully taught by correspondence, as is spend a few years, which is the spirit proved by the fact that those same stu- with which so many boys go to college. dents have taken the State Bar Exami- Results are what should be sought, nations and have succeeded-passing and that, if a man has learned the law them almost without exception. After and knows it, he is entitled to the fullall is said and done, it is results that est consideration, opportunity, and recount. It was stated in a magazine ar- spect, and that neither courts nor ticle, some time ago that 25 per cent. schools should throw in his way rules of the graduates of the resident law or requirements or obstacles that can schools fail on the bar examinations, be overcome only by circumstances and and that 60 per cent. of the law office opportunities, and against which brains students fail on bar examinations. The and knowledge alone are of no avail. records of the leading Correspondence The question, it seems to me, therefore, Law Schools show that less than 1 per should be, in all bar examinations and cent. of the graduates of these schools in all tests: What and how much do who take the bar examinations fail to you know? not in any sense, where or pass. While I do not mean to claim by how did you learn it?

Marking an Epoch.

By FREDERICK G. STUTZ, LL. M.
Assistant Managing Editor, West Publishing Company.

A

N epoch in the history of American admiralty cases, and was followed by a

legal bibliography is marked by the two-volume supplement in 1847, by a publication of the Decennial Digest, the table of cases, and by two volumes of first volume of which is announced for equity cases. June next. It is published as a grand This compilation was followed by the division of the American Digest System, first attempt at an annual digest, annual and in order to arrive at a better under- continuations being published from 1847 standing of its significance it is interest- to 1869. ing to review briefly the history of the About 1870, Benjamin Vaughn Abbott work of adequately digesting the mass

undertook the recompilation of these anof American law reports and the devel- nuals (which we now know as “United opment of a comprehensive standard States Digest, Old Series”), supplementsystem.

ing the recompilation with a new series The success of the Federal Reporter of Annuals, beginning with 1870. Aband of the Northwestern Reporter had bott's recompilation is now known as the clearly demonstrated the utility of the "United States Digest, First Series," and “Reporter plan” of grouping into one the Annuals from 1870 are known as the publication the opinions of the courts of "United States Digest, New Series." The several states and of publishing promptly, New Series Annuals continued until in weekly advance sheets, opinions which 1888. heretofore had only been available The prompt publication of through the official reports, which, as through the Reporters, however, soon a rule, did not make their appearance un- developed a state of affairs which made til two or three years after the cases had the New Series Annuals antiquated, dibeen decided. The completion of the gesting, as they did, cases only after National Reporter System in 1887, by they had been reported in the State Reincreasing the number of Reporters so ports and which were therefore from as to include the courts of the entire two to five years old. The need for a country, soon emphasized the necessity modern up-to-date digest was so urgent of a system of digesting which would be that three new series of digests were ancorrespondingly prompt, accurate, eco- nounced during 1887, the American Dinomical, and which would cover the gest, the General Digest, and the Comwhole field.

plete Digest. Of these the Complete DiAt this time the United States Digest gest lasted but three or four years, and was practically the only publication the General for ten or twelve years. The which was national in its scope. It was American Annual survived, and around started in the late 40's by the publication it has been built up the American Digest of three volumes covering the law and System. This digest system has been

cases

the natural outgrowth of a logical and covering the period from 1896 to 1906, rational attempt to meet the digest needs marks the second great epoch in the deof the lawyers of the entire country. velopment of the American System of

Beginning in 1887, the American An- Digests. nuals, reporting the decisions of all of The Decennial Edition of the Amerithe courts of last resort of the whole can Digest, as this new compilation is country, were issued in one series until designated, or the Decennial, “for short," 1896. At this point a compilation of all is compiled, of course, upon the standard American cases from 1658 to date was American Digest Classification, and, like undertaken, to be known as the “Century the Century, is a comprehensive annotatEdition of the American Digest." The ed digest, completely covering a given publication of this compilation was the period of time. The Decennial Digest is greatest law-book enterprise of mod- supplemented by the Annual Edition, or, ern times, and was successfully concluded to be more accurate, by semiannual volby the publication of Vol. 50 in 1904. umes, designated for convenience as "A"

For the purposes of this digest, the and “B” of a given year, as "1907A," scheme of classification which had been “1907B." used throughout the American Annuals The publication of the Decennial Diup to this time was carefully enlarged gest marks a new epoch in the developand adjusted so as to meet the needs of ment of the American Digest System. a 50-volume publication, covering over The necessity that the Decennial should a million legal propositions. This plan

This plan continue without change the Century of classification, known as the “Amer- Edition, and should in turn be kept strictican Digest Classification,” is now every- ly down to date and currently supplewhere recognized as the standard, and mented by the current volumes of the has been recommended by the American American Digest, has led to the elaboraBar Association. It has been strictly ad- tion of several distinctly new and importhered to in all of the annual and semi- ant features of great practical importance annual editions of the American Digest to the lawyer. One feature of prime imdown to the present time.

portance is the system of annotations to The real work of developing a uniform the Century Digest, by which a direct system of digesting dates from the pub- reference is made from the minute sublication of the Century, and with the divisions of the topics in the Decennial efforts which were made to provide, by to the exact place in the Century Digest means of the subsequent American Di- where all previous authorities are colgest Annuals, an effective current sup- lected. The form of this annotation has plement, uniform with the main compila- been so carefully thought out that it not tion and containing various editorial fea- only provides a reference to the Century tures tending to unify the plan and sim- Digest, but also resolves itself into an plify the lawyer's work of investigating effective working annotation from the the authorities.

Century to the Decennial itself, so that, In 1906, after the publication of 18 whether the lawyer begins with the Cenissues of the American Annual and Semi- tury and follows up his search by the annual, the necessity of a new compila- Decennial, or begins with the later cases tion, under one topical arrangement, of in the Decennial and traces the authorithe cases contained in these volumes, be- ties back through the Century, he is came urgent. This new compilation, provided with a direct system of annotations which will carry him, without at once to the earlier volumes of the topical research, to the earlier or later American, and from them to the exact authorities, as the case may be. This place in the Decennial, without the necesdigest annotation feature has been fur sity of investigating in any way the topither elaborated so as to also cover the cal divisions and subdivisions of the clasentire National Reporter System. In sification plan. the current volumes of Reporters practi- Of course, in the current American cally every case is provided with these Digests we will have the novel feature annotations, which take the lawyer di- of a series of section numbers in which rectly to the exact place in the Digests certain numbers do not appear; in other where every prior case in point is to words, many numbers are "skipped." be found. This annotation feature, join- The absence of any number, however, ing together, as it does, a great sys- indicates at once that there is no mattem of reports with a great system of ter in the volume under that particular digests, is perhaps the best single ref

subsection of the topic, and indicates erence feature ever provided in any se- to the lawyer that no time need be wastries of legal or other reference works.

ed in studying the classification in order Another matter of extraordinary im- to reassure himself that he has turned portance is the plan devised for giving

to the right place in the digest for the the lawyer a quick and exact reference

authorities for which he is seeking. from the Decennial to the current Amer

The two features above referred to ican Digests, or from one volume of the

bind together into one great whole the current digest to each of the other vol

several units of the American Digest Sysumes. This is the system of identical

tem. section numbering. The American Di

This is still further accomplished, and gest plan of classification has been so

an independent feature of supreme pracelaborated and systematized, and its ef

tical importance is provided, by the pubficiency so well demonstrated, that it is

lication in the last volumes of the Decennow possible to permanently designate

nial Digest of a Complete Table of each of the 44,000 black letter sections

American Cases from 1658 to 1906, inof the classification plan by a permanent

clusive. This table shows, in addition section number. Each sectional division

to the title of the case, the state in which of each topic is given its permanent num

it was decided, the place where each ber in the Decennial Digest, and when

point of the case is digested in the Cenever matter appears in a subsequent vol

tury or Decennial Editions of the Amerume of the current American, which calls for the use of this classification unit, the

ican Digest, and, furthermore, contains a

reference to the volume and page of the section line will appear with the same number as it was given in the Decennial.

State Reports, the Reporters, and all The enormous value of this feature will

other general series of reports where be readily seen, for it makes it possible

each case is to be found. Many uses to to turn immediately from the Decennial

which the lawyer may put this table to the exact section and page in each of readily suggest themselves. Having the current volumes of the American found one case in point, he can by means where the later cases will be found, or, if of the table go directly to the digests for the investigation is begun with the last a complete collection of all authorities volume of the current American, to turn in point. By its use he can bring down to date every text-book, encyclopædia, state the practical use of the table itself win digest, or other legal reference book doubtless develop many other valuable which he may have in his library. The ways in which the lawyer will derive astable in effect provides a complete note sistance in briefing his authorities, some or annotation for every reported case. of which may not have been foreseen by It also serves as a complete citation table. the compilers. The lawyer, cited to a case in a series Enough can be seen, however, of the of reports which he does not own, can, great value which the Decennial Digest by turning to the table, ascertain at once will be to the busy lawyer to justify the the volume and page in which the case

assertion that its publication marks a appears in the series of reports which he distinct epoch in the growth and develowns or has access to. While these va- opment of the work of adequately digestrious uses readily suggest themselves, ing American case law.

Law School Credits.

By MARTIN P. BURKS,
Dean of the Washington and Lee University Laro School.

THE

ous.

' HE word "credit," as used in this has had a satisfactory course of lectures connection, is somewhat ambigu- on one or more subjects, but for some

It may refer merely to the time reason, such as sickness of himself or of residence required for a degree, or family, has been unable to stand the reto work successfully completed in an- quired examinations. Here he may be other school, or to a course of lectures excused from attending another series attended. If only the time of residence of lectures on the same subject, but is required for a degree is shortened, but required to take the examinations. This the student is required to be examined is in the nature of an advanced standon all subjects necessary for a degree, ing, and is in no true sense a credit, and then he is simply accorded "advanced need not be again referred to. We are standing,” and this is not usually spok- only interested to know what number en of as a credit. If work successfully

If work successfully of schools accord “advanced standing” accomplished at one school is accepted only, and what number give "credit" in as final and satisfactory by another, the sense above mentioned. without examination or other test, and At Washington and Lee we have credited by the latter on the required been "feeling our way" on the subject course for a degree, then the credit is of credits for the past two years, unaidtransferred to the latter, and the student ed by the experience of others, and may, in fact, be said to get "credit" for without any accurate information as to work done elsewhere. This is really

This is really what was being done elsewhere. Rethe only case which can properly be cently, at the instance of the editor of called a “credit.” Sometimes a student the American Law School Review, we

« PreviousContinue »