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unofficial, of judicial opinions. The modern text-books in law are mainly based on these, and much of legal instruction comes from the same source.

In an address given in New York in 1915, Lord Chief Justice Reading said that he was strongly impressed with the undesirability of the constant reporting of decisions which lay down no new principle, but only report the application of old principles to new facts, and that the members of the bar would have a feeling of satisfaction if they could get rid of their thousands of volumes of decisions so that they might base themselves on the solid principles of the law.

To the charge then that the established system of reporting judicial decisions and the uses made of it, if ever defensible are so no longer, there is, in the opinion of the writer, no good answer. It is antiquated. It belongs to an era of different social conditions. It adds enormously to a lawyer's office expenses. It leads him aside from the consideration of the principles of the law, to study particular instances of their application, sought out not for purposes of illustration but for use as authority. It lengthens his briefs, unduly: it deadens the tone of his arguments to the court. It makes case-lawyers," whose minds move in a narrow circle.


If the system is to be maintained, these evils will grow. Others may be mentioned, in passing, which are also threatening.

The ills arising from the publication of decisions not worth reporting are obvious. There has been, however, in some of our states a failure to publish decisions,

which has been much more unfortunate. In a state of small population, or where the judges are overburdened, or think they are, it has often happened that several years have elapsed between the adoption of an opinion by the court and its appearing in a volume of reports. In New Hampshire, in 1899, no official reports of the decisions of the Supreme Court had appeared since 1891. The bar, under such circumstances, is compelled to move in the dark.

Unofficial reporting has done something to relieve the situation in such cases, but what is unofficial is unauthoritative. Judges often make changes in opinions between the time when they were pronounced and that when they are published by the State. In such a case the official reports are conclusive as to what was decided.

It does not seem improbable that the time will come when counsel will be restricted by positive rule, in ordinary cases, as to the number of reported cases which they can cite in argument. Possibly the courts may go farther and forbid any statement from counsel as to any cases, except those of their own state, or the United States.

Meanwhile the arguments which courts of ability like best to hear are those which assume their knowledge of the principles of law, without stopping to recite them, and proceed at once to state how it is claimed that they apply to the case in hand.

A closer supervision over what goes into the reports will also, doubtless, come before many years. It is right

that in all cases carried to the courts of last resort their opinions should be written and filed in the clerk's office, where the parties to the cause can examine them. This helps to prevent hasty decisions, for which no sound reasons can be assigned. But that new cases should be reported for the public eye, which simply repeat what has already been judicially determined in the same jurisdiction or re-assert familiar principles of the common law, is an intolerable practice for a country where fifty such courts exist.




Ability. Industry. Steadiness. Good sense. Knowledge of human nature. Endurance. Good character. Resolution. Imagination. Oratorical power not a necessity. Cannot supply want of legal knowledge. Power of clear statement. Deliberation. Resting case on settled principles. Burke's practice as to this. Self-confidence. Ability to respond to sudden call. Close study of one's cases. Readiness to seize opportunities. Preparation of argument as to form.

IN no profession will success be probable as to one who is not of fair ability and industrious habits. In addition to these, the practicing lawyer should have steadiness of purpose, good sense, good judgment, and good knowledge of the workings of the human mind. He should also have the faculty of turning quickly from one subject to another; of ordinarily putting aside his business at night, so that it will not disturb his sleep; and of bearing up under a sudden strain.

James A. Bayard of Delaware wrote from Europe, in 1814, to his son, who had just entered the bar: "Great industry and perseverance seldom fail to make a good lawyer, and no talents, without industry, will produce the same effect."

A good character is a man's best capital in all callings. It is the indispensable capital for a successful

lawyer. Proof of it, (such as can be had), is almost universally required from every applicant for admission to the bar. Loss of it, after admission, is cause for disbarment. The immense trust put in a lawyer by his clients can rest on no other foundation than his integrity. A man who, after obtaining a judgment for another, of whatever amount, can collect and discharge it, can find little employment in the courts, unless he is and is known to be honest. Without that, indeed, he cannot really know what law and equity are, and what they demand. Professor Theodore W. Dwight used to say to his classes in Equity Jurisprudence: "No one can be a good equity lawyer unless he is himself a good man."

Another necessary quality is resolution. When a lawyer is once enlisted in a cause, he must be ready, at all costs to himself, to do his best. Sheil, the Irish barrister, once said, with much truth, that without hardihood of purpose and contempt of consequences, nothing great in thought or action can be accomplished at the bar.

A lawyer will be much assisted in his practice if he be gifted with strong imaginative faculties. Whether in court or in his office he is always being called upon to forecast the future. His client wishes him to draw a contract for a certain purpose or in a certain way. How will the other party to the bargain understand, and have a right to understand, the provisions? He is about to argue a cause. What are the claims that may be advanced by the other party?

A Japanese officer once said that a private soldier


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