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the State. Such a right is in the nature of a public franchise.1

In England, for centuries, men had to plead their own causes. If one who was ignorant or tongue-tied sued or was sued, he must nevertheless speak for himself. His adversary had a legal interest in the disadvantage due to his failings in these respects.2

It was found that this was not seldom the occasion of great injustice. Gradually the law was changed, and it became first the general rule and afterwards the universal rule, that parties to a lawsuit, whether it were civil or criminal, had the right to appear by counsel. Regulations were also adopted to secure to those who desired to enter the bar adequate opportunities for learning the law, and to require of them proof of good character, to be established by the favorable opinion of those already admitted to the profession.3

From the days of the earliest settlements in the United States, it has been generally recognized here that the institution of the bar made for good government. It promoted justice, and the lawyer was therefore given a certain status in the official organization of the judicial department, Every American lawyer is a minister of justice. He is an officer of court as fully as the Judge on the bench, or the sheriff who preserves order in the proceedings, or the clerk who records

1 In re Co-Operative Law Co., 198 New York Law Reports, p. 479; 92 Northeastern Reporter, p. 15.

2 Maitland and Montague, edited by Colby, A Sketch of English Legal History, New York and London, 1915, p. 94.

3 O'Brien's Petition, 79 Connecticut Law Reports, p. 46.

them. He has a longer tenure of office than any of them. He holds for life. He never need retire, and never can be recalled, except as the court may disbar him, after a hearing, for some grave offense.

He may, however, be censured by the court, or otherwise subjected to discipline which stops short of disbarment. In arguing a cause, he must conform to the proprieties of the occasion and the settled rules of judicial procedure. As an officer of the court he speaks in a certain sense by its authority, and always in its presence. It is the duty of the Judge to interpose if he abuses his privileges by urging considerations obviously foreign to the cause, or invoking prejudice instead of reason. Such a course may not only call upon him a rebuke from the bench, but cost his client a verdict, should he afterwards obtain one. There are words and appeals which, once uttered to a jury, do their work on the instant beyond all power of remedy.1

It has been sometimes said that the existence of lawyers made men litigious. To one who feels that he has been wronged, the power to get the opinion of a competent and disinterested adviser as to whether he has been or not and, if it be favorable to his claim, the opportunity to have it presented in proper form for the consideration of a court, certainly increases the number of meritorious actions brought. It probably

1 See Hennessy vs. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 74 Connecticut Law Reports, pp. 699, 708-710.

2 See a discussion of this subject in Cicero, De Legibus, quoted infra on page 151.

lessens the number of groundless actions. A lawyer is in honor bound to bring no suits for which he thinks, on full consideration, there is no reasonable chance of a favorable issue. Probably every lawyer in large practice oftener advises that claims be settled or abandoned than that they should be the subject of a suit.

It is also true that insistence on one's rights, even at the expense of a law-suit, may sometimes be a duty. Society rests on a body of social rights. They must be maintained inviolate, if social health is to be preserved.

Because the Jewish authorities had excommunicated Spinoza for heresy, his right to share in his father's estate was denied by his sisters. He insisted that it was perfect, and took legal proceedings to establish his title. It was thus established, and he then released the property to his sisters, stating his opinion as to the principle involved thus: "In a State where just laws are in force, it is not only the right of every citizen, but his duty towards the common weal, to resist injustice to himself, lest peradventure evil men should find profit in their evil doing.”

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Law, as a social necessity, cannot be guarded too carefully. It is our best inheritance from former generations. It is what gives value to life and property, because it is all that assures their possession. As Cicero said to the judges before whom he was pleading for Cæcina: "To one who succeeds to an estate a greater inheritance comes from the principles of right

1 Quoted by Johnson T. Platt, The Assertion of Rights, Boston, 1884, p. 7.

and law, than from those by whom this estate was left to him." 1

The lawyer and the courts share the high function of keeping these principles inviolate, and of enforcing them whenever called upon to do that service.

Nor to entitle the lawyer to be heard at the bar is it necessary that he should appear there to speak for a client. He is not only an officer of the court, but a friend of the court. As an officer he represents the interests of others. As a friend amicus curiæ he

has the right to offer suggestions when they are made simply as aids to justice. This term describes a lawyer who, in a controversy in which he does not appear for either side, volunteers, with the consent of the court, to state what he conceives to be the law which should govern the decision. He sees a matter in dispute where he believes that justice might be better done if he declared his own view of the proper disposition of the contest, which is to be made by the judge. It is a piece of brotherly advice from one public agent to another. An intervention of this sort has often prevented the doing of injustice, or furthered the doing of a completer justice.

There was such an incident on the trial of Algernon Sidney for high treason. By the law of England as it then stood (1683) a man accused of that crime could not have the aid of counsel. There was a technical defect in the indictment. A barrister rose, as an amicus curiæ, and brought it to the attention of the 1 Cicero, Oratio pro A. Cæcina, Cap. XXVI.

court. Chief Justice Jeffreys, who was presiding, overruled the objection on this score (and properly), but added, "We thank you for your friendship." 1

2. The Cultivation of the Mind and Heart Incident to the Legal Profession

Its spiritual benefit. The demand for metaphysical and historical knowledge. Bolingbroke's opinion. Law constantly changing. Its procedure growing less formal. Less emphasis given to study of ancient technicalities. Comparative Law. Legal traditions. Practice of Rhetoric and Logic. John Adams' advice. Legal maxims only half truths. Dialectic. The spirit of all law is the rule of right rather than of authority. Haller's view. Lawyers must study into the origin and causes of things, and in a philosophical way. Justinian's description of their work. Forms of procedure have developed rights. Law, both an abstract study and a practical art. It promotes a spirit of reverence. It has spread political liberty and is now spreading political justice. Its appeal to the heart and feelings. Here youth is a help. The jury, as a teacher of psychology. Horne Tooke's characterization of it. Legal oratory. It is consistent with concisement of statement. Insisting on the main points of argument. Personal honesty. Law, the science of enforceable rights. It limits personal and social duties. To determine these limits, calls on the lawyer for original research. The lawyer finds aid in general literature. His share in legislation.

When the poet, Sill, was choosing his vocation, he was at first inclined to the law, on account, he said, of "the benefit which it would be to himself spiritually." "As Kingsley puts it," he added, "we are set down before that greatest world-problem - Given self, to find

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1 Sidney, Discourses on Government, New York ed., 1805, Vol. I, pp. 242,


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