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10 Transcript 1 (1965-1966)

handle is hein.barjournals/tscb0010 and id is 1 raw text is: mm
r              'a  L            e S. . Ba RT
Address Of David L. Freeman To The S. C. Bar Associationt

ON DECEMBER 9, 1984, MR. DAVID
L. FREEMAN DELIVERED AN INSPIR-
ING AND STIMULATING ADDRESS AT
THE MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR DE-
CEASED MEMBERS OF THE SOUTH
CAROLINA BAR, HELD AT THE LAW
SCHOOL. WE HAVE HIS PERMISSION
TO REPRODUCE THE ADDRESS IN
FULL: President Pope, Dr. Jones, Dean
Figg, Dean Prince, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I have been most -charitably pee-eted.
The Introduction leaves me with a mixed
feeling of pleasure and a sudden, defeating
impulse to admit I am not really up to its
expectation.
Even without this disturbing thought in
the last few moments, I have from the
beginning approached this occasion with a
sense of inadequacy-for the most of the
members of our profession whose memory
we honor today were my personal exemplars
over the years.
I have found reassurance, however, in the
certainty that the mo'st or you have also
been influenced by the force of their lives.
Indeed, we are all here because of this
common bond, and I am most grateful to
be one among you.
But the composure that comes with
awareness that we are united in the single
urge to honor these departed lawyers is
far removed from the inspiration to say
what needs to be sqid.
The names enscribed here today were
written before. The lives are familiar in
the memory of our generat.on. They are
masters of our time who recall the thoughts
of Oliver Wendell Holmes written in a
letter to a friend:
I always have thought that not place
or power or popularity makes the success
that one desires, but the trembling hope
that one has come near to an ideal. The
only  ground  that warrants man for
thinking that he is not living in the
fool's paradise if he ventures such a hope
is the voice of a few masters.
We can all agree that those we honor
here have given reverberating voice to the
ideals of the legal profession. The question
for us-so long as we are given to serve-
is the response that we will make.
The voice is, after all, the disquieting
voice of our responsibility for the condition
of the legal profession today and tomorrow.
I think no man at the bar can hear these
words of Mr. Justice Cardozo without sens-
ing their wisdom:

A myth has grown up about the pro-
fession of the law, a fable, a tradition,
not always the truth as seen and realized
in conduct, but nonetheless the chief
thing about the profession, the thing that
makes it worthwhile, the thing that en-
nobles it, the thing that it really is in its
best and truest moments, the thing with-
out which, we may be sure, it would
wither and die. The tradition, the ennob-
- ling tradition, though it be myth as well
as verity, that surrounds us with an
aura, the profession of the law, is the
bond between its members and one of
the great concerns of man, .the cause of
justice upon earth.
I think we know as well as Mr. Justice
Cardozo when we deal with the myth and
when we experience the reality. We are
pushed hard, I believe, by what he referred
to at another time as a divine unrest to
shape the law into a perfect thing. But the
concern of us all is that we do not always
act In the face of the need.
The simplest lesson of !istory is that no
society is static. And it follows, too, that no
group within society remains static. The
legal proft.ssion is no exception. As lawyers
we may grasp the status quo in a frozen
embrace, only to find that while we have
kept our stability, the times have changed
around us.
In recent years, bar associations in some
of the other states, concerned with the
status of the practitioner in the community,
have undertaken surveys to determine the
public image of the lawyer today, if the
surveys are to be taken at face value, leaves
something to be desired.
Now I do not think we need be totally
woebegone in the face of such critical polls.
There are cynics in every society who are
prepared to be disillusioned with every.
thing in which they not themselves engaged.
Here is the caustic picture drawn in the
13th Century by a French cynic:
I have seen incurable illness, which no
doctor could be found to cure, so that
the patient's life was despaired of, but
I have never seen a lawsuit so evil and
unjust that a lawyer could not be found
to take it.
There will never be a complete end to
this sort of criticism.
Then, too, lawyers often deal with people
in trouble and defeat. And oftentimes we
must be prepared to accept the blame for
troubles and defeat from clients who, with

their very human way, will still believe their
lost cause would have prevailed but for their
lawyer. I think the problems of the lawyers
here are very much like those of hospitals
which seem always to arouse a measure
of wrath and criticism in any community.
It is very difficult indeed to gain complete
approval whenever your work is helping
people in trouble.
But when we have said all of this, we
must still acknowledge that the legal pro-
fession will, in the long run, gain in the
sound public opinion precisely such esteem
as it deserves. Our true place in the com-
munity will rise or fall as we earn it.
The best test of the truth, Cardozo
observed, is the power of the thought to
get itself accepted in the competition of
the market.
I submit that whether the legal profession
is a learned and honorable profession is
a mrtter under constant review in the
marhet place of public thought. And where
we fall short of the mark, nothing is changed
or hidden from view by repeating within our
fraternity that the law Is a learned and
honorable profession. Here, to the degree
that we fall short, is the myth, the hollow
ritual, the sounding brass, the tinkling
cymbal.
Our burden as lawyers is to be activists
in sustaining the standards of our profes-
sion and in advancing the administration of
justice.
Professional standards are not self-sus-
taining, and justice does not advance itself.
Both require the continuing diligence of men
who labor for something more than a mere
livelihood.
Professional standards do not exist in a
vacuum. There is in the dry letter of the
law alone nothing which will excite in the
bosom of the lawyer that elevated conduct
which the right practice of the law demands.
This is our tradition which springs from,
and finds renewal in, the constant example
of leaders at the bar. Only rarely does it
need enforcement by disciplinary proceed-
ing, and I am persuaded that very little of
the vitality in legal ethics deponds on the
fear of punishment. But I am equally per-
suaded that laxity in the disciplinary process
lessens the whole profession, not only to
the watching public but to the members
of the bar who rightly sense that everything
touching the profession also touches them.
(Continued on next page)

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