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12 Law Notes Gen. Prac. [i] (1976)

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Published by the American Bar Association's Section of General Practice

Winter 1976

              EDITOR'S VIEWPOINT

   I do not know  John Harl  Campbell,  an attorney in
Kansas  City, Missouri, but I believe I would like him.
He  recently wrote:
  We can all ruminate with nostal-
  gia about the beginnings of the
  profession: the romantic aura
  that surrounded the practice and
  our ancestors at the bar.
  It was a time 100 years ago when
  a lawyer  was revered for his
  education and seeming wizardry
  in solving the problems of his
  client. He was friend, counselor,
  advisor, confidant,  confessor
  and path-finder through the lab-
  yrinth of the law. He seized the Bruce E. Davis
  highly diversified but reasonably simple problems of his
  individual clients by the throat and with tailor-made
  strategy wrestled with each and every one of them. No
  effort was made to categorize them for purposes of ef-
  ficient handling because there was no need to do so to
  meet his goals and the goals of his clients. His goal was to
  provide personal attention to each detail of his client's
  affairs while fiercely protecting his client's rights and his
  own independence. His recompense was an incidental mat-
  ter which everyone knew would be worked out in a manner
  reasonably satisfactory to himself and his client. He was
  engaged in the practice of law in its most laudable and
  pristine form; the delivery of services to all whose interests
  he could represent without conflict and all at a fee nego-
  tiated with each client based on his needs and ability to
  pay. In such a climate, the lawyer readily satisfied his duty
  to make counsel available to all people.
  I like to think (dream?) that my associates still view
the legal profession as one in which we  seek to be a
friend, counselor, advisor, confidant, confessor and
path-finder through  the labyrinth of the law.
  However,   I have never experienced  a time such as
now  when  so many  of us were taking so much  of our
time to comment   so often and  so critically about so

many  of our colleagues. We  speak publicly about the
wrong   subjects  at the  wrong  time  to  the wrong
   For  example,  recently  a judge,  speaking   at a
swearing-in ceremony   for nearly 500 newly  admitted
lawyers, cautioned  our new  colleagues:
  It may not always be possible for unlimited numbers of
  young men  and women  to come to the bar and continue
  to enjoy the style of living that they have seen some of the
  earlier lawyers enjoy.
  Is enjoyment  of a certain style of living what our
profession is all about? I submit that such a comment
to such an audience  does not enhance  our profession
and casts shadows  upon  the ideals we hope our newly
admitted  colleagues will bring to the bar.
  I may  be wrong  about the present nobleness of our
profession. It might be well if I were to reread the sage
advice Robert  Burns  gave us nearly 200 years ago:
  Oh wad  some power the giftie gie us
  To see oursels as others see us!
  It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
  An' foolish notion.
  I shall conclude  my  comments   on this subject by
making  reference to observations made   years ago by
Harrison  Tweed  and  John W.  Davis. Mr.  Tweed  ob-
  I have a high opinion of lawyers. With all their faults, they
  stack up well against those in every other occupation or
  profession. They are better to work with or play with or
  fight with or drink with than most other varieties of man-
Mr.  Davis wrote  of lawyers:
  True, we build no bridges. We raise no towers. We con-
  struct no engines. We paint no pictures-unless as ama-
  teurs for our principal amusement. There is little of all
  we do which the eyes of man can see. But we smooth out
  difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take
  up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make pos-
  sible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.

Vol. 12, No. I

24 Pages

                            LAW  NOTES  FOR THE  GENERAL  PRACTITIONER
                                           Chairman and Editor
                               Bruce E. Davis, Bethlehem Steel Corp., Bethlehem, PA
        Vice-Chairmen and Associate Editors:                Advisory Board, Vice-Chairmen:
          Richard P. McLaughlin James R. Phelps               Wayne Boyce       Charles W. Joiner
          Richard E. Wiley  F. Wallace Pope, Jr.              Louis M. Brown     Harry Wright III
Domenico J. Alfano (Administrative Law)     Robert M. Westherg (Corporate)              Lionard Kopelman (Miscellaneous)
Richard K. Decker (Antitrust)      William 0. Bittman (Criminal)     Edward F. McKie, Jr. (Patent, Trademark &
Robert T. Donley (Coal, Oil & Gas) Ralph J. Podell (Domestic Relations) Copyright)
Hon. Francis J. Larkin (Commercial)         Mitchell W. Miller (Economics of Practice)  H. Henley Blair (Real Estate)
Sidney L. Krawitz (Contracts)               Marvin A. Cohen (Estate Planning & Probate) David B. Grishman (Taxation)
                                   William B. Spann, Jr. (Labor)               Harry Sabbath Bodin (Trial, Practice & Negligence)


for   the   General Practitiolier

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