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2 Student Law. J. 5 (1956-1957)
The Importance of Lawyers

handle is hein.journals/studljer2 and id is 9 raw text is: The Importance of Lawyers

President, American Bar Association

T seems but yesterday when I
was looking forward to my ad-
mission to the bar, even as you are
now. In my law school clays few
students had ever heard of the
American Bar Association and the
American Law Student Associa-
tion was not in existence.
The tremendous growth of the
ALSA testifies to the growing in-
terest American law students are
taking in the work of the organ-
izecd bar. It is truly amazing that
you have made such progress in so
few years and I attribute the suc-
cess of your association in no small
measure to the inspiration and
genius of Jim Spiro and to the en-
thusiasm  and ability of the stu-
dent leaders with whom he has
I am sure you have not chosen
to enter the profession of the law
solely to earn a living. If you have
you will be sadly disappointed be-
cause other fields of human en-
deavor are much more lucrative.
Therefore, it is reasonable to con-
clude that you were prompted in
your decision by a much loftier
and more worthy motive - the
cause of public service to which
every lawyer is expected and does
devote a substantial part of his
One of the highlights of the An-
nual Meeting of the American Law
Student Association in Dallas vas the
address of the new President of the
American Bar Association, David F.
Maxwell of Philadelphia. His observa-
tions about the status of lawyers in
Russia, where he visited last summer,
and about the role of lawyers in our
society will, eve believe, be of interest
to every lawv student. Hence we are
publishing herewith the full text of
President Maxw'ell's talk.

time. It takes him far beyond the
boundaries of the law into corn-
munity and welfare activities of
many varieties. It is the lawyer
who generally spear-heads the
community fund drive, the every-
member church canvass, the local
hospital building campaigns or
any one of a myriad of other
charitable enterprises.
It is also the lawyer to whom
the community looks for help and
guidance in deciding the great
political issues of the day. More
frequently than not, it is the law-
yer who is sent to our legislative
halls to represent his fellow citi-
This is as it should be because
the lawyer in my opinion is the
best bulwark against communism.
It is he who can penetrate the
honeyed phrases and unctuous
promises of the communists to
their true intent. He is best
equipped by training and experi-
ence to unmask the outward show
of the Soviet organization and re-
veal the true nature of the police
state. That is why the presidium
of the Central Committee of the
Communist Party has no time for
If I may be excused for being
personal, I should like to tell you
of my experience in observing the
judicial system in the Soviet Re-
publics on a trip behind the Iron
Curtain in July. There I saw and
was told what Stalin and his suc-
cessors did to the lawyers. There
the lawyers are in a very sorry
state indeed, which is not surpris-
ing, because the primary function
of a lawyer is to see that justice is

about the author . . .
delphia, Pennsylvania, became the 80th
President of the American Bar Associa-
tion on August 31, 1956. He has long
been active in the national affairs of thy
legal profession as well as in the pro-
fessional and business life of his home
city and state.
An active member of the American
Bar Association for more than 25 years,
he was chairman of the Association's
policy-making body, the House of Dele-
gates, from 1952 to 1954. He served as
State Delegate from Pennsylvania to
the ABA from 1944 to 1952 and was
chairman of the Association's Unau-
thorized Practice of Law Committee
from 1943 to 1946. During the past
year he served as a member of the
Editorial Board of the American Bar
Association Journal, a director of the
American Judicature Society, and a
member of the National Conference of
Lawyers and of the Trust Division of
the American Bankers Association.
Mr. Maxwell's civic activities match
his service to the Bar. A practicing at-
torney in his home state and city for
over 30 years, he served as a member
of the Task Force on Legal Services
and Procedure of the Hoover Commis-
sion on the Organization of the Execu-
tive Branch of the Government. He is
a member of the Board of Governors of
the Philadelphia Bar Association, and
has served as a member of the execu-
tive committee of the Pennsylvania Bar
A native of Philadelphia, Mr. Max-
evell received his B.S. and LL.B. de-
grees from the University of Pennsyl-



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