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employes directly engaged in the controversy.
THE PRESIDENT'S ADDRESS. Many of the provisions of this act are worthy of Address of Tracy C. Becker, President New York State Bar consideration and the public must sooner or later Association, at the annual meeting of the Association at
tbe Assembly Chamber, Albany, N. Y., Tuesday evening, recognize that some arbitrary measure must be
January 15, 1895. taken to a
N the act of
year, if any discontinuance of the unfortunate tution, it is stated that the association is formed scenes of the past is to be expected. Many “to cultivate the science of jurisprudence, to prohave maintained that the decree of any court mote reforin in the law, to facilitate the adminof arbitration could not be enforced except by istration of justice, to elevate the standard of public opinion, but we believe that the final integrity, honor and courtesy in the legal profession, decree of a properly constructed commission and to cherish a spirit of brotherhood among the must be rigidly carried out and that such a
members thereof.” It now becomes the duty of
the president of that association, at the close of measure would be less injurious than the results of the unpleasant scenes which have recently and to what extent, the objects stated have been
his term of office, to report in what respects, been witnessed.
attained during his administration, and to recomThe anti-pass provision of the revised Con- mend such measures as, in his judgment, may lead stitution seems to have offered an opportunity will be conceded that nothing could be more con
to the attainment of those objects hereafter. It for the railroad officials to promulgate and en
ducive to the attainment of each and all of these force stricter rules as to the issuance of passes. objects than measures tending to raise the qualificaMany of the clergy have often received free tions for admission to practice at the bar. For transportation or have been allowed to pur- many years it has been apparent that while in other chase tickets from the companies at half rates. professions the standards for admission to memberUnfortunate as it may seem, it transpires that ship therein were constantly being raised, but little some of these ministers have increased their advance had been made in the extent and character
of the educational qualifications required by law of alleged families, who have ridden at half-fare, those who sought admission to practice law. Moreto even greater numbers than the prolific rab- over, however high and extensive the requirements of bit, and this indiscreet addition to the domestic the preliminary education and study fixed by the rules household has reacted on the unfortunate of the Court of Appeals may have been, and anxious heads of the family, since the railroads cannot as the members of that court undoubtedly were to now, indeed are not anxious to make, any dis- formulate additional requirements whenever poscrimination on behalf of the ministers and are sible, it was painfully manifest that the methods less prone than formerly to send them free and means of examination, which had long obpasses. Already wails of anguish have been tained, for practically testing the character and
capacity of applicants were not the best methods heard. One divine on Sunday last even chose
and means attainable. Under the system of examifor his text “Why should I awake?” “I will
nation which prevailed, by a separate board of exseek it yet again.” Would that with true biblical aminers in each of the five judicial departments, courtesy we could say, “Seek and ye shall find; each of which boards of examiners conducted its ask and it shall be given.”
examinations according to its discretion, there was
no uniformity in the character and extent of the In Alabama & V. Ry. Co. v. Sparks, decided examinations in the different departments, while in in the Supreme Court of Mississippi, it was held some departments, as the examiners changed from that where a common carrier unloads a ship- year to year, the nature and scope of the examinament of horses at an intermediate point in the
tions changed also. Thus was possible the rank in
justice of young men who had devoted years of time morning, and then reloads them late the afternoon, but twelve hours before the departure out the State, to preparing themselves for admission to
and study, under rules of the court similar throughof the train by which they are to be shipped, the bar, finding a difficult and elaborate system of exand against the owner's protest, and the horses aminations in one department, a less difficult system are injured while thus waiting, the carrier is in another, and, possibly, an easy one in another; an liable, though, by its contract, not responsible examination largely written and only partly oral for unusual or unreasonable delay.
here; an examination largely oral and only partly written there; a strict adherence to the rules con- as the three examiners provided for in the bill, and cerning certificates of proficiency in educational has prescribed admirable rules for their guidance in branches and scholastic attainments here, au evasion the performance of their duties. The high proof those reqirements there; a strict standard of fessional character and standing of the gentlemen marks enforced here, no standard of marking at all appointed, are a justification of the wisdom of the there; a board of able and experienced lawyers, all association in vesting by the bill the power of apof whom devoted great care and attention to their pointing the examiners in the Court of Appeals, and work, in some of the General Term departments, a satisfactory guaranty that they will perform their while in others the lack of tiine or fidelity to their duties with due regard for the advancement of the trust on the part of some of the examiners caused standards for admission to the bar, requiring legal the whole work of the board to fall upon one of education, good character and ability in all applitheir number, who struggled along with it as best cants therefor. The passage of this bill would have he could, and whose conclusions were acquiesced been impossible but for the organized and conin without much scrutiny by his associates!
tinuous efforts of this association, through its proper The growth of a higher regard for legal educa- officers and committees, and if the associ on had tion, fostered and evidenced by the rapidly increas- during the time of its existence accomplished nothing number of students who took the benefit of at ing else, the procurement of this very great and farleast a two years' course of study in the law schools, reaching reform should commend it to the respect afforded a sure warrant that no obstacle would be and confidence of the bench and bar throughout intersposed by the faculty or students of those this State, and of the citizen suitors whose interests schools to reform in the existing methods of ex- are closely affected by the fitness and capacity of amination for admission to the bar, Mindful of the those who are certified to them as possessing the objects of its incorporation, and cognizant of the necessary legal and moral qualifications for practicnecessity for such a reform, this association in 1892 ing law. and 1893, prepared and presented to the Legislature
ture So prevalent has been the practice in the Legislaa bill providing for a single board of law examiners, ture of enacting amendments to the Code of Civil who should act under rules of the Court of Appeals Procedure, and to other general statutes, to fit the prescribing a uniform system of examination exigencies of particular cases, and to suit the purthroughout the State. This bill encountered more or poses of individuals who had political influence, less opposition from various sources, and on one pre- that this association attempted to keep on file in text or another was twice defeated in the Legislature. the office of one of its members in each of the juAt the last annual meeting of this association, beld dicial districts of the State, a copy of all bills inin January, 1894, the matter was brought up for troduced in either house of the Legislature, amenddiscussion, and the ablest educators in our profession ing the Code of Procedure or the general laws, so in the State were invited to and did discuss it in all that such legislation could be carefully watched by its bearing. Messrs. William A. Keener, Dean of the our committee on legislation, avd so that any memColumbia Law School, George Chase, Dean of the New ber of the association could have reference to such York Law School, Austin Abbott, Dean of the Law proposed acts without sending to Albany. School of the University of New York, Abner C. As stated in the report of the committee on law Thomas, Dean of the Metropolitan Law School, Le reform, this attempt has not proved an unqualified Roy Parker, Vice Dean of the Buffalo Law School, success, because the number of bills has been so large H. B. Hutchins, Associate Dean of Cornell Univer- and the matters to which they relate so numerous, sity School of Law, and the Rt. Rev. Wm. Cross-that it is almost impossible to devote the time and atwell Doane, Vice-Chancllor of the University of the tention to determining the merits of each bill, which State of New York, participated with many of the would be required in order to guard against impermembers of this association in that discussion. So fect or unnecessary legislation. Still, the attempt strong were the arguments adduced by these gentle has been made in good faith, and the slight expense men in favor of the bill, and so zealously did the which it has cost the association has not been committee of this association having it in charge wasted, for it has demonstrated more forcibly than perform their labors, that at the last session of the ever the supreme necessity of the adoption of law Legislature the bill proposed by this Association, providing for a board or council of revision, to but slightly modified, became a part of the statute which all statutes should be referred before their law of this State, taking effect on the first of Janu- adoption and final transmission to the governor for
Under this act of the Legislature the his approval. Such a board or council could also Court of Appeals has appointed the Hons. Austen assist the members in drafting bills properly, to G. Fox, of New York city, Frank B. Danaher, of begin with, and in many ways aid in statutory reAlbany, N. Y., and Wm. P. Goodelle, of Syracuse, vision and in the proper performance of their legis
lative duties by the senators and members of As- to accept a position as member of such board and sembly. As will appear more fully in the report of perform his duties to the exclusion of all other prithe committee on law reform, inquiries directed to vate business during the session of the Legislature, the Secretary of State of each of the States of the and for such time thereafter as might be necessary. Union elicited replies showing that the only States During the last two sessions of the Legislature, which have provisions for such a board, or council, this association, greatly aided by the zeal and abilor sometbing of the kind, are Maine, South Caro- | ity of Prof. Charles A. Collin, one of its members, lina and Connecticut. In England the counsel to bas urged that all bills should be printed in the the Speaker of the House of Commons, who receives final form in which they are adopted, instead of $9,000 per annum for his services, performs some being engrossed after final passage. At the last of the duties which would be devolved upon such session of the Legislature, the committee on rules a board or council. In the Dominion of Canada the of the Senate and Assembly adopted new rules tendSenate has a law clerk salaried at $2,500 per annum ing to bring about this result, and the adoption of and the Commons one at $3,200 per annum. The the constitutional amendment proposed by the last Ontario legislative assembly also bas a law clerk, Constitutional Convention, requiring that all bills and in England and Canada the duties of parlia should lie upon the desks of members for at least mentary draftsmen are exercised, as to private bills, three days before final passage, has placed this matby officers employed by the committees. In the ter in such a position that the reform long sought Northwest Territory, three legal experts sit in the by this association of abolishing as far as possible legislative assembly by virtue of a statute, who may engrossed bills, and thus avoiding the corrupt and take part in debate, but have no vote. The pro- careless practices well known to at times prevail in visions of chapter 24 of the Laws of 1893, devolving the engrossing room, is sure to be fully accomplished. upon the commissioners of statutory revision the Some of the other reforms beneficial to the produty, on request of either house of the Legisla-fession which this association, through its comture, or of any committee, member or officer thereof, mittees on law reform and on legislation, has helped to draft or revise bills and to render opinions as to to bring about are: Increase in the number of perthe constitutionality or consistency, or other legal emptory challenges in jurors in civil actions from effect of proposed legislation, and to report by bill four to six, and the adoption by the Court of Apsuch measures as they deemn expedient," is a long step peals of an amendment to its rules requiring copies in the right direction, but on account of the labor of the points of counsel to be filed with the clerk rious character and extent of the actual work of and exchanged between counsel, before the argurevision which the commissioners must perform, it ment of the case. The merits of these measures are has been evident that their attention cannot be too obvious to need particular mention here. constantly distracted from their regular work to During the last year, from May 8 to September perform the duties specified in the Act of 1893 29, a Constitutional Convention, more than fourwithout greatly detracting from the value and fifths of whose membership was composed of lawcharacter of their regular business. It is submit-yers, sat in this Capitol, at Albany, and labored to ted, also, that the very kind and class of bills, perfect amendments to the organic law of this State namely, special legislation, which ought to be most which should be satisfactory to our people. More closely scrutinized and unhesitatingly repressed by than 500 proposed amendments were submitted to any board or council of revision, is the kind of that convention for consideration. Of these, but legislation which the members or officers of the thirty-three amendments were finally submitted for Legislature who introduce the same, would endeavor popular approval. The work of that convention to slip through to a final passage. without the ex- has been approved at the ballot-box. Some of it is amination and criticism of an independent board or now in practical operation, while other portions council acting solely in the interest of the whole (notably the judiciary article, in which the members people of the State. For these reasons the directory of this association are particularly interested) do and permissive provisions of the statute of 1893 not take effect until 1896. Having been a member should be amended so as to peremptorily require of that convention, it does not become me to praise that every bill, at some time after its introduction its work, but I cannot refrain from congratulating and before its final passage, should be submitted to my brother lawyers that the old-time assertions that the commissioners of statutory revision, whose num- “ lawyers make poor legislators,” and that “there ber and pay should be increased sufficiently to in- are too many lawyers in Congress and in the State sure a strong and efficient board, or that a separate Legislature,” bave been practically disproved by the board or council of revision should be created and self-sacrificing, intelligent, conservative, yet broadplaced upon a practical, permanent and substantial minded and reformative work accomplished by that basis, so that any of our best lawyers could afford | body. Besides this, the spectacle is presented to the people of this State of a body of men serving committee of the convention was but slightly modithe State for the modest compensation of ten dol- fied in the convention itself, and, as a whole, was lars per diem, whose right to compensation ceased adopted with but few dissenting votes, and received on the 15th day of September, voluntarily sitting almost unanimous commendation from the press for fourteen days thereafter to fully complete and and the bar throughout the State. This of itself carefully revise and prepare their enactments for must have contributed greatly toward the adoption submission to the people. I deeply regret that some of the other valuable reform amendments wbich persons have introduced and are pressing a bill
were proposed by the convention and submitted to in the Legislature, for pay for the members be voted upon by the people with the Judiciary Arfor these extra fourteen days. The example ticle amendment. While it is often invidious and to the people of this State afforded by voluntary improper to single out any individuals for express and self-sacrificing labor for that short period ought praise and commendation in an address of this charnot to be lost or detracted from by any application acter, I must accord in this public manner the sinfor back pay. I sincerely hope that, at the meet- cere and cordial thanks of the association to the ing of this association to-morrow, strong resolutions Hon. Louis Marshall, a member of its committee will be adopted protesting against the passage by on law reform, and to the Hon. Elihu Root, of New the Legislature of any act or appropriation for com- York, also a member of this association, for the inpensation of any kind to the members of the con- telligent skill, sound judgment and untiring indusvention after the 1st of September, 1894. All of try which they devoted to the preparation of the them took office with full knowledge that their pay Judiciary Article of the Constitution. To these two would cease on September 15, and if they sat longer men more than to any two others in the whole State than that they would do so in the interests of the will be due the great reforms in the judiciary which State. They should therefore be willing that their are comprised in that article. The amendment proservices for the additional period after September viding for future constitutional conventions is al15th should stand in the annals of history as volun- most wholly the work of Mr. Marshall, and its netarily and gratuitously contributed. The adoption cessity was demonstrated by the experience wbich of the amendment striking out of the Constitution the convention had in effecting its own organizathe word “coroners,” makes it possible that legisla- tion, and the serious questions that were raised ; tion similar to the Massachusetts act of 1878. provid- first, as to its right to be the judge of the election ing for a board of trained medical examiners, may and qualification of its own members; and, secnow be adopted. No doubt the association will care-ondly, as to whether it was obliged to submit any fully consider this very important matter at its meet- of its amendments to a vote of the people at all, to ing to-morrow.
mention nothing of the disputes and difficulties that Your committee on law reform, following to a
arose before the convention between the Governor great extent the lines of recommendation laid down and the Legislature; and between political partisans by the association itself, at the time of the constitu- in the Legislature concerning the membership of the tional commission in 1890, adopted certain recom- convention, and the time and method of holding its mendations and suggestions relative to the Judi- deliberations. ciary Article, and submitted the same to the Con- During the business meetings of this association stitutional Convention as the sense of that com- to-morrow, a discussion will be held as to what mittee concerning the matters under consideration. legislation is necessary to carry out the provisions These recommendations and suggestions are enu
of the new judiciary article. Invitations to particimerated in the report of the committee of law re
pate in this discussion have been extended to all form and need not be fully referred to now. It the members of the judiciary committee of the should be recorded here, however, that with but a Constitutional Convention, as well as to the memsingle exception — the number of judges of the bers of this association, and I now tender a like Court of Appeals the views of the committee on invitation to all lawyers, whether or not they are law reform of this association were substantially members of the association, who are present here. adopted by the convention. The discussion which During the past year the committee on law has taken place at the annual meetings of this asso
reform has considered the question whether the ciation, since the commission of 1890 proved abor- Code of Civil Procedure should be revised, contive, has done much to create a well-directed senti- densed and simplified. It certainly seems an extrament and understanding amongst lawyers through- ordinary anomaly that the practice and procedure out the State, of the conditions, requirements and in this State should be so cumbersome and complidifficulties connected with a revision of the Judiciary cated as to require for a statement of the bare legal Article of the Constitution. It is a very remarkable rules regulating them, 3,500 sections, containing circumstance that the final report of the judiciary upwards of 275,000 words! It is quite as great an anomaly that, in what purports to be a guide of | fairs. To this profession, from its earliest rise in the practice and procedure, should so constantly be mother country to the present time, the people have found so much substantive or active law having looked — and have never looked in vain – for the little or no relation to methods of practice and pro- defense on the bustings, at the forum and on the cedure. Yet this code has been amended, altered, bench, of their dearest liberties. To it the people modified and construed so much since it was first now look to aid and assist them in emancipating presented to the Legislature that it has come to be themselves from corrupt and tyrannical bossism in fairly well understood by the members of our pro- our municipalities and in the State government. fession. That it should be revised and simplified Every lawyer who has become a member of this asmay, perphaps, be conceded, but in attempting to sociation has public spirit enough to belong to a revise and simplify it, are we not in danger of en- good government club, or similar organization in his tailing upon our profession another series of years of own locality, and he ought to do so. The recent appeals from court to court for the purpose of pro- example of what a constitutional convention, comcuring a construction of the new language implied posed almost wholly of lawyers, had the courage to in the amendment and revision?
do in the way of proposing reform measures, bas Personally I have always been in favor of broadly strongly tended to break down the somewhat prevaextending the provisions of the statute regulating lent feeling amongst the people of the State that the adoption of rules of practice by our courts, so lawyers are too conservative, too doubting and hesias to require that at least triennially there should be tating, too timorous, too technical, too much afa convention of the judges of our courts of record, fected by class distinctions and corporate influences, upon which should be imposed the duty of adopt- to be reliable guides and mentors in governmental ing the new revisions or amendments of the Code affairs. Now is the opportunity for the brethren of which their experience bad demonstrated to be pos- the law to make themselves more felt than ever in sible and necessary. I should also go a step fur- the adoption and conduct of public measures.
One ther, and have it enacted that the Legislature of the ways in which this can be done is also by should have no power to pass any amendments to taking a deep interest in the meetings of this assothe Code of Civil Procedure until they had been ciation, serving on its committees faithfully and first considered by this convention of judges. These well, and in responding whenever called upon, to are my personal views, as above stated, and should
press upon the attention of our courts or our Legisnot be construed as any expression of the views of lature proper measures of reform which this associathis association. At the meeting to-morrow the tion proposes. question will be fully, carefully and intelligently
Tendering my beartfelt thanks to the officers of discussed, and I have no doubt some conclusion
the association, who during the year of my adminiswill be reached which may work for the good of tration as president have labored so faithfully to our profession and of the public.
insure it success, and congratulating all of its memIt is evident from the foregoing statement that
bers upon its prosperty and usefulness, I close this for several years past the State Bar Association has brief statement of what has been done and what been rapidly growing in usefulness and importance. my be accomplished, with the expression of the Its list of membership now includes about one-tenth hope and expectation that this present prosperity of the bar of the State. This may seem a small and usefulness may be but a slight presage of the proportion, and no doubt it should be increased,
extent to whiclı its beneficent objects may hereafter but the influence which one-tenth of any learned
be accomplished. profession may exercise is not limited by its numerical proportion. Each member necessarily comes in .contact from day to day with other members of his
UNITED STATES CIRCUIT, profession; some are serving in the Legislature, COURT-JURISDICTION. -A trust company to which some are on the bench, some are occupying high bonds are delivered, merely to be held by it until official station, and where all take an interest in the performance of a condition by the payee entithe broad and beneficent objects specified as the tling it to possession, is a necessary, and not merely objects and purposes of such an association, and
a formal, party to an action by such payee against labor earnestly to attain those objects, much good it and the maker of the bonds to obtain their posmust necessarily result to the legal profession and session; and the United States Circuit Court of the to the whole people of the State.
State of which such maker is a resident has no juThe recent growth and uprising of public senti- risdiction of such action where plaintiff and such ment for municipal reform, for civil service reform, trust company are both non residents of such State, for legislative reform, enhances and emphasizes the but residents of the same State. (Massachusetts & opportunities and duty of the members of the legal S. Const. Co. v. Township of Cane Creek (U. S. S. profession to take part in the conduct of civic af- IC.), 15 S. C. Rep. 91.)