How Rates The American Lawyer? -- By: Jacob M. Lashly

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 089:353 (Jan 1932)
Article: How Rates The American Lawyer?
Author: Jacob M. Lashly


How Rates The American Lawyer?

Jacob M. Lashly

[At a time when notorious criminal lawyers are keeping themselves so much before the public in the defence of still more notorious criminals to the discredit of one of the noblest of professions, this address before the Law League of America and in large part published here, with the permission of the Commercial Law Journal, is a welcome antidote to the poison of suspicion aroused by unworthy members of the bar. Originally intended for the legal fraternity, it will be interesting and informing to the theological world also, and in general will help to create the impression that the lawyer of integrity is again to be the leader in this land of opportunity. — Editor.]

Recently a news campaign has been conducted by a great metropolitan daily newspaper in my home city evidently levelled indiscriminately against lawyers. A rising tide of criticism and comment emanating from numerous sources simultaneously appears to be warning the public to be upon its guard against the members of the bar. Numerous dubious transactions and isolated instances of misconduct throughout the United States involving lawyers have appeared to give rise to the suspicion upon the part of the press and a growing feeling upon the part of the public that the profession of the bar must be held responsible not only for every act of misconduct or impropriety committed by any lawyer, but that the bar generally is failing to meet its obligations and opportunities of citizenship and leadership. Systematic campaigns upon behalf of trust companies and life insurance agents throughout the country in connection with the solicitation of the writing of wills, trust instruments and the control of fiduciary business often include seductive innuendoes as to the lack of integrity, or worthiness of members of the bar.

* An address delivered before the 27th annual convention of the Commercial Law League of America at Toronto, July 88, 1931.

Claim departments of public service corporations and liability companies add the weight of their constant and continuous complaints against damage suit lawyers which ultimately react upon the reputation of the entire bar; and finally lawyers have themselves added numerous counts to their own indictment, for the ethical group, which, for convenience, one might call the “right wing” does not hesitate to charge the other members of the bar with being unfit and unworthy of the trust and confidence of its clientele and of the public. Nor has the “left wing” failed to fling back its defiance, accompanied by spirited countercharges and criticisms.

It is becoming increasingly evident that the type of publicity which is re...

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