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Gentlemen, you have before you the sixteen propositions which have been in print for the past two years. They were first submitted to you, and then they were printed and sent out to every member of the American Bar Association, and they have had the benefit of their criticism. Now it is for you to say whether you are of the opinion that the standard rules can be debated by this Section; whether the standard rules that are before you are such as are desirable to have adopted, or whether being in doubt as to whether they are or not in view of the limitation of time you desire to postpone the subject, as has been suggested by the Chairman of the committee, after such debate as you may see fit to give to the subject. What is the pleasure of the Section?
Roscoe Pound, of Massachusetts:
I move that the committee be continued and instructed to prepare a final draft next year in the light of the suggestions which they have received and which they may receive and the discussion at this meeting.
The motion was seconded and carried.
Wilfrid Bovey, of the Inner Temple and the Bar of Montreal, then read a paper on "The Control Exercised by the Inns of Court over Admission to the Bar in England."
(This paper follows these minutes, page 767.)
Clarence A. Lightner, of Michigan, then read a paper on “A More Complete Inquiry Into the Moral Character of Applicants for Admission to the Bar."
(This paper follows these minutes, page 775.)
The report of the Nominating Committee was then submitted, the following being recommended as officers of the Section:
For Chairman: Charles A. Boston, of New York.
The report was received and the nominees unanimously elected
Next in order is the discussion of the papers to which we have listened, and I will call upon Mr. A. R. McMaster, of the Montreal Bar, if he will kindly favor us, to speak on the subject of "The Control Exercised by the Inns of Court."
A. R. McMaster, of Montreal:
Mr. Chairman and gentlemen: I will make no attempt to discuss the papers which you have just had the pleasure of listening to, because it has been intimated to me that the members of this Section of the American Bar Association might be interested in hearing something of the work of legal education in the Province of Quebec which strikes a sort of happy medium, it seems to me, between the English system and the system of the American law schools.
I do not pretend that the system which we follow is suitable for the conditions in the United States. With those conditions I am not familiar, and I would not attempt to say that what is suitable for us in the Province of Quebec is suitable for the inhabitants of the more populous, though somewhat smaller country. In the Province of Quebec we have two great universities whose law faculties undertake in a large measure the education of those who desire to present themselves as members of the Bar.
I should first preface my remarks with the statement that the Bar here is a corporation and has complete control over the admission, the suspension and the disbarment of its members. A young man desiring to enter the legal profession in the Province of Quebec, has to do one of two things before he can begin his study. He has to present his degree from a recognized university, his degree of bachelor of arts, or a literary degree of some sort, or he has to pass a fairly stiff examination, quite as stiff as the examination for matriculation in most universities. Then he is prepared to study law. If he enters for examination, that examination is conducted by examiners appointed by the corporation. of the Bar. He then decides whether he will follow a four years' course, or a three years' course, taking lectures at either McGill University or Laval University, and if so he will follow the
ordinarily prescribed legal course in the law faculties of either of these universities. McGill University, as you know, is situated here in the City of Montreal, and Laval University has a branch in Quebec, and another branch also in Montreal. The system followed in both universities is practically the same. The student articles himself to some lawyer. We have the old-fashioned French system of notaries in this province, and such a contract as a contract of marriage or a hypothec, is not valid unless it is in the regular notarial form. The notaries are a separate body, and they do most of our conveyancing. Well, after the young man has chosen some lawyer to act as his patron he apprentices himself to this lawyer. Then, in the early morning hours he betakes himself to the university and has one or two hours of law lectures. In Laval he would start in at 8 o'clock and stay until 10 o'clock, and in McGill University he would start at half past 8 and stay until half past 9. Then he will repair to the law office where he has apprenticed himself and will remain until 4 or 5 o'clock in the afternoon. If he is particularly bright he may get some small emolument for his services in the office, but very often he does not get anything. What he learns in the office depends very largely, indeed, upon the man himself. He cannot expect a busy lawyer to stop his work to teach him, but if he will make himself useful in an office he has opportunities for learning a very great deal. For instance, take the filing of papers in court, which consumes so much time and which is done in many offices by some clerk who remains a law clerk all his life, with us that work is largely done by the students. Then in the afternoon the student will have another one of the lectures. In that way he gets three hours a day of theoretical work, and he gets four or five hours of practical work in the office. I think we may compare this sort of work to the work that medical students do who take a certain number of lectures in the school of the university and then put in the rest of the time in hospital work in order to see the practical application of what they have been learning about.
That is the system, in short. It has this advantage: The man who is really interested in his work will not remain filing papers
very long. He will be asked to look up authorities. He will be asked to go into court with his patrons and serve as a junior. Not to examine witnesses, but he can make himself useful in a hundred different ways. He can take abstracts of the evidence as the trial proceeds, and he can acquire almost unconsciously the atmosphere of the court so that when he is called upon to plead his first case he knows what a court looks like and how a witness should be examined and cross-examined.
A great many of our law students are university men. Some of them, of course, become of great use in the office in which they are located. I have known of cases in which men in their third year will almost be doing the work of a junior in a law firm. In fact, they will be doing almost everything except seeing clients and appearing in court to conduct cases themselves. The advantage to the students I believe is this: That it is a practical way of learning law. It makes an awful grind for anybody who takes it up seriously because it means office work part of the day and lectures part of the day, and at night it means hard study; but any man to be a successful lawyer has got to work hard and it is just as well perhaps for the student in his youth to learn how to bear the burden.
The result of the system is that when a young man starts off to practice by himself he will be able to do, with a fair amount of success, whatever work is brought to him. He will get the grocer's bad account to collect or a promissory note to collect, and in that way the simpler things which come to a lawyer at the beginning of his practice are capable of accomplishment by a man who has undergone the law course which comprises the university and the office which is combined in the Province of Quebec.
Russell Whitman, of Illinois:
I have been much interested in this meeting. Next to New York I suppose our examiners in Illinois probably have to pass upon as many applicants for admission to the Bar as are passed upon by any one body.
There are a few matters which occur to me, which I shall state briefly, that I should like to mention because I think this meeting
is far more wide-reaching than the numbers that I see here would of themselves indicate. I was deeply impressed by the suggestion in the address of Mr. Lightner as to the moral qualifications of aspirants for admission to the Bar. Now I am going to assume, notwithstanding the difference in latitude, that moral qualifications are as important in Montreal as they are in New York or Chicago or Boston or in any city; I am assuming that clients in Detroit, in Boston, in Chicago, in New York, and in Montreal, desire to know first of all whether their representative at the Bar is an honest man whom they can fairly trust. That I conceive is one of the first things which this Section should devote its attention to, and in that I believe I have the concurrence not only of Mr. Lightner, but of every lawyer both in Canada and in the United States.
Addressing myself to that question as to the moral qualifications of aspirants for the Bar both in Canada and in the United States, I may say this: We have tried as well as we know how in Illinois to see to it that so far as we could accomplish it every aspirant to practice law should be a man of moral character. I am a great believer in concrete matters. All the platitudes, all the assertions and asseverations about a lawyer being honest are quite true, but let us get down to the facts. How are we going to find out in Canada or in the United States whether a young man does measure up to the moral standard that we require? Montreal is a large city, and I hope that my suggestion will not fall on deaf ears.
New York is a large city. Chicago is a large city. In the country everybody knows when a young man comes up that he is the son of old John Smith that lives down in the Baptist neighborhood and he probably is all right. But in New York or in Chicago or in Montreal or in Toronto one cannot tell just from the mention of the name that the young man is the son of John Smith of so and so. Now, what do we do? We advertise for ten days that Thomas Smith, the son of John Smith of so and so, wants to be admitted to the Bar. He is required to advertise in a legal publication. But how few of us see legal publications-that