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larger counties, would sit as committing magistrate and conduct an examination, binding over for trial. The accused should then have the privilege of electing whether he will be tried by the county judge at once, or will be tried by the circuit judge when he comes to hold court in the county. If the offense be punishable by life imprisonment, trial would always be by the circuit judge.
A state now having only one appellate court, the same number of judges would constitute the new Supreme Court and would divide their work as they might choose, subject to rules made by the judicial council. When a greater number of supreme judges than seven are required, there would necessarily be a division according to rules, and a central first appellate division, or Supreme court division, would exercise final jurisdiction, taking appeals for a second hearing at discretion. Additional supreme court judges to prevent congestion as business temporarily increases, would be drafted from the circuit court, by special assignment and would sit in courts of three or five, with a representative of the regular Supreme court with them to preside.
This is the plan of the American Judicature Society, which has its headquarters in Chicago and which now has a representation among the lawyers of every state. It is committed to the work of drafting model acts embodying the best experience of the several states and other English speaking jurisdictions in the administration of justice. A considerable feature is made of the needs of large cities, those exceeding a hundred thousand population, which are progressing toward important changes in advance of the states in which they are located. While complete reform means reform on a statewide basis, there will doubtless be some such cities which should not be held back until the entire state is ready to move. For such cities, a draft of a model judicature act has been made by the society, creating a proper judicial organization to dispense justice in a manner adapted to a twentieth century metropolitan district. The society will also address itself to the preparation of an act intended to effect a better organization of the bar, and another act intended to simplify the reporting of decisions.
You may be interested in the history of the American Judicature Society. Some two or three years ago a wealthy citizen
of Michigan said he would give the necessary funds to properly finance such a movement, if a group of men could be found to direct an undertaking to modernize court procedure. He employed a member of the Michigan Bar, Mr. Herbert Harley, who traveled all over this country and made up councils in various states, of which council in this state, I believe your President is a member. Then, eleven trustees to serve without salary, were elected to direct the work. The Board consists of the following
Harry Olson, Chicago,
Chief Justice, Municipal Court of Chicago.
James Parker Hall, Chicago,
Dean, University of Chicago Law School.
of Chicago Bar.
Frederick W. Lehmann, St. Louis,
of St. Louis Bar, former President, American Bar Assn. Albert M. Kales, Chicago,
Professor of Law in Northwestern University.
Roscoe Pound, Cambridge, Massachusetts,
Professor of Law in Harvard University.
John H. Wigmore, Chicago,
Dean, Northwestern University School of Law.
John B. Winslow, Madison, Wisconsin,
Chief Justice of Wisconsin.
Nathan William MacChesney, Chicago,
of the Chicago Bar.
Herbert Harley, 29 South LaSalle Street, Chicago,
We have met nearly every week for more than a year, and we have employed the most expert draftsmen to prepare a plan:
First: For an act which we believe to be ideal, with necessary constitutional amendments, to meet the situation in a particular state.
Second: For an act that may be adopted under the present constitutional provisions.
I have taken up your time to outline this work, for I believe it to be a real contribution towards the solution of some of our difficulties. We are much worse off in my state than you are here, and yet I find when I get into a given state, that they have the troubles you do not hear about, when you are away, so Judge
Jacob M. Dickinson suggested you might be interested in the work.
I will close, with just a word on two or three situations in Illinois. First, as to the selection of our judges. We have had difficulty there in getting men of adequate capacity. The fact is, the remuneration of the bar is so much larger, although our salaries in Chicago are from six to nine thousand dollars for municipal judges, and ten to twelve thousand dollars for circuit judges, and the permanency of it is so much more assured that unless you get a man young or get him when he is ready to retire to go on the bench it is difficult to persuade the ones we would like to see there to take the nominations and we have had, especially in our lower courts, a distressing lowering of standard. Nor are the salary and uncertainty the only drawbacks. The fact is, men resent the waste of tmie the feeling that they are ineffective; and for lawyers to go into our courts, is a waste of time. There is hardly any lawyer of considerable practice but who sends in juniors most of the time, because he cannot afford to give the time it takes under present conditions. This all breeds in him a distaste for the whole business and he is not attracted to the court either as a barrister or an occupant of the bench.
Our circuit and superior courts in Cook County have formulated and adopted rules for their twenty-six judges along the line proposed by the American Judicature Society plan so far as they can under their present organization and both our Bench and Bar hope for improved conditions.
And then, too, the method of selection is such that it does not bring out the best men. We have found out the disadvantages of the primary plan or system. I was a believer in that at one time. I believed that it would get us away from some of the bad features of the old convention plan, but the trouble with the primary system is, you cannot get men of standing to announce themselves as candidates under the primary system for it means two campaigns. One of the things that has been done to select the best man we had running and to stimulate ambition to go upon the Bench has been the holding of a Bar primary and the issuance of a report upon the judges themselves, giving a picture of the man who is a candidate, together with a brief history of his record at the bar, and stating that he has had experience
and is regarded as a man of average ability; or has good ability as a lawyer; or it is rumored that he is not competent; or is utterly lacking in integrity; or that he is honest and responsible.
That has had a restraining effect upon some men, who hesitate to face such an appraisal by the Bar Association. On the other hand a good man who is persuaded to run, if he is sent into the popular primary with the endorsement of the Bar, has a better chance to get the united support of the bar and of the independent vote. An endorsement upon the part of his brethren at the Bar is something which compensates the good candidate for the chances of a political contest; it is something of which he may well be proud, and it does have a good effect.
A word about the bar. We have about seven thousand lawyers at our bar; there are about eleven thousand in New York. Of our seven thousand lawyers, not over two thousand, I presume, make as much as fifteen hundred dollars a year, net, and not over one thousand make as much as twenty-five thousand dollars net and the business of the city is done by five hundred lawyers.
To discuss the question of how we could increase the responsibility of the lawyers, and facilitate the administration of the courts, there was a little dinner the other night, at which there were forty-three of us present to discuss the situation and possibly organize a society with the idea we would work out among ourselves, the responsible firms of Chicago, a system by which we could facilitate the trial of cases and secure speedy and effective administration of justice. We had the Chief Justice of the various courts there and we all agreed to see if we could get together to eliminate unnecessary contention, so it would not take a day and a half to prove a wheelbarrow wasn't an automobile, or the length of a car rail, or the type of a street car, so that he could get right at the matter in controversy and try to agree upon such things as submissions of instructions to the jury in advance, so that counsel might point out to the judge matters to which objections would be made, and agree to abide by such objections raised at that time although we have a legal right to do otherwise, and not take and raise objections for the first time after days of investigation in the library.
It shows what could be done by the bar if they got together.
And a last word about our grievance work. I noticed by a paper this morning you have adopted a plan for grievance committee work. We have at our bar a Grievance Committee consisting of five men who meet every week, who are, appointed among the men in active practice. Our grievance committee retains and has the entire time of a lawyer who prosecutes for it. Complaints are made before this committee, either by the members of the bar, or the Supreme Court or the inferior courts. When the complaint is filed against a lawyer the matter is considered by the committee; if it is a prima facie case, he is ruled to answer, whether a member of the bar association or not and if he refuses to answer, it is gone into ex parte. If the committee deems it sufficient, it files an information for disbarment in the Supreme Court, with the recommendation by the Bar Association that he be disbarred, if found guilty. We have just adopted a scheme for the gradation of punishment in order that we may reach a larger number of cases where disbarment is not justified but where some action should be taken, punishing the man slightly where he should have slight punishment, but not letting the matter go. The plan gives the committee power:
1. To privately admonish the offender and recommend to such offender the proper course to pursue under the circumstances, and what, if any, reparation should be made to the complainant.
2. In all other cases, the committee shall first report its conclusions to the Board of Managers in writing, and by and with the consent and approval of said Board of Managers, may:
(a) Publicly admonish the offender before the Board of Managers of this Association at any meeting thereof.
(b) Post the name of such offender with a statement of his offense upon the bulletin board of this Association in its Library Room for such limited time as the committee may direct.
(e) Publicly admonish the offender before any regular meeting of the Chicago Bar Association.
(d) Publish the names of offenders in any Report of this Association with a statement of the offense and the censure of the committee.