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The Pennsylvania Bar Association The committee having the matter of a Municipal Court for Philadelphia in charge was compelled to announce that there had been too much opposition to the proposed constitutional amend ment for it to have any chance of being passed upon by the present legislature. While the "Five Judges Bill," adding one judge to each of the Common Pleas courts, had been enacted, the con stitutional amendment proposition had been so vigorously opposed by the magistrates of Philadelphia that it was found impossible to have the proposal introduced in the legislature or to have it receive any consideration at the hands of that body. The Association is supporting proposed legislation providing for the employ ment in useful labor of all inmates of state penal institutions. Such employ ment is regarded as necessary to their health and sanity, and the greatest opposition to it comes from organized labor. The special Committee on Re vision and Amendment of the Penal Laws desires the legislature to create a commission to investigate the whole subject. A bill for such a commission has already passed the House, and the committee believed that Governor Tener would sign the bill. To carry out the reform, all portions of the criminal code which relate to "separate and solitary confinement" must be amended. The contingent fee question proved a stumbling-block, as it frequently does when bar associations debate issues of professional ethics. In the report that attracted most attention and led to the most animated debate of the meet ing, the Committee on Contingent Fees recommended the passage of two acts, one "giving the courts power to fix the compensation to be paid to counsel under agreements for contingent fees, giving to counsel, under such agree


ments when filed of record, an en forceable lien for fees, and providing that under certain circumstances the court may refuse any fee in spite of such agreement"; the other an act "avoiding releases executed by per sons suffering personal injuries when the release is executed within thirty days of the injury." While one wellknown member of the Association, Alexander Simpson, Jr., of Philadelphia, claimed that the proposition did not go far enough, and suggested an amend ment making all agreements for con tingent fees obtained by solicitation of the client or without his voluntary action invalid, the opinion of many of the speakers was that the contingent fee is a godsend to the poor client and that the fixing of such fees could not in fairness to the lawyer be left to the court. In consequence of this senti ment both proposed acts were referred back to the committee for further con sideration, with a request that the com mittee report on the advisability of having the contingent fee system con trolled through the local bar associa tions rather than by act of the legis lature. One speaker, J. R. Jones of Scranton, recommended that the General As sembly should enact a law providing for the punishment for "jury fixing" with from four to seven years in the peni tentiary. It was voted that this abuse, which Mr. Jones asserted to prevail in some parts of the state, be investigated by the Committee on Law Reform, the committee to determine for itself whether legislative action should be asked for. The similar attitude of Senator Root toward the initiative and referendum, in his two recent Princeton lectures, is recalled by the majority report of the Special Committee on the Initiative, Referendum and Recall. The majority