Page:The Green Bag (1889–1914), Volume 25.pdf/428

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THE LEGAL PROFESSION ON THE DEFENSIVE t 'TT THY is the legal profession on the » » defensive?" is a question in answer to which Mr. Wilbur Larremore expressed some suggestive reflections not long ago in the New York Times.1 It would hardly be possible to give the meat of that very interesting paper in a nut shell. Mr. Larremore wrote of the importance of the lawyer in American affairs, observed by Tocqueville, the conditions which have made the lawyer an important instrument in the shaping of governmental policy because he alone has the necessary expert knowl edge, the extravagances of the doctrine of judicial precedent, the disposition to correct these extravagances that has been more apparent in the courts and among the younger generation of law yers than in the older section of the bar, the growing sentiment in favor of codification, and the importance of some understanding of constitutional law to the layman. Perhaps the ex planation why the legal profession is "on the defensive" furnished by this line of discussion is not explicit, but the general conclusion that too high a barrier has separated the highly technical craft of the lawyer from the other interests of life is likely to be approved as one of the chief causes of the lack of that community of aspiration which is needed to bring the lawyer and 1 Issue of Sunday, June 1, 1913.

the layman into more heartily reciprocal relations. We are led to regard the realization of two ends as greatly to be desired: first, that of what may be called "human izing" the law; second, that of teaching laymen something of the law's nature and workings. If lawyer and layman are to meet on common ground the law must come down toward the people, but it is quite as important that the people shall mount toward the law. The way to humanize the law is to banish those artificial doctrines which have fastened on the law its evil appellation of an occult science, to insist that legal prob lems shall be treated in a spirit of honest scientific investigation, to suppress that logical casuistry which pays more atten tion to syllogisms than to their premises, and to fit the law into its place in social science rather than to sequestrate it from the general field of knowledge. Only in this way can the law become an open book to the educated layman. The way to turn laymen toward the law, on the other hand, is to give con stitutional law its proper place in a liberal education, to inculcate the general features of our system of law, public and private, in the universities, to present this subject in its organic rela tions with human society rather than as a narrowly technical discipline, and to see that the law receives its proper share of attention in the teaching of history and politics. As we advance toward higher scientific