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The Green Bag

than that expressed in a perfunctory insistence on fidelity, a requirement so vague as to lend itself to a wide range of interpretation. On the other hand, if the definition of moral fitness were made so concise as to include all the qualities reflected, for example, in the American Bar Association Code of Pro fessional Ethics, the resulting test might prove too rigorous to be capable of application, unless the definition of the lawyer fulfilling the obligations of pro fessional honor were made an elastic one. The problem how to define moral requirements for admission to the bar so that they shall be neither too rigorous and utopian on the one hand, nor too inclusive and commonplace on the other, is one of which we cannot venture a solution. It would be far better, how ever, to have a high, inspiring standard applied with great liberality, than to choose a standard which is easy of attain ment by all men of conventional decency and offers no hope of improvement of the character of the bar by weeding out some of the less desirable candidates. This brings us to a consideration of those qualities for which it is hard to find a name, and which the terms Philistine and bourgeois indicate perhaps better than any other. Certainly the legal profession is a wide profession, with its own minute subdivision of labor demanding of its members widely differing kinds and degrees of moral capacities. Some of its votaries musl be men of broad horizon, capable of exer cising large public and private trusts, and occupying a useful position of light and leading in the community, but the work of the profession also abounds in petty tasks to be performed, insignifi cant interests to be protected, and wastes of drudgery to be traversed with the endurance of dulled sensibility. It is therefore too much to expect that the

majority of lawyers should have an ex alted conception of their obligations to society, or that the legal profession as a whole can be characterized by that nobility of aspiration which goes hand in hand with honorable achievement and so lifts the guild of lawyers above the general level as to render it capable of universally applying the maxim noblesse oblige. It goes without saying that the majority of lawyers will oppose, or respond only feebly, to needed reforms of the time, particularly those most needed within their own profession, and will set an example of professional morale which, while not bad, is commonplace, and implies an indolent and excessive leaning on precedent and established usage. The characterization, of course, does not apply to the most intelligent and able, and we hope the most influential, section of the bar. There is fortunately nothing seriously disquieting about the legal philistine when he keeps himself in the background; it is when he leaps into a position of influence out of all relation to his personal merit that he is formid able, and that is a by no means uncom mon foible of the times. The supremacy of such a type, however, while a fre quent, is not a normal occurrence, and should not discourage the higher ele ments of the bar from working for the maintenance of ideals and achievement of reforms originating in the ethical consciousness of the minority, and offer ing a reasonable prospect of triumph through the tacit acquiescence of the majority. Thus the profession may rea sonably inculcate higher ethical aims than most of its members may be able to attain, and may steadily exert an upward pressure that can be expected to bring about a slow and gradual advance in professional standards. England confides the admission of candidates for the bar to the four Inns