125 Years Ago
May 1888: Vice-Chancellor Abraham Van Fleet offered a novel work-around for a tough problem in an alimony case. The defendant insisted he had been divorced in Colorado and that New Jersey had to give full faith and credit, leaving no ground for an alimony petition. Van Fleet suggested that the petition be withdrawn and that the wife, or ex-wife, file a bill in equity for a declaration on the foreign divorce's validity.
100 Years Ago
May 1913: The Law Journal editors were appreciative of an act of the Legislature empowering the governor to appoint a commission to collect and preserve state archives and to supervise retention of records in local government offices, especially ancient records. They lamented "the sale or destruction of many documents antedating the Revolution, added to the neglect of most of the counties of the state to properly care for such of their later documents as have no longer legal value."
75 Years Ago
May 12, 1938: Legislation authorizing experimental sound recording in federal courts was expected to be passed by Congress. Its sponsor, Rep. Sam Hobbs of Alabama, was the foremost proponent of "talking pictures" as a means of improving dispensation of justice. The pilot program would begin in the District of Columbia courts and then would be gradually expanded. It called for court reporters to operate the sound recorders and then to prepare transcripts, as requested, from the recording.
50 Years Ago
May 9, 1963: U.S. Chief Justice Earl Warren urged in a speech that legal research needed to be broadened to include "jurisprudence of the world rule of law; the exploitation of new sources of international law; the creation of new concepts of international law; creative, intellectual efforts in designing and improving international institutions; the provision of teaching materials and new kinds of courses; and supplying materials to educate and influence public opinion in all parts of the world."
25 Years Ago
May 12, 1988: A State Bar Association committee studying mandatory continuing legal education issued a report laying out a model plan but making no recommendation for or against it. It called for a minimum of 20 credits over two years, which lawyers could earn in a variety of ways. Up to six credits could be earned by listening to audio tapes and another six through self-study. Proponents touted the program's flexibility, but MCLE would not be adopted in New Jersey for another 22 years.