125 Years Ago

September 1887: At the American Bar Association’s annual meeting in Saratoga, N.Y., the Committee on Jurisprudence and Law Reform made a report in favor of enactment of laws, similar to those in England, providing for general use of the whipping post as the punishment for wife beating and for brutal assaults with sling shots, brass knuckles or similar weapons. “It brought out the only exciting debate of the session and was finally laid upon the table,” the Law Journal reported.

100 Years Ago

September 1912: The Law Journal editor, returning from a European trip, lamented the dearth of U.S. news in newspapers there. “The Paris edition of the New York Herald, which is printed in English, purports to give American news but it is chiefly of the millionaires residing at Newport and on the Continent and in no wise fills the bill of an American newspaper,” he wrote. But, he added, “Perhaps it is quite as well.”

75 Years Ago

September 2, 1937: Court officials in Washington, D.C., started a drive to rid the lower courts there of “shyster” lawyers who, it was believed, had hired “high-pressure salesmen” on a commission basis to drum up business around court buildings. Incensed judges ordered the salesmen run off court premises. “It was found that they had become so numerous that a person could hardly get into the court buildings without meeting one or more of them,” the Law Journal reported.

50 Years Ago

August 30, 1962: Sylvester Smith Jr., of Newark, was about to make his first speech as the new president of the American Bar Association, addressing the Maine State Bar Association on the topic, “The Image of the Lawyer.” Smith, who was N.J. State Bar Association president in 1940-41, was sworn in as the ABA chief on Aug. 10.

25 Years Ago

September 3, 1987: In a suit filed in Union County, Westinghouse was asking for an injunction requiring every insurer that provided the company with coverage since 1948 to pay cleanup costs for its 90 Superfund sites. According to figures from the federal government, the total cost could have exceeded $700 million. Similar suits had been filed elsewhere in the nation, with mixed results, and more were expected.