125 Years Ago
November 1887: The jury in Mary Ann Lindsley’s lunacy case, when asked if her mind was so impaired that she was incapable of managing her own affairs, stated, “We find that [her] mind is impaired by age and other causes and that she is not capable of managing her own affairs.” Chancellor Alexander McGill called the reply evasive, since it lacked a finding that incapacity was due to unsoundness of mind. “It would be a dangerous precedent to strain such a return as this into a determination of the issue … where the outcome is to strip one of his property and liberty,” he said.
100 Years Ago
November 1912: The attempted assassination of Theodore Roosevelt on Oct. 14 while campaigning in Milwaukee on the Bull Moose party ticket led the Law Journal to call for detaining, for psychological examination, anyone who threatened a public official. “There are a large number of cranks of various sorts writing threatening letters, … and there is no reason why they should be allowed to run around loose when there is a possible danger if they continue to enjoy their freedom,” the editors wrote.
75 Years Ago
November 11, 1937: A survey of lawyers’ salaries in California showed that recent law graduates were paid more than twice as much in big cities, $1,300 annually, than in small towns, where first-year earnings averaged $600. But five years out of school, things were reversed: Country lawyers drew about $4,500, whereas city lawyers had to be content with only $2,890. Oddly enough, fifth-year lawyers in midsized municipalities, those of 50,000 to 100,000 people, fared the worst, earning $2,160.
50 Years Ago
November 15, 1962: Beginning that year, 90 American law schools, all of which required the newfangled Law School Admission Test, started exchanging information about students selected and rejected. The reason was that increased competition for admission was impelling applicants to hedge against rejection by applying to several schools. If accepted by their top choices, they often failed to notify their safety schools, leaving the latter ones uncertain about the state of their fall class rosters.
25 Years Ago
November 12, 1987: Despite steady growth in American Bar Association membership nationwide, New Jersey numbers were flat. About 45 percent of N.J. lawyers were ABA members, roughly the same percentage as in 1982. That ranked the Garden State 45th nationwide. Attorneys surveyed stated their perception that the ABA was heavily big-firm-oriented, with little for solos or small-firm practitioners.