125 Years Ago
April 1888: Judge David Depue, charging an Essex County Grand Jury, said ineffectual police efforts to suppress "disorderly houses" could be remedied only by vigorous grand jury action. "The fault for this condition of affairs is not with the law, for the law holds not only the inmates of such houses indictable," he said. "The law has been settled that the owner of a house or his agent who rents a house, knowing that it is to be used for the purpose of a brothel, may also be indicted as the keeper."
100 Years Ago
May 1913: The Law Journal editors opposed a bill in the Legislature that would allow attorneys at law of 10 years’ standing to become counselors at law without taking the counselor’s examination. "We admit it is a little mortifying for an attorney of many years’ practice to be questioned like a schoolboy before being enabled to inform the judges of the Supreme Court … what the law is," but "there is the same reason for an examination after ten years’ practice as after three years," they said.
75 Years Ago
May 5, 1938: The New Jersey Women Lawyers Club held their first annual meeting at the Essex House in Newark on April 30. There were 19 members in the group photograph taken, but there were about 250 women practicing law in New Jersey at the time. The first woman to be admitted to the state’s bar — Mary Philbrook in 1895 — was still active and held office as the club’s official historian.
50 Years Ago
May 2, 1963: The American Bar Foundation announced the launch of a year-long study on mental illness and criminal law, financed by a $99,000 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. The foundation’s president, Whitney Seymour, said the main thrust would be to reveal the practices in the handling of mentally ill offenders by police officers, prosecutors, courts, defense lawyers and mental hospital and prison personnel, as a basis for re-evaluating traditional concepts and approaches.
25 Years Ago
May 5, 1988: The Office of Attorney Ethics, founded five years earlier, was having an impact, if only by its presence. Though New Jersey lawyer numbers had soared about 36 percent since then, ethics grievances over the same period dropped 40 percent. There were 32,916 active lawyers in the state in 1987, compared with 24,262 in 1983. Grievances fell steadily to 838 in 1987 from 1,401 in 1983. That meant the percentage of lawyers targeted was cut in half, to 2.1 percent from 4.4 percent.