125 Years Ago
September 1888: William H. Chamberlain, in an address to the Harvard Law School Association, gave this definition of the chief function and value of law schools: "To learn law is not to learn the practice of law. To learn law is not to learn cases. To learn law is speaking compendiously to learn the principles of law and to learn its principles is to seize them with a firm and unrelaxing hold, to make them familiar to the mind part of our permanent professional furniture and equipment."
100 Years Ago
September 1913: Samuel Wilson, whose official duties in connection with the Anti-Saloon League required him to endeavor to obtain indictments against those engaged in illegal Sunday liquor traffic, reported on his dismal experience with Hudson County grand juries: "Some of the grand jurors interrogated the complaining witness as though he were a criminal. They investigated their private records and asked all manner of impudent questions; but later my experience was they would listen to your story, ask no questions, and then quietly bury the evidence in an official grave."
75 Years Ago
September 15, 1938: In response to a demand for legal texts for blind lawyers and law students, the Library of Congress caused to have 13 major legal works embossed in Braille and distributed to 10 libraries around the country — one for each federal judicial circuit (at the time). There were estimated to be about 108 practicing blind lawyers in the country, a number that at times included members of the U.S. Senate.
50 Years Ago
September 19, 1963: In response to President Kennedy's June call to lawyers for "affirmative action" on civil rights, the N.J. State Bar Association organized a State Committee on Civil Rights and some county bars created their own committees. But the Law Journal editors observed, "If the lawyer and the bar associations are to make a substantial contribution in the civil rights field, they will have to do so by moving beyond case law, legislation and regulation into the broad areas of social relations."
25 Years Ago
September 15, 1988: New Jersey's financially strapped Joint Underwriting Association, a pool of carriers that insured high-risk drivers, asked attorneys handling its claim defense work to cap their hourly fees at $75, down from the market rate of $85 to $90. It was part of a wider cost-control effort by the JUA, which reported an operational deficit of $2.5 million. Carriers seeking to be accepted into the pool would be encouraged to select lawyers from a list of firms that had agreed to the $75 rate.