Page:The Green Bag (1889–1914), Volume 25.pdf/409

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384

The Green Bag

views and administering big affairs in a big way. The head of the Union Pacific Railroad, with its hundreds of millions of productive property, is a lawyer; a country lawyer at that. The presidents of all the street railroads, on, above and below the surface in New York City, are lawyers. The head of the United States Steel Corporation, the largest manufacturing and business concern in the world, is not a steel maker but a lawyer. The president of the United States Rubber Co. was formerly Attorney-General of Rhode Island. The president of the American Biscuit Co. is a lawyer. The president of the Mergenthaler Linotype Co., which makes those wonderful type-setting machines, is a lawyer, and when there was a vacancy in the presidency of the International Paper Co., which supplies a large percentage of newspapers with their paper, the same lawyer was selected. The presidents of some of the largest trust companies in New York, which guard the estates of widows and orphans, amounting in the aggregate to many millions of dollars, are lawyers. Nearly all of the great private banking houses of New York that you read so much about have one or two partners that are lawyers. If you haven't ex amined into it, you would be surprised how this list could be extended. These men do not usurp the functions of the counsel for these companies, but run and operate these corporations. I have only spoken of New York, but the same thing no doubt holds good all over the country. Now why is this so? Because the practice of the profession gives law yers a broad knowledge of men and things. It makes them quick to absorb and use the knowledge of genuine experts. It makes them recognize that there are always two sides to every question, and therefore it makes them fair and

judicial in their judgments. It makes them faithful and true to those who trust them. They are not selected to fill these positions because they have large moneyed interests in these vast concerns, — which is rarely the case, — but because those who have the moneyed interests know they can trust not only their ability, but, above all else, their honesty and fidelity. There never has been a time when so many lawyers have been called, not through political man oeuvring but on their merits, to fill so many places of enormous respon sibility. Was there ever a time when clients consulted lawyers so freely? With ab solute and abiding faith they bare their hearts and their souls to their lawyers. They consult them on legal questions, on business questions, and on family matters. Lawyers may not always be as fair to their adversaries as they should • be, but do you know of many lawyers who ever betrayed the faith and con fidence of their clients? I do not. Speaking of advice, it seems to me there never was a time when it was so hard for lawyers to give advice on some of the important legal questions of the day as it is now. Many of these ques tions are finally decided by divided courts. How can a lawyer, with safety, guess which side will have the narrow majority? Let the flamboyant orator and the sensational newspaper writer say what they will, there never was a time when lawyers, as a class, were so genuinely respected and looked up to and trusted as they are now. Coupled with the denunciation of lawyers, this country for the past few years has witnessed violent attacks on the judiciary. I am sorry to be com pelled to say that some judges of high courts have become frightened by these