Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

PROCEEDINGS.

would go to work if you were going to earn a fee, or as if you were going to get $10,000 as the result of your action, and you will never do anything until you go to work in that way.

Now, the representatives from Chicago constitute onethird of the whole body of the legislature. They are all of them politicians, and it is said of many of them that they are not of the most high-minded kind of men imaginable. And yet-would you believe it?-in the last year these men have passed a law which, in effect as regards politics and as regards the political future and political activity of these men, is as self-denying as though they had enacted the Ten Commandments and empowered somebody to enforce them on themselves. I refer to the civil service law. Yet that law was the result of ten years of misdirected energy, and about three months of well-directed, energy. For ten years a committee representing a body much more numerous than this body had borne down to Springfield resolutions couched in most beautiful language, and left those resolutions with the legislature and then returned to Chicago and wondered why the laws that the resolutions endorsed were not placed on the statute books. The reason was simply this: The members of the Legislature of the State of Illinois are anxious to cater to public opinion. They are looking around, when they are not actuated by selfish motives, for classes of people they can gratify by their action, and the minute they understand that any considerable number of people want anything they are glad to give it to them. That is the way they get office, the way they hold office and build themselves up. Now, the masses of the people wanted civil service reform and the destruction of the spoils system. A meeting of all the clubs in Chicago was called. They sent delegates to Springfield. Those delegates went once, twice, ten times. They addressed the Lower House; they addressed the Senate; they told the members about the evils existing and the remedies proposed. They followed the thing up with as mnch persistence and energy as if they were going to get $10.000 a piece out of it. They impressed the Legislature with the idea that the people wanted civil service reform, and they got it.

Now, if you gentlemen would go to work as though you were handling a law suit, I don't think there would be any

PROCEEDINGS.

trouble in securing almost any reform that you can make the legislature believe the bar of Illinois wants. But who can tell whether or not the bar of Illinois wants a reform in the administration of the law, or a change in the procedure? You don't represent the bar, except theoretically. These gentlemen know nothing about what the masses of the bar want in the matter. The first thing you have got to do is to devise some method by which their wishes can be ascertained. I know of no better way than to set down a resolution for argument at the next meeting of this Association, allowing it a day or half a day; and then, by means of circulars, tell the members of the bar that the time has come for the Illinois lawyers to discuss whether they want a change in the methods of procedure. Make it a special business to get the lawyers here, and then have a knock-down and drag out fight on that question. [Laughter.] Have your bills prepared and introduced in the legislature. Then have your session here. Let the bar of Illinois speak on these questions. Ascertain their views, and crystalize those views' into bills. Bring your legitimate political influence to bear upon the representatives from your district, and I venture to say you will get anything you want.

And the same in regard to the Supreme Court. You know there is more political power in the little finger of the clerk of one of the divisions of the Supreme Court than in all of the gentlemen here. You have got to bring your power to bear on these clerks. You must serve notice upon the Supreme Court-you must say: "Hands off, gentlemen! You are behind with your opinions. You say you haven't time. We know you lose time traveling around over the State. We serve notice on you that you must keep your hands off. We are going to consolidate your court.” If you set to work in that way—in the way you set to work to win a law-suitthe Supreme Court will be consolidated. There is no question about it. A majority of the Supreme Court once sent word to a member of the Senate that they were in favor of consolidating the court at Springfield. When they were requested to put their names to a document to that effect, they would not do it. Why? The clerks have political power. They come up for re-election. Now, if the people are in favor of this thing, they could not go against that political influence.

PROCEEDINGS.

Now, I say you must first decide what you want. You never have decided what you wanted as the result of a full, fair, free, earnest discussion. Then set to work through your committees in the same way you set to work to get anything else you are in favor of, and I have no doubt whatever that you will get almost anything you want.

MR. BEACH: This is the first Association meeting I had the pleasure of attending, and I want to say that I do not think the Association should be condemned for what it has done or for what it has not done. It has accomplished results; it has accomplished a great deal. There is more yet to be accomplished. Now, I like very much the suggestion which I understood was put in the form of a resolution by Judge Payne this morning. I can speak from experience as to the different systems of practice. I practiced most of my professional life in a code State; I have practiced but about eight years in this State. My practice since I have been in this State has led me into a number of States in which a code prevails — Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, South Dakota and Missouri; and I can say from my experirience, as well as observation, that business in the courts can be vastly expedited by the system of practice that is recognized and established by the laws of those States to a greater extent than under the system of practice in this State, where form, rather than substance is regarded, and where so much of the time of the courts is consumed in the consideration of mere questions of form. Now, I believe, as Judge Payne says, in being practical, if anything. He has proclaimed that as his principle. It should not only be the principle, but the motto, of this Association. If we put off action upon that resolution so that it may be discussed at a subsequent meeting of this Association, it will be too late to bring it up for effective action in the legislature. I think it ought to be adopted now, and I therefore move, if it is proper and in order. that Judge Payne's resolution, that the forms of pleading be abolished, or whatever was embraced in his proposition, expressed in his admirable language, be adopted, and that the matter be referred to the proper committee to secure legislative action in accordance therewith.

PRESIĐENT HARKER: The motion will properly come under No. 25 of the programme-"Miscellaneous business."

PROCEEDINGS.

seems

MR. GARY: Everyone seems to agree that we ought to have a larger attendance, that we ought to have a larger membership, and I am going to suggest that the next meeting be held in Chicago, in the summer time, when lawyers are accustomed to take their vacations. This suggestion does not originate with me. but I am heartily in favor of it. It

to me that if the Association should meet at the Beach Hotel in Chicago the latter part of July, when lawyers and their wives are desirous of having their vacation, it is possible we could have a very large attendance, and perhaps the membership could be largely increased. I think some of the gentlemen here have concluded, from past experience, in trying to hold one meeting in Chicago, that it was not a success; but I believe that meeting was held in the winter time, and perhaps it was at a time when lawyers could not very well get away from their duties in the courts. I will therefore make the motion that it is the sense of this Association that its next meeting be held about the middle of next July at the Beach Hotel in Chicago.

PRESIDENT HARKER: I would suggest, gentlemen, before there is a second to the motion, that the motion can properly be made only in the form of a suggestion to the Executive Committee, because the Association itself has not the power to fix the time and place of the meeting. That is done by the executive committee.

MR. GROSS: Permit me to say that the motion of my Brother Gary meets my hearty approval. I believe there is something in it. I believe one reason why we have not had a larger attendance here is because our sessions here have uniformly been held in the month of January, during which month every court in the state of Illinois is in session. I believe we must depart from the practice of this Association in that regard, and I am so impressed with the force of the suggestion that I am willing to give it now, as an individual, my hearty approval and say that in my judgment it is well worth trying

MR. PAGE: I am heartily in sympathy with the movement to go to Chicago. If the next meeting is held there I shall attend, as I think we all ought to do. I. think that is one step towards getting a bigger and better meeting. But there are other things. One is that the meetings ought

PROCEEDINGS.

to be popularized. There are many lawyers that do not take an interest in anything which they cannot see is to their personal advantage for the time being. They are disinclined to come here and listen to a lot of papers which, while they are interesting and profitable, do not bear on what they have an immediate interest in. I have tried to get the young lawyers to do things—for instance, to go into a local Bar Association and get a law library; but I found there was nothing we could offer them that would induce them to avail themselves of the opportunities there afforded. This Association will not be able to get the young men in unless these meeting are made popular and unless the young men can be made to feel that they have a personal and present interest in them.

MR. SCOTT: My only objection to Judge Gary's motion is this: His motion is that the meeting be held next July. That is only five months away-rather a short period. On the other hand, if it be a year from next July, the legislature will have met and gone home.

MR. GROSS: Let's meet twice a year.

MR. Scott: That's all right. That meets with my hearty concurrence.

MR. MATHENY: I think there is a practical side that ought to be considered. Two meetings a year will greatly increase the expense of the Association. It took $400 to print our report for 1895, and it will take a large sum of money to print the report of this meeting, and other expenses seem to follow each meeting. If the Association is to vote on holding two meetings, it ought to be done advisedly, with the practical question of expense before our eyes. I am not of great experience in this matter, but my own impression is that July, 1897, is as early as the next meeting ought to occur. If we have anything to recommend to the legislature, I think we might outline it here at this time.

MR. BEACH: I think if we have our meeting at Chicago next July, there will he enough members added to increase the funds and offset any extra expense. Take the experience of the American Bar Association. When for the first time it departed from its custom of meeting at Saratoga Springs and met in Chicago, a large number of new members were added

« AnteriorContinuar »