Page images
PDF
EPUB

steady from the first. In 1859 there were 35 students, in 1876, 573, in 1889, 491. In 1888 the trustees decided to add a third year to the course to take effect in the fall of 1890. In 1899 they adopted a resolution converting the school into a graduate department by limiting admission to college graduates, the change to take effect in the fall of I903.

Since 1858 the growth in law schools has been most remarkable. In 1878 there were 50 schools with 3012 students; in 1899 there were 86 schools with 11,883 students. The increase in students in 21 years has been 294 per cent. These figures show that the old method of study in the office of an attorney is rapidly giving place to the systematic training of the law school. In fact it is impracticable under existing conditions to obtain a satisfactory legal education in an attorney's office."

The greatest drawback to efficient work in our law schools as shown elsewhere, is failure to demand a satisfactory preliminary education for admission. There has been rapid growth in the belief that the course of study entitling students to the LL.B. degree can not be covered properly in less than three years. The president of Western reserve university, Charles F. Thwing writes as follows: “The progress of professional education in the U. S. receives illustration in the fact that a fourth year is now frequently spoken of as a demand of the law school.” Many law schools are now doing four years' work in three years, and certain schools are doing three years' work in two years. The best schools have increased their courses of study from two years to three, and as they have increased the length of time they have also increased the number and amount of the studies."

* The ratio of lawyers to population in 1870 was 1 to 946, in 1890 it was 1 to 699. These figures show a growth somewhat out of proportion to the growth in population, but not by any means as great comparatively as the growth in students (1870, 1653; 1890, 4518). The explanation is simple. Only students in law schools have been reported, not those prepared for the bar elsewhere.

* The law department of West Virginia university requires four years' work for LL.B. degree after July 1, 1899.

In 1875 only I law school had a course of three years. In 30 schools the course was two years, in Io one year, in 2 the length of the course was not stated. In 1899, 44 schools had a three years' course, 37 a two years' course, 4 a one year's course. In 1 the length of the course was not stated. Of the 44 schools with three year's course I 1 report an absolute requirement of three years' study in a law school for the LL.B. degree; 30 report three years' study in a law school as the regular requirement for the LL.B. degree. Of the 86 law schools reporting in 1899, 16 are separate institutions and 70 are departments of colleges or universities; 49 hold day sessions, 24 evening sessions, 7 hold both and 6 do not report the item; 82 grant degrees. Salaries of teachers—Charles Noble Gregory in a paper read before the American bar association in 1897 showed that of 349 law teachers in the United States, 75 or only about 1-5 gave their entire time to the work. The law teachers who received fixed salaries were as a rule somewhat more highly paid than teachers of other topics even in the same university. The report from Harvard law school was most complete. There we found a faculty of 9 men, all but I giving their entire time to the school. The salary of an assistant professor was $2250; of a professor $4000 during the first 5 years, $4500 during the next 5 years, and $5000 thereafter. The average salary of the teachers in American law schools who gave their full time to the work, including deans and assistants, was $2564. 12. Replies from European law schools indicated that nearly three times as large a proportion of the law teachers gave their full time. Methods of instruction — Instruction in law schools is given by lectures, by recitations from textbooks, and by discussion and explanation of selected cases. Each of these systems has its advocates. In a majority of the schools instruction is given mainly by lectures. Next in popularity comes the method of recitations on lessons previously assigned. There are only a few schools that depend mainly on the discussion and explanation of selected cases.

Dean Ashley of the New York university law school writes as follows on this subject: “The leading universities repudiate the idea of any fixed method for teaching or studying law." Professor Gray of Harvard says: “In all law schools, I suppose, the students learn from textbooks, cases and oral instruction. At any rate they do so here. Each teacher is free to use these means as he pleases. The different professors do actually use them in different ways and proportions.” Dean Keener of Columbia says: “There is no uniform method of instruction in this school. Each instructor is at liberty to pursue the method of instruction which in his opinion will be productive of the best results. At the present time three methods of instruction are used." The 1898 report of the committee on legal education of the American bar association gives returns from 20 law schools, including the leading schools of the country, on instruction in practice. 2 report that they depend principally on the observations which the students can make in attending actual courts; but in all others the practical importance of school instruction and of practice in moot courts is recognized. The committee recommends as the ideal plan of organization of a law faculty with reference to practical work that provision be made for a professor of pleading and practice, a thoroughly trained lawyer who shall devote his entire time to work of that kind. Admission to the bar in colonial days—In early colonial days lawyers seem to have been regarded with jealousy and aversion. At the time of the revolution, however, they had gained a position of prominence which they have always maintained in this country. Of 56 signers of the declaration of independence 25 were lawyers and so were 3o out of 55 members of the convention which framed the federal constitution." There was no particular scheme of legal education in the colonial period but in most of the colonies there were statutes relating to attorneys. In North Carolina the following parliamentary provision was in force up to the revolutionary War : “. . . . None shall from henceforth be admitted attorneys in any of the king's courts of record . . . but such as have been brought up in said courts, or otherwise well practised in soliciting of causes, and have been found by their dealings to be skilful and of honest disposition ry In Virginia in 168o the licensing of attorneys was placed by the general assembly in the hands of the governor: “. . . . no Person or Persons whatsoever, shall practice as an Attorney or appear to plead in the General court, or any county-court in this countrey, but such as shall be first Licenced by his Excellency, or Successors thereunto, and . . . any one that shall presume to plead in the general court, or any county or other court without such licence first obtained, and had ; shall forfeit for every such offence committed in the county-court six hundred pounds of tobacco and in the General Court 2000 pounds of Tobacco.” This act was superseded in 1748 by what seems to be the earliest provision for an examining committee: “The judges of the General Court shall nominate and appoint such and so many of the council learned in the Law and Attornies practicing in said Court as they shall think fit, to examine into the Capacity, Ability or Fitness of such persons as shall from time to time apply for a licence to practice as Attornies in the County courts and other inferior courts of this colony and shall cause such nomination and appointment to be entered in the Records of their Court; which persons so nominated shall take oath that they will well and truly examine into the Capacity, Ability and Fitness of such persons as shall make application to them for a Licence to practice as Attornies and that they will not grant a Licence to any person who shall not upon examination to the best of their knowledge be found sufficiently qualified to practice as Attorney aforesaid.” In New Jersey any one was allowed to plead till 1698, after which date attorneys were licensed by the governor. In Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire an oath seems to have been all that was demanded of those seeking admission as attorneys. This was the case also in Delaware up to 1726. The records of the secretary of state at Albany show that for 70 years just preceding the American revolution attorneys were admitted to practise in New York by the governor without any examination as to fitness, though for admission to practise before the supreme court the usual preparation was “a college or university education and three years' apprenticeship or, without the former, seven years' service under an attorney.” " In Connecticut attorneys were appointed by the county courts. In Maryland the justices admitted those whom the governor and council had previously licensed. In Pennsylvania attorneys were admitted by the justices; also in South Carolina till 1721, after which date they were admitted by the chief justice of the general and supreme court at Charleston. In all these cases tests as to fitness, if there were any such tests, seem to have been of a very superficial character.” Admission to the bar after the revolution—The New York constitution of 1777 provided that “all attorneys, solicitors and councellors at law, hereafter to be appointed, be appointed by the Court and licensed by the first judge of the court in which they shall respectively plead or practice; and be regulated by the rules and orders of the said courts." In 1797 the New York supreme court prescribed a seven years' clerkship with a practitioner as one of the requirements for admission as an attorney except in the case of those who after the age of 14 had pursued classical studies for four years or less, such applicants being permitted to deduct the time so occupied from the seven years' clerkship. After four years' practice the attorney was admitted without

*Statistics of J. H. Patton jr.

| William Smith. History of Arzo, York. * I am indebted to Mr Ashley of the New York state library school for assistance in the study of the colonial records.

« PreviousContinue »