In a speech last night to alumni of Western Reserve Union, covered by the Washington Post, Congressman Paul Howland (R — Ohio) reflected on the sad state of affairs in the legal profession, and argued that far more rigorous academic preparation of lawyers is needed if the nation is to have any hope of avoiding chaos in the decades ahead.
“He asserted that the old school of lawyers, men like Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun, has died out, and it would be a miracle if any lawyer of the present day even approached the shadow of their attainments.”
Bereft of “old school” lawyers, the Congressman says:
This country is overrun with “shysters,” not one of whom is capable of halfway interpreting the laws of the country, which are growing more intricate every day. If the present condition continues, where State legislatures and the Federal government are grinding out laws every minute in the day, I predict that in fifty years’ time it will take an absolute genius to find out what the law really is.
At the rate of deterioration predicted by the Congressman, one wonders what will be left of the constitutional guarantee of “due process of law” a century hence, when possibly everything will be a crime.
In a more hopeful vein, Congressman Howland suggested a solution:
Universities of this country should devote their efforts in raising the standard of men they graduate in the law. They should endeavor to send out into the world men of brilliant minds; men who will reflect upon the high calling they have chosen. Until law schools throughout the country insist upon a man having an academic training, this condition will never be brought about.