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negotiations of ministers so that there was brought forth an honorable and glorious issue- William McKinley, the lawyer.
The lawyers of the nation are to-day the nation's leaders. Nothing has contributed more to the elevation of our profession and to the increase in its power and usefulness than the work of the Bar Associations of the nation. To-day the Bar presents an organized and united front. There is an International Bar Association covering the world; an American Bar Association of which our own incomparable Wadhams is now the Treasureras broad as the American nation; State Bar Associations in every State, and City and County Bar Associations and Lawyers' Clubs in all the principal cities of the land. What to-day affects one member of the Bar affects every member of the Bar. A bad man in the profession is a stain which every member of the profession resents. The success of a great lawyer finds a response in the heart of every member of the profession. We are freer, I believe, than other professions from petty jealousies. Our education and training lift us to a higher plane than that occupied by other professions. We meet in battle array when a question is to be fought out, but we meet as gentlemen. defend our client and protect the interests confided to us, but we do not forget that we are citizens and gentlemen. On all the great public questions the influence of the Bar is on the conservative side. We are for conservation and not destruction; for creation and not ruin.
In this great question which is now stirring the hearts of the people so deeply the lawyer will be found doing his duty as an individual and the Bar doing its duty as a profession. In the courts, in executive positions, in State Legislatures, in public and in private life, in court and out of court, the influence of the lawyer as an indi
vidual and of the Bar as a profession will be exerted towards a solution which shall protect us from the evils which threaten us and save us from perhaps worse evils that might follow inconsiderate remedies.
The lawyer cannot live without his fee, but he does not live for his fee alone. He values his daily bread, but he values more than that the honorable name of his profession and his own honor as a member of it.
REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON LAW REFORM.
By the resolution adopted this morning, the next order of business is the report of the Committee on Law Reform.
J. Newton Fiero, of Albany:
MR. PRESIDENT, GENTLEMEN OF THE ASSOCIATION.On behalf of the Committee on Law Reform, I beg leave to submit its report, which is exceedingly brief, and adopts the report of the Committee of Fifteen, appointed by the Governor under an act of the Legislature, to report concerning the condition of the statutes and laws of the State, with recommendation that the Association take such action as may tend to bring about legislation in accordance therewith.
At the last annual meeting of the Association a resolution was adopted directing the Committee on Law Reform to take action to further Statutory and Code revision, and providing for the appointment, by the chairman of the committee, of an auxiliary committee to aid in the accomplishment of the objects of the resolution. In pursuance of this action, a committee, selected from the members of the Association throughout the State,
was appointed and known as the Committee of Fifty, which met and organized by the selection of William B. Hornblower, former President of the Association, as Chairman; William P. Rudd, as Chairman of the Executive Committee, and the Secretary of the Association as its Secretary.
This Committee acted jointly with the Committee on Law Reform, although separate meetings were held and distinct organizations maintained. Whatever has been accomplished has been brought about by the joint efforts of the two Committees, and I am requested, on behalf of the Committee on Law Reform, to express its obligation to the auxiliary Committee of Fifty, and to the gentlemen constituting that Committee, for their assistance in bringing about the passage of the provision in the Supply Bill, providing for the Committee of Fifteen to be appointed by the Governor heretofore referred to, and I desire to express to the members of that Committee my personal obligation for the interest taken in the subject-matter, and for the effective work performed by it.
The Committee appointed by the Governor, as will be noted from an examination of its report, consists of the Chief Judge and an Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, two former Chief Judges of that Court, one of whom Judge Robert Earl died during the progress of the work, the Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division of the Fourth Department, and one of the Justices of the Supreme Court of the Second Department, former Justice Judson S. Landon, who sat for two years in the Court of Appeals; the late Attorney-General of the State, the President of this Association, the late President, Mr. William B. Hornblower, and members of the Bar, selected with a view to their
high standing in the profession and acquaintance with and interest in the work at hand.
I desire to call your attention briefly to the report of the Committee of Fifteen in connection with the action upon it recommended by the Committee on Law Reform. You will note in that report a full discussion as to the necessity of continuing and completing the work heretofore called that of " statutory revision," termed in the report "statutory consolidation." This term expresses much more clearly the work in hand, since the statutes are not to be revised in the sense that changes are to be made, but they are simply to be consolidated in the sense that separate and distinct statutes are to be brought together, so as to constitute a body of statutes which shall be known as the "Consolidated Statutes of the State." The conclusion arrived at, with reference to this statutory consolidation, as well as the adoption of the name, is the result of consultation with those best qualified to advise upon this subject on this side of the water, as well as in the mother country; most valuable suggestions in that respect having been received by the Committee, through its Secretary, from Sir Courtney Ilbert, whose position in England as Parliamentary Counsel to the Treasury for many years, has been referred to by the President in his opening address. He is, doubtless, the greatest living authority upon the question of statutory consolidation, and strongly advised that no effort should be made to revise and consolidate the statutes at the same time. Thirty years of experience in that respect having indicated to him very clearly that this is impracticable and serves to hinder and delay, and, possibly, defeat the work of consolidation, since wherever questions arise with regard to the wisdom or propriety of amend
ments, discussion necessarily follows indicating a division of opinion as to the amendments which results in postponement of the entire work. That the work of consolidation should in nowise be interfered with by reason of revision, other than such as may be absolutely necessary for the purpose of consolidation, was the unanimous opinion of the Committee of Fifteen, as appears in the bill to be submitted to the Legislature, containing the provision that no changes shall be made in the statutes, and that the work of consolidation shall be confined to the repeal of obsolete, contradictory and inconsistent statutes, the gathering together of all cognate general statutes, and bringing down to date the work of collation and condensation; analysis and arrangement of existing local and special laws, so far as practicable, under proper heads and topics, and the publication of the laws as consolidated, with a full and complete index; briefly termed in the report “Expurgation, Consolidation, Classification and Republication."
The present condition of our Code of Procedure and the propriety of changes, with a view to its simplification, has been a burning question in the State for a number of years, and has engaged the attention of this Association at every annual meeting for a very considerable period of time. Two views have existed, and do exist, with regard to Code Revision; on the one hand, it is insisted that a radical change should be made by which a short statute should be enacted, the Procedure being provided for by a set of rules, under the English method. The other view has been that little or nothing should be done in the way of Code Revision, and that whatever action should be taken should be limited to the elimination