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"The Bar ought to organize in such a way that this necessary work shall be done upon the responsibility of the Bar as a whole, and with the support of the Bar as a whole."

We call your attention to what the medical profession has done in the Loomis Act. They have established an official method of hearing complaints and grievances. We commend that to your further consideration.

The next observation to which I call your attention is this: The public generally, and the press, believe that the Bar organizations of the State are adequately equipped to clean up the Bar and keep it clean. That is not in consonance with the facts. The machinery does not now exist; funds are not available throughout the State. As an illustration of how imperfectly the machinery operates, let me just briefly call your attention to the time that elapses. I do not have before me the exact dates, but the case which the Executive Committee has passed upon in the last week or so and referred back to us, I think, is at least nine months old. It started with a complaint to our Committee. We had to send it up state for preliminary investigation. The preliminary investigation revealed that there was justification for a hearing. Then there was the appointment of a Committee and a hearing. Twenty-seven members throughout the State will have to be consulted as to what recommendations to make to the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee meets only at rare intervals during the year. Finally, at this annual meeting here, we get the consideration of the case by the Executive Committee. No action can be taken by anybody, except upon authority of the Executive Committee. Now, when we criticize the machinery for the administration of justice and criticise the law's delay, we must keep in mind that here is an instance where we profess to perform a job on behalf of the public and we do it limpingly-and that is not because it is our intention to do it that way-not at all; everybody in the Association wants to do his best, but the machinery simply does not exist. We are driving with a one-horse shay when we ought to have a modern automobile to do the job.

Now, the next observation is not so pessimistic. It is honestly and candidly and frankly the opinion of our Committee that there never was a time when the Bar of this State held higher standards nor when more men at the Bar daily put higher standards in practice. It is a most unusual situation that men at the Bar are questioning their own conduct before committing themselves, are getting advice from older men, committees on professional ethics and the like. And not only are the standards actually higher as they are understood, but also in their application. We have put into our report an extract from one of DeWitt Clinton's addresses written 100 years ago, and he says, about 1825, that:

"A periodical writer, who published in 1752, estimated the number of families in this city to be two thousand, and the number of physicians to be forty; which would make one physician for every fifty families; and he further stated that he could show, by 'probable arguments, that more lives are destroyed in this city by pretended physicians, than by all other causes whatever.' Nor was the profession of the law on a more respectable footing. As there was no distinction of degrees, the attorney and the counsellor were blended together; and the profession was disgraced by the admission of men not only of the meanest abilities, but of the lowest employments."

That was the condition of our Bar one hundred years ago. We have made great progress since then, although we are not satisfied, and never should be satisfied, but should go on striving.

These, then, Mr. President, are the observations of the ComImittee and the reflections which we submit for such consideration as they deserve, and the report of our work for the year. We ask that the report be received and placed on file.


To the New York State Bar Association:

On behalf of the Committee on Grievances this report is submitted for the calendar year 1926.

The following tables will give an outline of the business carried on by the Committee this year:

Total number of cases, 22.

Received from former committee and concluded, three cases. Number of cases closed, 15.

Number of cases open, seven, as follows:

One in hands of Executive Committee.

Three pending before sub-committees.

One in hands of Secretary of Association for local investigation.

Two in hands of local Bar Associations.

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Disposition of matter

Referred to Saratoga County Bar

Personal investigation and report
made by member of committee.
No ground for complaint found.
After correspondence with Presi-
dent of New York State Bar
Association, complainant was
advised on October 8th that
committee could do nothing for

In hands of sub-committee.
Referred to Suffolk County Bar

After study of the papers, Chair-
man wrote complainant on
May 19, "find nothing upon
which you can find fault with
your lawyer."

After investigation and report by member of committee that he could find no criticism of attorney's conduct," Chairman wrote complainant on July 12th could do nothing further. Referred to Grievance Committee, Niagara County Bar Association, which made careful investigation and report, on basis of which Chairman wrote complainant Oct. 14th nothing further could be done.

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Association matter closed Oct.


Attorney complained of could not be located in town.

Pending before sub-committee Attorney ill. Claims in question returned to complainant by his office Sept. 22.

Investigation and report made by member of committee. Matter satisfactorily disposed of.

May 11-Chairman wrote complainant nothing further Association can do.

Person complained of


not an

Secretary of Association making investigation.

Closed Oct. 15th-Complainant writes, withdrawing complaint, saying: "Probably as the result of the efforts of your committee," the attorney accounted for funds in his hands.

Sept. 10th-After correspondence with both parties, complainant reports matter "cleaned up." Matter investigated by Secretary Walton. Matter closed on his report that there was no basis for complaint.

April 23-Complainant reports attorney "has made himself right with our concern.' Correspondence with both parties.

Matter thoroughly investigated by committee and reported upon to Executive Committee for their action.

Pending before sub-committee.

(Grateful acknowledgment of co-operation is made to the Presidents and Secretaries of the following local Bar Associations: Saratoga County Bar Association, Suffolk County Bar Association, Niagara County Bar Association, Albany County Bar Association.)

These schedules scarcely reveal the immense amount of work done by members of the Committee in hearings and investigations. Nor do they reveal the nature and character of the offenses, the work of the Committee being confidential in character.

Certain observations, however, may be made, based on the experience of the past year, which may be helpful to members of the Association and the public.

FIRST. But one complaint of professional misconduct in a criminal case has been received. This involves a charge of subornation of perjury and was received but a short while ago. In this case action by the judge presiding at the trial and the district attorney in charge was prompt and swift. (As this case is still under investigation, comment upon the guilt or innocence of the accused at this time would, of course, be premature.)

SECOND. Most of the complaints are based upon fancied or imagined wrongs. Brooding over their grievances, faced with the results of expensive and inadequate legal machinery, the complainants believe the lawyers were at fault. In the majority of the cases the lawyers did the best they could, though often their "best" might have been better if they had been more diligent. Many times the chairman wished the committee might have the power of admonition. Complainants think the Bar Association has power to require lawyers to perform their work competently. Of course, the Association has no such power.

THIRD. Delinquency in forwarding amounts received. Failure to respond in business-like fashion where money is received for clients is part of the weakness of procrastination that so often is to be found at the bar of this and other countries. "Never do to-day what you can put off until to-morrow," seems to be the prevailing guide. We are not the only Bar troubled with this plague of procrastination so often approaching the border line of dishonesty and which, delayed long enough, becomes embezzlement.

In England, at the provincial meeting of the Law Society held in Birmingham in September, 1926, "Mr. Ralph Tredgold, of London, enumerated complaints leveled at the delinquent solicitor, and suggested that the Law Society should guarantee clients against loss from misappropriations by establishing a fund subscribed by the whole of its members."* *The Daily Telegraph (London), Sept. 30, 1926.

FOURTH. There is no special race or age or culture which makes for wrongdoing. As Mr. Presiding Justice John Proctor Clarke said a few years ago:

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