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FIRST ?IM Ai ABOUT THEIR FEES
HON S. S. P. PATTESOX.
HON. JAMES LEWIS ANDE?tSU?.
HON. H. R. POLLARD.
MR. L. ?. WENDENBUKG.
HON. D. C. RICHARDSON.
COL. JO. LANE STERN.
WORDS OF WISDOM BY WAY OF ADVICE TO YOUNG LAWYERS.
Captain Charles M. Biackford,, of Lynchhurg, Had an Experience That Reads Like
Romance?Hon. D. C. Richardson Col a Ham of Bacon for His First Fee?Mr.
Wendenburg Gives an Amusing Account of His First Appearance
Before a Jury?Other Interesting Stories.
Tlie Times recently sent letters to a
number o? well-known lawyers, request?
ing them to send brief replies to three
questions, which will be read with In
icrest, not only by lawyers themselves,
but by others as well. The questions were
2. What was the nature or character of
the first ea?e In which you were employed
_* counsel, and what fee did you receive?
2. Were you frightened or nervous when
you iirst addressed a court or a jury?
3. What advice, with a view to helping
and encouraging^ him, would you give a
young man who is about to begin the
practice of law?"
il ..p H. l?. Pollard.
Editor of The Times:
Sir,?"My first-case?" It was a habeas
corpus case. The first entry in my first
fee book against my first client is this:
"August 1, 1SCS?To fee in habeas cor?
pus case before County Court of King
and Queen county, to recover custody of
infant child, $25." After waiting three
long years, I received on account of this
fee $3.35. The balance, if I had kept such
an account, would long ago have been
charged up to "profit and loss," and, like
many other uncollectdd fees, had passed
out of my memory until refreshed by a
reference to the precious relic of my ear?
ly professional days, induced by your
Was I "frightened or nervous" when I
first addressed a jury? -'Why, yes; I
was both; and I have never to this day
gotten over my "stage fright." It almost
overwhelms me now when I attempt to
speak; but, as-I progress in my address,
it disappears, and at times ceases to
"Advice?" Well, that comes cheap, ex?
cept when received from a lawyer. It
takes a combination of qualities to make
a successful lawyer. I do not think you
can put your linger ou any one thing
and say that this is the quality needed.
Unless possessing towering lability, a
cultured mind is well nigh essential. In?
tegrity is always essential.
Short-lived success may seem to be at?
tained without it, but sooner or later the
public correctly estimate every candidate
for its patronage. A genius for work
careful, painstaking, detailed work for
tilled by intelligent understanding of the
underlying principles of law, and an ac?
quaintance with the rules of pleading
and practice, are the basal elements of
| success. Pleasing manners and an equa?
ble temperament are valuable aids in
winning one's way towards the top of the
professional ladder. "Nothing succeeds
like success." To lay down any unerring
precept, by which,' if one is governed,
success will follow, is almost as hard as
to win success. Opportunities, which lie
in the pathway oC some- are totally
wanting to other.-:. While some, from one
cause or another, fail to avail themselves
of opportunities, others are fertile enough,
to make them. Hence, I despair of an?
swering your last question in a way
either satisfactory to myself or helpful
to the noviate in the law.
Mr. ?I. I?. Burks.
Editor of The Times:
Sir,?1. My first case was a criminal
case, defending a man for a malicious
assault. I do not remember my fee and
have not my books here to ascertain.. 2.
"Frightened or nervous?" Yes, both then
and since, at other times, to a very un?
comfortable., degree. 1!. What advice to
a young lawyer? Never talk nonsense to
a court or jury. A clear statement of a
case is one-half the battle, and a sensi?
ble argument to the point is the other
half. Put your adversary on the defen?
sive as soon as possible and keep him
there as long as possible. To accomplish
this first get a clear idea of tho case
yourself, especially the facts. Next, sat?
urate yourself with the law. Read all
you can find-on .the subject, especially
the decisions of ycur own State, but cite
only cases in point.
Until you have a case, read law every
day. It is best to read by subjects, and
the subject should not be too comprehen?
sive. Take a given subject and read
every Virginia case on it, and then every
case in United States Supreme Court,
then such other reports as you have.
Take notes as you read, and after getting
through, make a digest of your notes,
dividing the. subject into proper" heads,
and as you come to each head re-read the
cases you have placed under that head.
A young lawyer needs a tonic to keep
up his legal appetite. Read the lives of
the Lord Chancellors and Chief Justices
of England, or biographies of the great
lawyers of America. He should also keep
up with the current literature of the
day, and with events of public interest.
Hon. D. C. Richardson,
Editor of The Times:
Sir.?My first case was a motion in the
HusMngs Court to exonerate a man from
the payment of a specific license-tax for
^do-ing business and my first fee was a
ham of bacon. This is so entered on my |
?My rit-rft case before the Circuit Court
was to defend an action of tort. The late
Colonel Isaac H,. Oarrington, then-an old ?
and able lawyer, was opposed to me. After
an examination of the declaration and a
recent act of the General Assembly. I be?
came convinced that the plaintiff had no
ease against my client and I demurred to
the declaration. On the day set for hear?
ing, 1 wont into court with a copy of the
act and sat with (palpitating heart waiting
for any antagonist, who was not prompt to
appear. At length he arrived and I got
tip and with trembling voice read the act.
Colonel Carrington said: "What's that?
What's that?" and took the book out of
my hand. He then adjusted his spectacles
and read for some time and throwing flown
, the book took up Ms hat and without
1 waiting for a decision, left the court-room,
: remarking as he went out: "Tripped up by
another confounded statute."
I shall never forget the first time I\at?
tempted to address a jury. My speech
had been carefully prepared, but it did not
tit; that is, the evidence was not as I ex?
pected .R would be. The judge and jury
were nearly all my intimate friends, but
? could not have been more awed had they
been ?Pifinces and Potentates. They look?
ed so solemn and .wise. P,ut after I be?
came familiar with the sound of my own
voice composure was to some extent re?
stored. But this did riot equal the fright
I experienced during my first case in t?ie
Court of Appeals. I remember there were
only the five solemn judges, the clerk, the
tipsaff and the opposing lawyer in the
court-ro?m at the time. But had I been
speaking to the assembled universe, the
occasion could not have been more awe
inspiring. After I had been speaking a
short time, dear old Judge Moncure leaned
over tine bench and placing his hand be?
hind his ear, said: "Will you please state
that proposition again."
The tone iwas really gentle and kindly,
but it sounded to me like Gabriel's trum?
pet, and I nearly collapsed, but Judge
Christian smiled encouraga?gly and I con- ?
tinued on, and left the court-room under j
the impression that I had made a fool of (
myself. ?? had omitted so much I intend?
ed to say, but had won my case. My ad?
vice to a young lawyer would be: Do
everything as we'll as you possibly can.
If your bill, declaration, plea or brief does
not suit you, white and rewrite until it
does. Prcipare your cases thoroughly in
hard study and thought. Train the mem?
ory by writing out the points-and commit?
ting them to memory and then tear up
the paper so that you will not rely upon
the notes. Study human nature. Learn
the idiosycracies of the jurors. Do not
flatter them too snudi or take them for
fools. Be courteous to your opponent at
all times and givo the Judge credit for
knowing some law. Submit gracefully to
an adverso ruling. If beaten on one point,
try to raise some other, hut let it be at
le-ist plausible, not ridiculous. Be reason?
ably persistent. Be like a crumpled bull's
hide, if pressed down at one point, hop
up an another. Many cases have, been
?won after they have been seemingly lost.
Adv'se your client honestly. If in your
opinion, he has no case, tel! him so. If
he has a fighting chance, let him. assume
the responsibility of the contest?and then
do your best for him. Never engage in a
cause which you know to be the cause of
oppression and injustice. You may lose a
fee, but it will pay in the end. Never
keep a client's money twenty-four hours in
your possession, if It is practicable to pay
it over to him. _^
"The law is a jealous mistress." If you
would he a great lawyer devote yourself
to the profession. Light reading may ami
should be indulged in as a recreation and
relief to the strain of intense application.
This is a day of speciallies in all of the
professions and it-would be well if a young
lawyer can do so, to devote himself to
some special branch of the ?aw. By do?
ing so he imay became proficient and'dis
tinguisiied in bis specialty, whereas he may
fritter away his time in the attempt to
master too much. The reading alone of j
current adjudications on all _ubject_ will j
consume all the time of most lawyers. I
(Most young lawyers are, however, com- I
pelled to take cases as they come. Work,
?self-reliance, energy, perseverance and
honesty, with native ability, go to mike
up a great lawyer. A lawyer, unlike a
poet, is not born, he is made.
Mr. Harry C. Glean.
Editor of Tho Tim?-:
Sir,?The first case In which I was em?
ployed as counsel uvas a criminal case.
It was where a young whica man .w;is
' charged with ?entering a house and steal
| ing an overt-cat.
I 'My client vr.is acquitted. <md tny 'fee
? w.LS 'his gratitude and delight.
I was not very much excited, tout. It be.
ing my tirst appearance in court and sur
rauuded by old lawyers. I very naturally
felt somewhat confused.
My advice to a young man entering thej
practice of Haw, la for him to have
courage and firmness, conduct himself in
such a manner that the people with whom
h?.? comes in contaict will have <-??nr?.!? nee
in -him. Always endeavor to do in hi ;
profession what 'he promises; be polite
and (-.mmous to the court and its-Offi
C 1rs, and remember that in building up
his reputation as a lawyer he must also
build up his reputation as to character.
Hon. S. S. P. Patteson.
Editor of The Times:
. Sir,??First, it was a warrant before a
Justice of the Peace on a bond in 'Buck?
ingham county. Va. The defendant pleaded;
that he could neither read nor write, and
also the Statute o? Limitation?. The stay
law. which suspended the operation of ta?
statine of Limitations for the period of
the war between the States, knocked out
the defence of iapse of time; and while
the man who gave 'the bond provai that
he could not write nor read, ^my client,
proved that he in fact signed it, although
it was a parrot-like performance.
G received no f?te. This result was ac?
Second. Yes, fairly trembled .it I
sound of tmy own voice and felt as if [
would be glad to give up my licenses
rather than go on with the argurr^nt. I
belie-ve ? would ??are g.me i::to battue with
less disco mfor-t.
Third. ?I think anything that would
n:i.':?-? Wm self-re?f?nt wmiki do him nv>-:.
good. There is a greit difference between
p. .?;?.? . sinr>n? r -"G?-.? with the c? w
boys on the praries. or better still, a cam- ?
palgn wich cur army in r-.e Philippines
in actual service lastin? at least ? year.
w< -Id he t?ie ?> st wa to ac ; ? : - dm
with men and thereby 'ay tiie foundation
Six months' service in the Transvaal
with the 'Boers would do as well, I have
Hon. John AV. Daniel.
Editor of Tee Times:
Sir,?In rep!?.? to y ?tr questions, I beg
leave to say ;:: it:
1. The? tirst six months >>t' my practice
netted me J"
2. I always had stage fright before at?
dre^ing th.- <? Hirt -or jury.
?.. 'My idvlc? t-> any young man. who is
about to begin the practice of law, is.
slay in his office: read law when he
isn't r-raet'-itv? ?^: rentier quick accounts,
never touch a client's money.
Wich such a '..?tirso success ?Is as cer?
tain as in any business of life.
Hon. W. P. Mc?tae,
Editor -of The Times
Sir,?Replying in order to the questions
which you ask, I would ??y:
1. .My first case was the defense of a
negro youth, charged, with burglary. He
had no 'counsel and had ?pleaded guilty.
?Inasmuch as the crime is a very* serious
one and the penalty is very severe, being
in the discretion of the jury death or
from five to eighteen years In the peni?
tentiary, tho court was unwilling to ac?
cept the plea of ?guilty and requested ma
to defend the .prisoner. I withdrew his
plea of guilty?it appearing that be was
under & mlsarorfthftr?k>n as to the offensa
with which he -was charged, and the jun"?
subsequently convicted him ?>? the cnme
of "omening without breaking" ?Ut? ha
was sent to?th?penitentiary fur two years.
I thought at the tim- ifchwi rlv^ punish?
ment might have been stilt farther re?
duced if it had not been that during tha
progress of the triai he toJd.-me a raise
hood, and thus induced me t<> ask one oi
the Commonwealth's wit nessi a question
which I should otherwise not bave .'?;?.
U,? thus, urdbentiomtUy perhaps, assi ti t
in the administration of justi
H.1V::!? been _s_ign< l by ?_e cn:;-.-t to
his defen ? , L recetvetl, of course, ?u>
I flrst ad In.d I le j tr. . ai d I .: uve
nevi ;? entirel ? oven this te .i;?;-.
.'. Advice so abundant and so excellent
:: is been hitherto given ; :nert?
beginning the (practice '?;' the law that
I hardly feel that I can add any thine to?
it. A thorough mastery of 'hits ??>? estoni ?
and an intimate U: human
naturo are the main elements of success
at the bar. How (?he young lawyer must
acquire these, none '-.?n tell him.
I would not discourage diligent reading
of the law, but the? successful lawyer of
to-day is not the book-worm or black
:??;:,!? pedant, but :^ the practical man of
For the encoure_s mi nt -:' Bhe young
men beginning! tho practice of ! i.w, [
would say that there has never i> ???n a
time when tho w.irk of the _wyer was
moro Important, and tha: the reward of
the successful laws c . ? . ver been so
great as it is now.
Captain Charles ?1. Rlackfbrt-,
after the surrender. I was the first lawyer
who.got art oth e to ? ?" seve?
ral months th ?as a can?
didate Tor practice. I was living in one
room, with ? wife and !.. d ind bad noth?
ing, and thb straggle for support wa3
The first fee tgo: w is sra ill. Two men,
i bol . -: m lead, ?absei"?
.. ? ? . ? ?.:. very prom . m ;n h mts?
; one fn Lynchburg and the other in New
| Orleans, cime Into my offl md i*ked
; m<_? ??> arbitrate a question between tbenx I
?.'.?.- dlfilident of my legal ca ty nor
having looked in .1 law bo ? : ?? four
ye irs. but 1 looked wise and agreed to act.
The question involve.! some comrp-Cation
arising out of a Confederate money trans?
a ???. ? gave my decision promptly, if
not wisely, and they a emed satisfied a '.
? ih d me wts it :'? ! c trgi t As I k ?.?.
they ??ere both as m E said
that 1 . i p ten? any! hing?,
Th .?.? sold they weri noi willing to iccepit
m ?' ?-. : for nothing and upon
paying, and each took a half-dollar fron?
t: ? pocket ??. : ' table In front
of me. it was more money than I had;
and each h ili ? is m ?ni fled 1 to hundreds
by my necessity. The fee looked mag?
nificent: mare so than many I have re?
ceived since of some magnitude1. I was
afraid Ibey woul i repent of their genexoa
?;y and was relieved when they closed tha
door after them they w nt out t
grabbed th?? rv ? ? . irus! then*
into ?:?, asi ?nished ? ck Is and rushed off
to exhibit my we i'th to my wife and
little d?ughl -. it was not much realty^
but it was the pro-.? : ot better things
w- heW a Ions dtsens-ten as to ?fiat
should be don ? .with m ?.-?y ??. S deter?
mined, finally, to sperai a part of it In soma
salt herrings and a large slice ot cheese,
two delicacies unknown to us. This sounds
almost pathetic now, but It was joyous
then and we were very happy, a happiness
which was made stable by the fact, for
such Is human nature, that our neighbor?
were as poor as ourselves.
--. ' '. *
CCoatlaued on. Fourteenth Page.)