Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1920

Abstract

There is a further striking failure which must be charged to the legal profession in America, which grows out of the one just noted, and that is its ignorance of and indifference to improvements in procedural practice developed in other jurisdictions. It is safe to say that if a new method of treating cancer were discovered and successfully employed in England; every intelligent doctor in the world would almost immediately know about it and attempt to take advantage of it. But it is equally safe to say that if a new and successful method of treating some procedural problem were discovered in England, American lawyers as a class would remain in substantial ignorance of it for at least two generations, and would probably treat it with scornful indifference for a generation or two more. There are no state lines for progressive doctors, dentists, engineers, architects, manufacturers or business men. But not one lawyer in a hundred knows or cares what reforms are being employed by his profession on the other side of the political boundary. The American lawyer is satisfied with things as they are. As long as clients continue to come and the machinery of the law continues to move, he is as free from concern over the methods used elsewhere as the southern negro with his mule and his little plow, who never worries about tractors or other new-fangled devices. No better illustration of this can be found than the problem of joinder of causes of action. The old rules and the very foundations upon which they rested, if there really were any, have been demolished by modern reformatory legislation. Most of the restriction which the law placed upon such joinder can be shown by experience to be useless. One jurisdiction has progressed here, another there. But no jurisdiction, excepting perhaps Great Britain and its dominions, has consolidated and assembled the various improvements which have been developed into an enlightened and comprehensive system, nor has there even been any interest shown by the rank and file of American lawyers in studying the operations of new rules in this field.


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