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Upon motion of Mr. Payne, the foregoing resolution was adopted, after being amended so as to read:
Resolved, That the Illinois State Bar Association heartily approves of the action of the American Bar Association favoring an equitable bankruptcy law, and the relief of the United States Supreme Court by the creation of an intermediate Appellate Court, and urgently requests the Senators and Representatives in Congress from Illinois, to use their best efforts to secure the proper enactments to carry the measures recommended into full effect, without unnecessary delay.
On motion of Mr. Sherman, the President was authorized and directed to appoint three delegates to represent this Association at the next meeting of the American Bar Association.
9. NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION.
REPORT OF JOHN H. HAMLINE.
There are some 60,000 lawyers in the United States, of whom it is estimated that some 10,000 belong to Bar Associations. At the time of the organization of the National Bar Association, the American Bar Association was in existence; but inasmuch as the latter was composed of individual lawyers, it was thought there was room for an association which should be composed of delegates who should be selected by the various Bar Associations, to represent the views of the 10,000 members of such associations, as how best to promote improvements in the law and the mode of its administration. It was believed that such delegates would report back to their local bars the legislation recommended by an annual convention, and secure the support of their constituents in obtaining legislation by the States and by Congress in prosecution of the aims suggested. In this way it was thought the masses of the bar would become interested in the reform of the law, and would give the benefit of their enlightened thought and experience to the law-making bodies of our land. The individual lawyer would thereby discharge the duty which he owes, not alone to his profession, but to his fellow man, in assisting to make the law simple and uniform, its administration prompt and effective. Such laws as might owe their enactment to the efforts of such an association, might embody the concentrated wisdom of the bar. The National Bar Association was accordingly organized in May, 1888, under the auspices of the Bar Association of the District of Columbia, with a constitution which provides that its membership shall be purely representative. It is composed of delegates, chosen by such State, County or City Bar Associations as shall ratify the Constitution and send delegates. Associations containing not more than fifty members each send three delegates. Associations of more than fifty members are entitled to a further representation of three delegates for each additional fifty members. The delegates are at first divided into three classes of one, two, and three years, but as the terms of the members of each class expire, their successors are annually elected for a term of three years. Each Bar Association must contribute to the treasury of the National Bar Association as annual dues $5.00 for each delegate to which it is entitled. Standing committees on Uniformity of Laws, on Bar Associations, on Law Reform, on Legal Ethics, on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, and on International Law, composed of nine members each, are provided by the Constitution. At the meetings of the Association the following laws were recommended:
An Act Concerning the Negotiability of Promissory Notes. Be it enacted by -, as follows:
All notes in writing, whereby the maker shall unconditionally promise to pay to the order of any person, or unto the bearer, any sum of money therein mentioned, shall be due and payable as therein expressed, and shall have the same effect, and be negotiable in like manner, and shall have days of grace, as inland bills of exchange, according to the custom of merchants.
An Act relating to Acknowledgments of Instruments Affecting Real Estate. Be it enacted by as follows:
SECTION 1. The following forms of acknowledgment may be used in the case of conveyaances or other written instruments affecting real estate, and any acknowledgment so taken and certified shall be sufficient to satisfy all requirements of law relating to the execution or recording of such instruments:
(Begin in all cases by a caption specifying the State and place where the acknowledgment is taken.)
1. In the case of natural persons acting in their own right. On this
-, 18—, before me personally appeared A B (or A B and C D), to me known to be the person (or persons) described in and who executed the foregoing instrument, and acknowledged that he (or they) executed the same as his (or their) free act and deed.
2. In the case of natural persons acting by attorney.
On this day of -- 18-, before me personally appeared A B, to me known to be the person who executed the foregoing instrument in behalf of C D, and acknowledged that he executed the same as the free act and deed of said C D.
3. In the case of corporations or joint-stock associations.
On this day of 18—, before me appeared A B, to me personally known, who, being by me duly sworn (or affirmed), did say that he is the president (or other officer or agent of the corporation or association) of (describing the corporation or association), and that the seal affixed to said instrument is the corporate seal of said corporation (or association), and that said instrument was signed and sealed in behalf of said corporation (or association), by authority of its board of directors (or trustees), and said A B acknowledged said instrument to be the free act and deed of said corporation (or association).
(In case the corporation or association has no corporate seal, omit the words “the seal affixed to said instrument is the corporate seal of said corporation (or association), and that," and add at the end of the affidavit clause the words "and that said corporation (or association) has no corporate seal.")
(In all cases add signature and title of the officer taking the acknowledgment).
SEC. 2. When a married woman unites with her husband in the execution of any such instrument and acknowledges the same in one of the forms above sanctioned, she shall be described in the acknowledgment as his wife, but in all other respects her acknowledgment shall be taken and certified as if she were sole; and no separate examination of a married woman in respect to the execution of any release of dower or other instrument affecting real estate shall be required.
SEC. 3. All acts and parts of acts in conflict with this act are hereby repealed.
LIMITATIONS OF ACTIONS. An Act limiting the time within which actions may be brought upon contracts
in uriting, not under seal. Be it enacted by -, as follows:
SECTION 1. No action to recover money upon a contract in writing, not under seal, shall be brought after six years next after the right to bring the same shall have first accrued.
SEC. 2. When a cause of action has arisen in a State (or Territory) other than this, or in a foreign country, and between non-residents of this State (or Terri
tory), and by the laws thereof an action can not be maintained, by reason of the lapse of time, an action thereon can not be maintained in this State (or Territory).
SEC. 3. This act shall only apply to contracts hereafter made, and all laws in so far as they are inconsistent with this act, are hereby repealed.
The National Bar Association held its first annual meeting at Cleveland, Ohio, August, 1888, under the presidency of James 0. Broadhead, of St. Louis, with an attendance of 107 delegates, and representing some 2,000 lawyers.
The second annual meeting was held at the White Sulphur Springs, in West Virginia, in July, 1889, under the presidency of Judge Doyle, of Cleveland, Ohio, with a membership of 250, representing 42 Bar Association, (an increase during the year of nine Bar Associations accredited to 17 States, 1 Territory, and the District of Columbia).
Illinois was represented by deligates from the Chicago Bar Association, the Peoria Bar Association, and Rock Island County Bar Association.
The report of the committee on Law Reform commending that Congress relieve the Supreme Court of its overcrowded docket by creating an Intermediate Court of Appeal, was adopted. The report of the Committee on Uniformity of Laws, with reference to the execution of wills, and the report on Extradition were recommitted, and a further report to the next meeting was ordered. The report of the Committee on Legislation, approving of the Cockrell Bill, providing for a Federal Code of Procedure, was considered, and further discussion was postponed till the next meeting.
As will be noticed from this sketch, the action of the Association has been conservative, and yet it has ventured to move in the direction of correcting some of the greatest abuses the legal fraternity and the public at large suffers froin in legislation. Commerce knows nothing of State lines, and its “Courriers without luggage,” negotiable papers, should be equally valid everywhere. But what lawyer before me can, without referring to local statutes, tell me what is necessary to make a note negotiable in our neighboring States of Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri. In the former two States it must be payable at some bank. In the latter, it must contain the words "for value received;" in Pennsylvania, it must contain the words “without defalcation;" in Missouri it must be payable to bearer. The business man learns of these requirements by dearly bought experience. Days of valuable time are wasted by the lawyer in looking up the peculiar and arbitrary requirements of some State where his client desires to enforce what he took as negotiable paper. Again, there can be no reason suggested why a deed to real estate should not be acknowledged in the same form in every State of the Union, and yet on no subject do the laws of the various States differ more widely. The Statute of Limitations of the various States present a most amusing contrast, were they not fraught with such dire destruction to the client, if his lawyer has not convenient access to the statutes of each State.
The law in regard to the execution and probate of wills, the inheritance of real estate, marriage and divorce, should be made uniform throughout the Union, and not necessarily by Congress, but by the united and intelligent action of the legislation of the different States of the Union. To foster, promote and guide such legislation is the aim and function of the National Bar Association, and in this work it invites the co-operation and support of the Illinois State Bar Association.
I would like to have the National Bar Association enjoy the benefit of the energy and wisdom which delegates, selected from such a body of eminent lawyers, would bring to it. It is obvious that many of our most distinguished lawyers live in the smaller cities where local Associations do not exist. They and their representatives should appear in the National Bar Association, and this can only be done through delegates from the State Bar Association.
Again, the legislation proposed by the National Bar Association, if wise, should be submitted to the legislature of our State. With how much greater effect would it be introduced if it were recommended by the State Bar Association. To warrant such support it must first be considered and approved, and before its adoption by your body, a proper committee should consider and report on its provisions. Believing the members of your body are in sympathy with the aims and purposes of the National Bar Association, I have trespassed on your time and courtesy to explain its policy, and to invite your earnest co-operation in carrying it out.
On motion, the recommendations of the National Bar Association were referred to the Committee on Law Reform.
On motion of Mr. Payne, the President elect was authorized and directed to appoint nine delegates to represent this Association at the next meeting of the National Bar Association.
10. LAW REFORM.
Report of committee, by its chairman, David McCulloch:
I am sorry to have to state to the Association this morning, that through some inadvertence or accident the manuscript I had prepared to submit to the Association at this time, has got out of its place, and I am unable to account for it; so I shall have to state as nearly as I can from recollection, what the substance of that paper would be if read before the Association.
The committee on Law Reform, in looking over the proceedings of this Association for some years past, find that all matters of reform that have been suggested or in any way brought before the public, have received consideration at the hands of the committee or through public addresses that have from time to time been delivered before this Association. They, therefore have not deemed it wise to present any new measures at this time, looking to amendments of the statutes, but to devote themselves more particularly to the question whether or not this Association, through this committee on Law Reform or otherwise, is accomplishing all that it possibly could in this direction.
This committee, according to our Constitution, is an annual committee, a new committee being appointed every year. Its duties, as pointed out, are these: It shall be the duty of this committee to consider and report to the Association such amendments of the laws as in its opinion should be adopted; also to scrutinize proposed changes in the law and when necessary report upon the same; also, to observe the practical working of the judiciary system of the State and recommend, by written or printed report, from time to time, any changes therein which observation or experience may suggest.
It will be observed that the duties of the committee are simply to recommend, to report and recommend. They have no power whatever to give practical effect to their recommendations, or to appear before the legislature and urge the adoption of measures that they recommend or that this association recommends. The committee has stated reports to make from time to time; it receives the thanks of the association and is discharged. The report goes into our printed minutes in very small type, and when in the course of the year those are distributed to the members, they may be read or they may not. But further than this, the reports and recommendations of this committee or of the association, do not meet the public eye or come to the attention of the members of the legislature.
What is lust in this regard may be illustrated by what took place at the first meeting of this association. A demand came up from the people of the State, that our judiciary system should be remodeled. The matter was called to the attention of the public and of the legislature through the public press, and for some weeks before the meeting of this association, it was somewhat thoroughly discussed. When the association met, a committee was appointed to prepare the necessary bills to be presented to the legislature. Those bills were prepared and printed. Some of the members of that committee spent a considerable time with the legislature. The result was the reformation of our judiciary system, whereby we departed from the old system of having one judge in each circuit, to having three judges and the establishing of the Appellate Court. This was mainly the work of the association at its first session.
A review of the proceedings of the association since that time will show, that nearly every subject demanding reformation at the hands of the legislature has been discussed either by the committee on Law Reform or by members of the Asssociation who have addressed us from time to time; yet how few of our measures have received legislative recognition, or have become enibodied in the laws? Our experience will answer the question.
Another matter that may be mentioned is the fact that, by the Constitution of this State*, the judges of the circuit courts are required to report once in each year to the Supreme Court any amendments to the laws that may suggest themselves. To what extent this duty is performed, I am not able now to say, but presume that all the judges in the State do make their reports from time to time, as occasion presents itself. The question is further urged upon us, do those recommendations reach the ear of the legislature? The Supreme Judges are required to recommend to the Governor each year any amendments to the constitution or to the laws which may suggest themselves as proper; and they are required by the constitution to prepare the bills necessary for carrying those amendments into effect. Now it must be apparent to us all, that this is a duty somewhat incompatible with that of the judicial office. Our judges generally have all the judicial work that they can attend to, and if we were to require of them to review all the statute laws and prepare bills for amendments to all statute laws as suggested, any one can see a very large proportion of their time would be demanded for a service which is of a legislative rather than judicial character.
Then there is another thing: it is a very delicate duty to require the judiciary to sit as censors and revisers, of their own motion, as it were, on the action of a coordinate branch of the government. And hence it is, this circuitous route, that is provided by the constitution to get amendments to laws before the legislature, is practically annulled,
We have also pressed upon us by the National Bar Association, and by the American Bar Association, certain measures of State policy, which it is thought are of considerable importance; for instance, the uniformity-under the adoption by Congress, or by adoption in all the States of this Union-of statutory regulations touching the question of marriage and divorce, commercial paper, bills of lading, acknowledgments of deeds and execution and proof of laws. It is thought that all of these could be brought into harmony throughout the Union, by the adoption of a uniform system by the several legislatures. Whether this can be done, of course, is somewhat problematical, but the demand seems to be made in good faith and good earnest, and our attention is called to giving some heed to these questions.
Now the question presents itself, where is the body in this State that can accomplish the work necessary to be done, in order to give practical effect to the suggestions that are made by the different Bar Associations, or by the judges of our courts of record? Have we the necessary machinery at work to do so? The answer might be, the legislature are the proper persons to attend to that; but we all know that with the multiplicity of political questions and financial questions that are continually before that body, how little opportunity and how little practical knowledge the majority of the members of the legislature have upon these questions, and, where they have their own constituencies to look after, and their interests to subserve, it is hardly to be expected that a very general review of statute law can be looked for at the hands of the legislature, without some central body to suggest, control and govern the preparation of the necessary bills to be considered by the legislature.
Now in order to remedy this, some suggestions have been made. It has first been suggested that the term of service of the Committee on Law Reform of this Association be extended to two years, and that during the first year-say the present year, when no legislature is in session—the duties of that committee should be, to receive suggestions, to mature measures, and to prepare bills to be submitted
* Art. VI, Sec. 31.