Lawyers: Some of the Younger Members of the Brooklyn Bar 1877

Their Peculiarities, Abilities and Characteristics

"Now is a good time," I said to my friend, the lawyer, "for you to tell me something of a few of the younger members of the bar present. I know that you are acquainted with most of them and can tell me all about them."

"Well, go ahead,' my friend replied: "point out your man."

"Well, then," I said, "to begin: You see that medium sized, slender young man, with the carefully brushed hair, the thin mustache and the small side whiskers, with a somewhat prim expression of countenance and his head slightly inclined to one side?"

"I know him," my friend said, smiling; "he's a Southerner, and a first rate lawyer. he has an insinuating, gentle voice, never gets excited, and always knows what he's about. He has a good practice, and does not disdain a good criminal case. He is a square, honorable man, but does not think strategy is unfair. His name is S., and he is familiarly known as John. He has ambitious, politically, and will one day come to the front. If he don't get a show, he will probably make one for himself."

"And that big, clean shaved youth, broad and stalwart, with a capacious head, his hands on his hips and a perennial smirk; who is he?" I asked.

"He is one of the rising young lawyers of the city," my friend answered. "He has everything in his favor. He has a good head, a clear brain, a commanding presence.

A MELODIOUS, ALMOST SANCTIMONIOUS VOICE, a ready flow of language, the capacity of thinking on his legs, and the ability to say in few words just what he wants to say. He is known as the great habeas corpuses and certioraris, and has done some surprisingly big work in both characters. He tries a case with judgment and never loses his temper. That smile of his is very effective with some judges, for no one who was not a Methuselah in physiognomy could ever suppose that guy dwelt underneath it. His name is R., and he is commonly styled Jim. There are big lawyers in the city who gladly avail themselves of Jim's familiarity with criminal procedure."

"You see that short, delicately made man, with dark hair and closely shaven face, and teeth like ivory who is he?" I inquired.

"He is a gentleman, every inch of him, and that's not all. He is an excellent lawyer to boot. He has an extensive practice in real estate matters and a fair clientage as a general practitioner. There's not a speck upon David, as we call him, and the fact that he is in a case is enough to show that all is square and honorable.

There is not a judge who would not take David's bare word, and it is safe to say that he has no enemies except those who hate integrity and uprightness."

"Once more," I said, "who is that short, red haired, sandy mustached gentleman, who sits with his head lying on one shoulder and his hands in his pockets?"

"That," my friend replied, "is one of the ablest and most modest lawyers in Brooklyn. He is clear and logical, sometimes ornate, occasionally sarcastic, and has been known to be witty, but he generally satisfies himself with talking straight, and leaves eloquence and lofty tumbling to his partner or rather, I should say his late partner, for I hear they have dissolved. Everybody calls him Messe, and he is a general favorite. he always has the car of the Court, for he has acquired the reputation of a man of brains and common sense. One thing more: Jesse is never heard fighting for costs or beseeching a judge for an extra allowance. He states his claim and there's an end of it."

"Here's a striking character," I said; "who is that young man with a small whisp of hair on his forehead and an enormous mustache and side whiskers that hang down to his vest pockets?"

"He is a splendid specimen," my friend replied, "of an Irishman. His face shows him to be a man of generous impulses and gentle disposition. He is, in fact, a gentleman in the highest sense of the word. His character, both personally and professionally, is unflecked with any stain, and he is the soul of honor. That shortsighted, dark bearded man next him is his partner. They are both earnest, painstaking lawyers, and very successful, because they are conscientious and incapable of neglecting a client's interest. The firm has a high standing, and will one day, if I mistake not, rank among the first that ever existed in Brooklyn."

"And yet again, " I said, "that young man who is speaking he with the high forehead, brown hair, mustache, and sharp features?"

"Ah! that man is going to be heard from before long," my friend answered. "There is no finer intellect at the Bar, and the knowledge of law possessed by that young man might set up a score of ordinary practitioners. He is an educated man, a great reader, an original thinker, a fluent talker and a determined polemic. he is a politician, also, and one of the wiser sort. The old hands affect to sneer at him, but, mark my words, he will outlive sneers and be a leader yet. he has a fair practice and is above suspicion as a man of honor and integrity. They say his ancestors carried a Mac at the fore; if they did he acted unwisely when he hauled it down."

"My friend," said I, as we were leaving the Court room, "it seems to me that the saying that the good die young is hardly correct. There appears to be a goodly array of excellent young men at the Brooklyn bar."

"Yes," was the answer, "and some pretty hard cases, too. But even the devil is not so bad as he is painted, and the common impression that all lawyers are rogues is dying out. I verily believe that there are fewer instances in the legal profession in which young men become black sheep than in any other line of business."


Website: The History
Article Name:  Lawyers: Some of the Younger Members of the Brooklyn Bar 1877
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


Brooklyn Daily Eagle August 21, 1877
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