FAVORS MORAL TEST FOR ALL APPLICANTS TO BAR
Mr. John Lowell '77 Urges That Candidates be Required to Present Certificates of Character--Necessary to Up-hold Quality of Bar Association
"While I am in sympathy with the movement to make at least some college education a requirement for admission to the bar, I think that we should go still further and examine the moral side of each candidate", said Mr. John Lowell '77, in a recent interview for the CRIMSON, Mr. Lowell is a well-known Boston lawyer and delegate to the recent conference at Washington called by the American Bar Association to consider the advisability of admitting to the bar only those candidates who have spent two years in college. "I agree with the spirit of the reservation proposing that educational experience other than that acquired in colleges may, in proper cases, be accepted as satisfying the requirement of the new regulation, if equivalent to two years of college work.
"My personal feeling is that we must restrict the law profession to those whom we know to have had, in addition to an adequate preparation at college and at a certified law school, a thorough moral grounding. I don't believe this is possible by working out a scheme of an inner and outer bar such as has been proposed by the Carnegie report. In this system, the higher grade of lawyers would be permitted to practice in the inner bar, while those failing to attain this position, either from moral or legal failings, would have to content themselves with the practice of criminal law in the outer or lower bar.
Would Require Certificates
"The only solution, I believe, if we are to raise the standard of American lawyers, is to make all applicants present a series of certificates as to their moral character. The first should be from the dean or corresponding officer of the college which they have attended. In the second place there should be in every law school, a course on the code of legal ethics and no candidate should be admitted to the bar without a certificate as to his moral worth from the teacher of this course. Finally, in every state, there should be a committee on character, chosen by the highest court, who should examine all applicants orally on ethics and present a third certificate to the candidates they deemed worthy of this honor. The committee should not only examine candidates, but should also serve in an advisory body to which all young lawyers might apply in case of doubtful procedure.
"Some people will say that a series of requirements such as I have outlined would tend to make the profession undemocratic. This I must admit, but we can't let every one in. A college education and a moral examination are prime requisites if we are to prevent the bar association from deteriorating into a criminal reformatory."