Hon. R. M. Morse '57, spoke on "The Practice of Law in the Courts" last evening in the Fogg Lecture Room, under the auspices of the Law School Practice Association. This association is a self-perpetuating committee of five members, whose object is to obtain speakers from the profession with the view of supplementing the more theoretical instruction of the Law School.
The best method, Mr. Morse said, for studying the preparation and trial of cases is to attend prominent trials in court, and watch the counsel conduct cases of different types. Contrary to some views held at present, the jury system is the best one that can be devised. In trials by jury a lawyer should prepare his facts carefully and above all-promptly; while a personal knowledge of the witnesses is essential.
When a young lawyer comes into court to open a case, he should guard against self-consciousness and be free from affectations. His utterances should be simple and concise; his manner of speaking and even his dress, unnoticeable. The mistake most frequently made by beginners is a failure to plan the proportions of speeches in court, so that bad results are effected under the one-hour limit rule. Selecting from a mass of evidence the one or two vital points upon which the case will turn is as important in trials as strategy in a battle. Generally the most effective method of examining witnesses is to assume that the witness is trying to tell the truth, and find out or get him to admit, the points on which he is mistaken.
A successful lawyer has a wide outside knowledge of business methods, manufactures, mechanics, general science, medicine, or any information that may aid him in the practice of the law.