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The suspension of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau in 1935 meant a great loss to the people who for many years had been helped by it, and its restoration makes a significant contribution to the justice of the community.
There was nothing in the history of the Bureau, since its establishment in 1913, to warrant its demise. The technicality of the law passed by the General Court with regard to the legal practice of people not members of the Massachusetts Bar formed an unwelcome obstacle to further service of this kind. As the Bureau is reestablished, supervised by Vernon Marr, the experienced Boston attorney, who will make appearances before the courts of law on its behalf, there should be no ignore curtailment of its activities.
Although the needy clients of the Bureau have in the past found its services invaluable, even greater advantages are gained by the law students for whom it forms an ideal clinical outlet. As other professional schools, such as those of medicine and dentistry, have found charity work of this kind a happy supplement to the more theoretical studies of the classroom, so the untried legal minds of Harvard should gain valuable experience from these practical contacts with the law.
Law schools throughout the United States have in recent years been operating similar services with success. It is important that such work continue, lest legal aid come to be regarded as the exclusive luxury of the rich. Actually the problems of those financially unable to hire attorneys are even more important in most cases, since any loss of their already meager property is likely to prove disastrous. In giving their best advice to these people the Harvard law students are filling a real public need.
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