Date: May 2, 1931
Location: Northampton, MA
Summary: Coolidge argues that the legal profession is being undermined by unauthorized people practicing law and by a lack of standard education requirements.
Those who are engaged in the practice of the law have before them two problems so serious as almost to menace the future existence of the profession. One is the carrying on of law business by unauthorized persons and corporations. Associations undertake to protect the legal rights of members, and all kinds of persons prepare legal papers. Where this is not prohibited by statute, apparently it can be enjoined by the courts.
Another difficulty is the overcrowding of the bar with members not sufficiently educated to meet present complicated requirements of practice. Estimates are that but forty-five hundred new lawyers are needed each year, while about ten thousand are admitted. The result is a lowering of the standards and ethics of the profession. While no one wishes to exclude any worthy person from the legal profession, the public welfare requires higher educational preparation than is now demanded in most states. Many states have no general education requirement, and only eleven call for the equivalent of two years in college. Those who are unselfishly seeking to protect the public by keeping the standards of the bar high are right in proposing to raise the other thirty-seven states to the same requirement.
Citation: Calvin Coolidge Says: Dispatches Written by Former-President Coolidge and Syndicated to Newspapers in 1930-1931 (Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation)
The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of Fr. Stephen Lawson who prepared this document for digital publication.