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therefore reports progress, with the expectation that it will be able to submit a final report to the Executive Committee in ample season before the annual meeting of 1916.

On a single matter your committee has already reached a conclusion, viz., that the time, allowed for the various meetings that are now held in connection with the annual meeting is too short. It recommends that the Association revert to the old practice, which occasionally obtained up to about eighteen years ago, of allotting four entire days to the annual meeting, instead of three entire days, as at present. A glance at the programs of the 1914 and 1915 meetings shows that out of nine units of time (morning, afternoon and evening) represented by the three days, less than three units in all were allotted to the hearing and deliberation on the reports of sixteen standing committees and eight special committees, as well as miscellaneous businessman amount of time wholly inadequate. Moreover, of the four sections of the Association, only one unit of time is generally allotted to each, and all four are usually made to meet simultaneously. In these and other ways there is evidently a need for the enlargement of the total time from three days to at least four days.

In view of the necessity of making arrangements for the meeting in 1916, your committee respectfully recommend that the Executive Committee elected in August, 1915, follow the above recommendation, in making plans for the annual meeting of 1916.

Respectfully submitted,

John H. WIGMORE, Chairman.



(a) 1. Do you believe that the American Bar Association membership should be enlarged, and how far?

(b) 1. Do you believe that the organization of the American Bar Association membership is inadequate, and if so, in what way?


2. Do you believe that some sort of a federation of the membership (like that of the American Medical Association) for National, State, County and City Associations, is desirable; and if so, by what method ?

3. Apart from the specific measure of federation, what additional or alternative measures do you propose for extension of membership, for relation of membership to the Bar at large, and for handling of membership on a large scale?


(a) What are your views as to the shortcomings, if any, in the present method of committee deliberations, in respect to securing thorough consideration and finality of settlement of the topics committed? And what proposals, if any, do you offer for improvement?

(b)(c) What are your views as to the shortcomings, if any, in the present method of discussing and settling the recommendations of committees at the annual meeting? And what proposals, if any, do you offer for improvement?

(d) What are your views as to the shortcomings, if any, of the present method of dealing with resolutions or measures approved at the annual meeting, and affecting the law or procedure, or other matters, in such a way as to call for later action by some agency of the Association ? And what proposals, if any, do you offer for improvement?

(e) If you favor some change, what proposal, if any, do you make for separating the internal management of the Association, the financial affairs, and the purely professional or legal views, of the Association, on lines analogous to those adopted by the American Medical Association in 1902?

(f) What additional or alternative measures of any sort do you propose for this general purpose of improving the Association's method of transacting business?




To the American Bar Association:

Your Special Committee on Reports and Digests is unable to make a definite or complete report at this time.

After being advised of our appointment, on June 2 the Chairman communicated with the members of the committee relative to the subject entrusted to us. It has been impossible even to hear from all members of the committee, 15 to 42 not having replied to letters sent them. Considerable data is being gathered. Additional data is promised by other members of the committee, but is not yet available. The constitutional and statutory provisions of the various states differ, and few suggestions of value can be made without knowledge of such provisions.

There can be no question as to the importance of the subject before us, and probably no more important problem is before this Association.

Investigation of reports shows that the average length of opinion has increased nearly 30 per cent during the last 20 years. It requires no specification of instances to convince the practitioner of the duplication in the printing of opinions in different sets of reports and compilations, while the number of digests is so great that few, if any, practicing lawyers could name them all. We are of the opinion that it will be necessary to conduct a campaign of investigation and education so that the views of the Bar may be ascertained and harmonized. It will be necessary to obtain a general agreement upon fundamental reforms before much can be accomplished. Co-operation with state and local associations on this line will undoubtedly be necessary. In some states, the delay in publishing the official reports gives opportunity for concerns to publish such opinions in advance, and thereby obtain subscriptions to their output from the profession. Of course, the official reports must be purchased, and thereby lawyers in such jurisdictions must carry the burden of paying for

the same thing twice. Some members of the committee think the courts ought to refuse to pay any attention to citations other than from official reports, while others think it advisable that we should recommend such unofficial reports as have been found generally serviceable.

The committee is of the opinion that an appeal should be made to the lawyers themselves to pave the way for shorter opinions by arguing in preparing their briefs only the points relied upon and making their briefs as concise as possible. It is thought this will aid materially in reducing the length of the opinions and in inducing the judges to write better opinions.

The committee further seems to be of the opinion that every judge of an appellate court should be respectfully but earnestly urged to write shorter opinions in most cases. Where required to state the facts, only the ultimate facts should be stated and not the process of elimination by which those facts are determined. Then the principles of law applicable to such facts should be stated, and, except in rare instances where the historical development of law is involved or some new principle is evolved and announced, only the principle of law should be stated and not the process of reasoning by which that principle is found to apply, including long, and in most cases unnecessary, citations from authorities or long lists of authorities. Then the result or conclusion should be concisely announced. In other words, the form of opinions to be kept in mind should be that of a syllogism, of major and minor premise and conclusion.

The questions involved in consideration of this subject are varied and some of them very difficult to answer. Your committee submits that the matter is of sufficient importance to justify the continuance of a committee, either the present or another one which should be promptly appointed, and that a sufficient appropriation should be made to cover the expense of compiling data upon the subject and enabling the committee to meet during the year in time to prepare and print a full report for the next meeting of the Association.

Respectfully submitted,





To the American Bar Association:

Prior to its amendment in 1913, the Constitution of the Association required the President to open the annual meeting with an address, “ in which he shall communicate the most noteworthy changes in statute law on points of general interest made in the several states and by Congress during the preceding year.” By an amendment adopted by the Association in 1913, the President was relieved of the task of reviewing the growing mass of current legislation and no such review was presented to the Association in 1914.

Your committee to review noteworthy changes in the law contained in current legislation was appointed in pursuance of a resolution of the Executive Committee at its meeting in January

of this year.

This report, as finally revised, covers all legislation adopted at the regular and special sessions in 1915 and available on October 20. At that time the regular session in Georgia had not adjourned and some of the laws passed at the regular session in Alabama were not available.

At the regular 1915 sessions in 43 states there were introduced in rough numbers 58,600 bills and in the three sessions of the 63d Congress 29,400 bills. It appears from the table which we have submitted with this report (Appendix B) that the legislative mill in 40 states ground out of this mass of bills over 16,000 separate statutes. Of these, governors vetoed more than 1000, leaving in rough numbers 15,000, which became laws. The governor's axe was particularly active in California, New York and Pennsylvania where 225, 223 and 211 bills respectively were vetoed. It is, of course, true that a great majority of these statutes were local, special or comparatively unimportant, but a large number of general statutes have been added to our law. The quantity and importance of these general laws make a comparative current review of their provisions not only useful to members of our Association, but also of value to various

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