Saturday, January 07, 2017

Clarence Darrow for the Defense

Clarence Darrow was most prominent American lawyer around end of nineteenth and beginning of twentieth century. Irving Stone has written his excellent biography ' Clarence Darrow for the Defense'. 
This post and some next following posts of the LegalTrek series are about Clarence Darrow and his biography.

Clarence Darrow was born on 18th April, 1857, about half a century before Leibowitz, about whom some posts have already been published. Darrow was most famous lawyer of his time and his life is excellently documented by Irving Stone in the book 'Clarence Darrow for the Defense'. It should be read by everyone, who aspires to become a lawyer.

Darrow was intellectual liberal, whose sympathies lay with the underdogs -  poor, labourers,  African Americans. He also taught at Illinois college of Law. Once his student asked him if it was possible to be financially successful lawyer, without resorting to sharp tactics, or taking advantage of technicality of law, or injuring the other fellow.
'No', answered Darrow, without any hesitation.
The student said then how come Darrow was successful and earned great deal of money, if he was not crooked.
Darrow explained that it is said that he was successful lawyer but he was not financially successful. His clients were not rich; they were downtrodden.

When Darrow was old, he once debated to take up a case or not, as it involved lot of time and a lot of travelling expenses. He asked if the client had money to pay. He was told that the client had no money to pay.
'This settles the question', answered Darrow. 'I will take up the case.' He paid the money from his pocket.

One third to half of Darrow's professional efforts were devoted to the clients from whom he collected nothing. He devoted more time to widows and orphans than all lawyers in Chicago put together. 

Darrow was liberal and known for his wit. He could marshal facts better than anyone else. He had phenomenal memory and summed up his cases from his memory, without referring to the notes. This made him one of the most famous American lawyer and civil libertarian.

In the next few posts, we will talk about some cases contested by him.

#LegalTrek #YatindraSingh 
Irving Stone, Clarence Darrow, Clarence Darrow for the Defense,

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