Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



A democratic society could not long endure without the voluntary support of its citizens of application of legal proceedings for settlement of disputes. Perhaps few take the time to consider the extent to which our daily lives are affected by the judicial machinery which a free people have established. Here I refer not merely to the deterrent effect of criminal laws by which we deal with offenses against society. I refer also to our system for the legal settlement of controversies arising between individuals. After all, without our courts and our lawyers, questions involving tort and breach of contract would have to be decided by fisticuffs or perhaps with guns. And so, those who follow the legal profession do not merely serve their clients. In a larger sense, they serve society as a whole. Without lawyers there could be no such thing as the rule of law, nor could we preserve our concept of a government of law as opposed to a government of men. There are many imperfections in our laws. Perhaps our legal system could also be improved in some respects. On the whole, however, it works better than any other system yet devised for the preservation of individual rights and freedom.