JUDICIAL REFORM. By judicial reform is here meant changes in municipal law which have for their object the classi fication and simplification of law or improvement in the adminis tration of justice. It includes, therefore, the more orderly expression of the law as well as changes in the training and quali fications required of members of the bar in the organization of courts and in judicial procedure. On the other hand, the term does not include those changes in municipal law induced by changes in political, social or economic conditions. The article deals only with the United States.
A member of the bar in the United States is one who has a right to practise in one or more courts of record. The bar in the United States or in any State is not a legally organized body. While each member of the bar of a court has, as such, rights and duties, the members as a group are not a corporation and do not as a body have any privileges or duties. They have not the right to exclude others from being admitted to practise, or even to determine the standards which must be complied with by those seeking the right to practise. They have not the right to establish rules for the regulation of the fees to be charged clients nor to prescribe the conduct to be followed by members of the bar in the practise of law, and they cannot disbar any member of the bar for unethical conduct.
Judicial reform in the United States, therefore, has come, not through an officially organized bar with definite legal powers, but rather as the result of the action of voluntary associations of members of the legal profession—judges, practitioners and law teachers.
These voluntary law associations are of two kinds—jurisdic tional and scientific. There are over 400 jurisdictional bar associa tions. These admit their members from the lawyers within a definite territory rather than from the practitioners at a particu lar court, though; practically, they never admit a person who is not a member of the bar of some court. Thus, there is a national bar association known as the American Bar Association, founded in 1878, and a State bar association in each of the States, as well as local bar associations in all the large cities and in many of the counties. There has been no integration of these associations.
A lawyer may be a member of the American Bar Association, his State association and his local county or city association.
With the exception of a few local associations which date from the first part of the 19th century nearly all the local, as well as all the State bar associations, and also the American Bar Association have come into existence since the close of the Civil War. The several scientific legal societies are the American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology, the American Society of Inter national Law, the American Judicature Society and the American Law Institute. All are of comparatively recent origin. They are all nation-wide in membership and each has been founded to carry on investigation and promote improvement in law, either generally or with reference to particular subjects. Besides these associations the Association of American Law schools, composed of some 6o schools conforming to certain standards of admission, organization and conduct, has done much to promote improve ment in legal education.
The American Bar Association and practically all the State and nearly all the local bar associations have committees which from time to time submit to their respective associations drafts of proposed legislation relating to the organization of the courts or to procedure and other matters pertaining to judicial reform. If the association approves the draft, the committee will be author ized to submit it to the legislature of the State and urge its adoption. Rules of court, as well as legislative changes in pro cedure and cognate matters, usually have their origin in tne action of these bar associations.
Since 190o such judicial reforms as have taken place in the United States may be classified as follows Those designed to elevate the character and improve the efficiency of the mem bers of the bar. 2. Those designed to improve court organization. 3. Those designed to unify, clarify or simplify existing law. 4. Those designed to improve procedure.