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years hence. The late distinguished professor of Legal History in Cambridge, England, Frederick W. Maitland, once wrote, "Law schools make tough law"a true saying. But the time seems to be at hand when the law schools will make a more flexible law, a law which will be continually renewed by the new knowledge of each succeeding generation. Here, then, is a unique opportunity for the social worker. He, and he only, knows or can easily ascertain, the facts which the research of these legal students of the social problem is aimed to disclose. He, better than anyone else, can contribute to the sound interpretation of these facts. He finds himself at once a partner with the best minds in the legal profession in the splendid enterprise of socializing the law.
But to play this part effectively, as well as to make his contribution to the more immediate reforms projected by the crime commissions and various agencies of the bar, the social worker must know something of the law and of legal procedure. How else can he organize his material so as to make it of use either as material for teaching in the law schools or for securing desired legislation? For this reason it seems to me indispensable that every school for the training of the social worker shall provide adequate courses in these subjects.
As the social worker believes in treatment rather than punishment, so, like the wise physician, he will prefer the certainties of prevention to the hazards of treatment. Except in the field of social legislation the law has been slow in turning itself to preventive measures. But in the institution of the policewoman it has opened a new range of useful cooperation on the part of the social worker. Here there is a great opportunity for genuine preventive work in delinquency which we cannot neglect. Of all the agencies of crime repression, the police are the first to meet the onset of actual delinquency. They need go only a step farther to anticipate and prevent the overt act. After the social worker as policewoman we may well find the social worker as policeman, protecting and conserving the human values that are now going to waste before his eyes.
I trust that I shall not appear to be going beyond the scope of my commission if I suggest that far the most effective form of cooperation of the social worker with the state is in the support of all legal efforts whose aim is the prevention of misery, vice, and crime. As has been pointed out above, these efforts are an increasing factor in the function of government in our time. Every statute which aims to make the world safer for those who must find their way through its mazes should command our allegiance, and of all of these that appeal for our support, the most important, because the most far-reaching, is the prohibition law. I confess that I have been surprised at the indifference of many social workers to the widespread violation of this law and to the resulting contempt for all law. There are, indeed, many of our number, as there are many more in the larger community, who do not believe in the principle of the legal suppression of the liquor traffic, or who are skeptical as to its beneficial effects. But these are, I believe, a small minority. Most of us believe that the law in question, however inadequately enforced, has already produced substantial results
in the improvement of living conditions and in the reduction of vice and delinquency. But, whether this be true or not, no one doubts that the strict enforcement, or better still, the general observance, of the law would be of incalculable value in these respects. I am not impressed by doubts as to whether such a result is possible. The social worker who doubts is damned. It is not by our fears, but by our faith, that we move mountains. Let us go forward, trusting to the invisible forces that make for a better world.
SOCIAL WORK AND THE LAW: LEGAL AID
John S. Bradway, Secretary, National Association of Legal Aid
Three years ago your program contained two papers on legal aid and social work. You were told that legal aid was an orphan being introduced to one of its foster parents, social work, so that it might receive suitable parental care.
In 1923 we said that legal aid work was important to social work because it was preventive. It kept people from needing social care. If everybody received his legal rights there would be fewer people requiring actual relief such as your relief agencies give. If everybody received wages when due, had adequate knowledge about laws relating to domestic problems, could obtain redress as far as the law allows in every case, fewer people would require food, shelter, and clothing from your already overtaxed resources.
The greeting three years ago between the foster parent and the orphan was not overwhelming in the intensity of its affection. The foster parent sat and gazed suspiciously at the newcomer. The orphan retained its own ideas about the foster parent. Since then, in spite of obvious still-existing differences in point of view, there has been a growth of understanding. We are closer together than we were three years ago. This is an accounting to you of the way in which we are endeavoring to find a basis for mutual respect. If it contains few figures, we must realize we are considering a growth that cannot be measured by rule. You cannot determine the worth of a child by its weight or height alone, nor by the color of its hair or eyes. Many of you have insisted that I take into consideration the mental, moral, and spiritual element in legal aid clients. I am now asking you to consider something of the same sort with the work in hand. In formal legal fashion I indite my statement of account as counsel representing those who are engaged in the work.
In the Court of Public Opinion: First triennial account in the matter of the development of relations between legal aid work and social work.
The accountants charge themselves with the following: one group of social workers; one group of lawyers; one body of differences of opinion, among which appeared the idea that lawyers were perhaps morons, or at least a definitely
backward group, and social workers, in the opinion of the conservative element at the bar, had tendencies akin to bolshevism; one set of about sixty legal aid organizations, of which perhaps one-third had a real relationship with social agencies, and which had in that year handled 149,342 cases, collected for their clients $497,750, and expended for operation expenses, $331,326.
This we had to start with, plus one other-high hopes. When we talked to you in Washington we believed that legal aid work would sell itself to you if we gave it a chance. During the ensuing years there have been profound developments. The tangible evidences of our contacts have increased. The harsh point of view on both sides has been softened. There are now several joint meeting places for us. In 1926 your color, in the eyes of our most legalistic members, has faded to pink, and, in some exceptional cases, has vanished. I hope and believe that some of you think of us now as having advanced to high-grade morons.
Turning now to the specific developments, we find that the growth has been of two sorts, a physical growth and a growth in the theory of relationship.
Taking up the specific development of a physical character, we find that there are meeting places where we can exchange experiences on a national, state, and local basis. Nationally we have made progress with the American Association for Organizing Family Social Work, with the National Social Work Council, and with the National Probation Association. The American Association for Organizing Family Social Work appointed a committee on legal work in 1925. This committee has held two meetings with the Committee on Relation with Social Work of the National Association of Legal Aid Organizations. At the meetings in 1925 we considered such matters as the following: first, the use of the confidential exchange by legal aid societies; second, the development of committees on legal aid work of state conferences of social welfare, to cooperate with similar committees of the state bar associations; third, Should legal aid societies have social workers on their advisory boards? fourth, What should a legal aid organization do with a case involving social as well as legal problems?
At the meeting in 1926 we considered the following additional matters: first, report on courses on legal aid law being given in schools of social work; second, Should salaries of legal aid workers be included in the salary classifications of the American Association for Organizing Family Social Work? third, What is the responsibility of the legal aid in handling cases in so-called "socialized" courts, such as juvenile courts and courts of domestic relations? fourth, Have legal aid organizations any right to ask family organizations to assist in the preparation of cases when the family organizations are not already familiar with the cases?
The National Association of Legal Aid Organizations in 1925 became a member of the National Social Work Council. Our delegates have been in attendance at most of these meetings. Our Committee on Domestic Relations Courts has been in touch with the National Probation Association and has urged a model law for the establishment of such courts.
But while progress has been made nationally in this way, it has been surpassed by the development that has taken place between legal aid work and the bar. The American Bar Association has a standing committee on legal aid work which is actually engaged in studying mutual problems from the point of view of lawyers. Equally pronounced has been the state-wide development.
The Pennsylvania Conference of Social Welfare has a committee on legal aid work, appointed in 1925 and continued in 1926. The committee held a round table discussion in 1926, in which each member of the committee discussed one of the fundamental problems of legal aid work, such as the relation between legal aid work and social work, the value of a legal aid organization, financing legal aid work, the legal aid society as general counsel for all social agencies.
The family social work societies of the state of Illinois have a group which amounts to a committee. This group in 1923 promulgated the famous Illinois plan for establishing legal aid work in smaller communities. A copy of this plan is as follows:
1. The family social work societies to furnish the Illinois State Bar Association with a list of the cities in Illinois having family social work societies and name of local secretary or manager of each.
2. The Illinois State Bar Association to get in touch with local bar association in the cities where there are organizations of family social work societies with secretaries or managers and to invite such local bar associations to cooperate in furnishing of legal aid.
3. The local bar associations to furnish to the secretaries or managers of the family social work societies a list of their own members who will contribute their services without charge on properly signed orders from the family social work societies.
4. The local bar associations to appoint a committee of one or more members of the bar to act jointly with the local family social work society's secretary or manager in determining the general policies to be followed in local legal aid work.
5. The Illinois State Bar Association to furnish proper order blanks to be used by the family social work societies.
6. The member of the bar to make a notation on the report blank of the advice given or action taken, and upon completion of the service, to mail it to the local family social work society's secretary or manager from whom the case came.
7. The secretaries of the various family social work societies will issue such orders only on such members of the bar whose names have been furnished by the local bar association, and such orders to be issued in rotation as such names appear upon the furnished lists.
8. The joint committee before mentioned to determine what case or class of cases may be assigned, with the understanding that a small fee will be charged.
9. The secretaries of the family social work societies will make a report to the state association of intercity secretaries of family social work societies, who will transmit a summary to the Illinois State Bar Association not later than May 1 of each year, beginning in 1922.
In Michigan in 1923 the state conference listened to an address on legal aid work. In Ohio in 1925 the Legal Aid Committee of the Ohio State Bar Association communicated with the family welfare societies of the state to determine the extent of legal aid need as a preliminary to establishing organizations. The Tennessee and Connecticut state conferences on social welfare in 1926 had a speaker on legal aid work.
Yet while state-wide development has been made, it is small when compared
with the progress in the relationship between state bar associations and legal aid work. The state bar associations in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and California have now legal aid committees encouraging the development of the work. Without malice, yet with considerable pride as a lawyer, I point to this progress. It indicates that the legal profession as a profession is advancing in this field faster than the social agencies have done. I feel sure we will more than keep abreast of you in this study.
In the local field social agencies and legal aid organizations cooperate more than in the past. There are at least three ways in which the cooperation has developed in local societies: encouragement of legal aid work by social agencies; a more extended recognition of social problems by legal aid societies; a greater understanding of the value of legal aid by social agencies.
The encouragement of legal aid work is best illustrated by the Illinois plan recited above. The best illustration of the growth of the understanding of the social problems in cases arising in a legal aid society is indicated by the study now being made in the New York Legal Aid Society to determine how many of its cases involve social problems. This study is being made in cooperation with the Russell Sage Foundation. The need for social agencies to cooperate in handling cases is best illustrated by a legal aid case I handled some years ago.
A woman with seven children had her husband arrested because he was living with another woman. After he was in jail he was unable to earn, and the family funds were not increased. The wife came to me and asked me to help get her husband out. I talked to the man in his cell. He was penitent and said he had learned his lesson and would live a proper life thereafter. He convinced me that he would do better. I took him to the judge, who was also convinced, and the man was liberated. He went immediately to the pawnshop, secured a revolver, went to the home of the woman with whom he had been living, shot and killed her, and then turned the revolver on himself. You can see the social implications in the case. How much better if there had been a method of contact with a social agency to take over building up the broken home. It has been a matter of concern with me not to repeat a mistake of that sort.
To emphasize this situation, it is well to consider a case on the other side. A social worker recently told me of the following experience: A woman came to him telling him her husband had been badly injured in an automobile accident. The woman wanted to know what to do. The social worker, not realizing the legal elements in the case, went to the phone and called up the insurance company which represented the owner of the automobile. He asked the insurance company to be liberal in its settlement. The insurance company agreed to be liberal, and sent a man around who signed up the injured man upon payment of $300. It developed that the man was incapacitated for life, and that $10,000 would have been nearer the amount due him, and probably collectible for him, if suit at law had been instituted.