West Virginia Law Review

Document Type



A new and magnificent duty now rests on the legal profession. It has been created by modern political and scientific developments. Evolution has so increased and facilitated travel and communication that the world has become one community. But that world community is divided into two powerful factions, generally referred to as East and West, and they are directly and fundamentally opposed. As a consequence, cold war rages and hot war threatens. Science has so increased the destructive power of missile and atomic bombs that total war would produce total destruction; life not destroyed by direct explosion would be poisoned by contaminated air, water and soil. Historians say that the world is confronted by the most fateful crisis that humanity has ever known. Statesmen, religious leaders, scientists, philosophers and jurists have said that the only way to prevent world war is to establish for international affairs a system of enforceable world law. The responsibility for such accomplishment naturally rests mainly on lawyers. This essay will proceed to discuss the responsibility of lawyers. It is assumed that there is no longer any need to emphasize the imminent and fateful nature of the crisis; nor is it necessary to argue that law is the only substitute for war. A mind that does not accept those facts seems isolated from reality. Isolationism is not rational; it is an egocentric and emotional fixation of mind. Argument would be futile against it even if time and space were allowed. The primary and most important part of the lawyer's duty is to analyze the issue and clearly define what it is that separates the factions and causes the opposition. As Sir Richard Livingston has said, "In political and social questions true diagnosis is the first need and the rarest gift." Lawyers are especially trained for such work. An old adage of the legal profession says, "A case well stated is a case half won." The real question which underlies any dispute has a tendency to become lost in bitterness, emotionalism, personality and extraneous matters. The duty of the lawyer, as counsellor and as advocate, is to strip the issue of all impertinent considerations and show what the real difference is. This professional function is also exemplified in the service of a judge to a jury. He analyzes the contentions and arguments, excludes irrelevant matters and states clearly the real question to be determined.



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