The indefinable quality of personal magnetism is of much vaunted importance. It is like that horrid word, charm; no one knows what it means and seems to have a supernatural quality. The trial lawyer does not need either charm or magnetism. They are both nonsense. Like actors or fighters if they are sufficiently trained in their parts or know how to use their weapons, the lawyers’ personal magnetism over judge and jury will come of itself. The judge is a fairly hard-hearted person. The jury may be governed by sentiment but they are an example of the average man and neither are going to be caught by smile or mannerisms. Sound qualities will prevail.
A fine-looking trial lawyer who thoroughly knew his business once had a hard case. His appearance and manner impressed the jury. They followed his every motion. The trial was long and tiresome. It was the days of those little iron puzzles to get two rings or anchors apart; occasionally he would take one out of his pocket and begin playing with it. The jury would follow him with their eyes to see whether he could do it. Whenever he thought the evidence for the other side was getting too interesting, out would come the little iron puzzle and the jury would pay more attention to its solution than to the witness on the stand. He won his case but that is no reason to recommend the playing of “Pigs in Clover” in the court-room. The reason he won the case was because he was the capable man and on the job.
The lawyers’ profession is not a creative one but the value in the social structure is cohesive. He brings together the investor and the manufacturer, he amalgamates capital and labor on a sound legal basis. He adjusts conditions to the laws and laws to the conditions. His is the most large-minded of the professions. He is theoretically the layer of the law. In every community the eminent lawyer is the eminent citizen. No one commands greater respect. But there is no doubt that the inefficient administration of justice is the fault, to a large extent, of the legal profession.
The fine, kind face of the lawyer who, ripe in years and understanding, beams a genial smile is a living reproach to the detractors of his profession. Painstaking, scrupulous, broad-minded, and intelligent, with a twinkle of humor for the frailities of humanity, he looks on the pettiness of men with a wise tolerance. Beneath his ease of manner and cordiality of intercourse there lies a world of experience, of battles fought and won, of inherent force of character, of public honors received and gracefully borne. There are no limits to the admiration and love to which he is entitled.
Beside the lawyer, and watching him with worried eyes, sits the client, who unless he is in the wrong really wants the lawyer to bring out the facts in the case rather than to have him exhibit his qualities as a fighter.