Chesterfield Smith oral history, 2002

Former president of ABA during creation of the LSC, about which he dealt with President Nixon. Previously served on ABA Committee on the Availability of Legal Services. Committed to civil legal aid.

Oral history details

Storyteller: Chesterfield Smith
Interviewer: Bergmark, Martha
Date of interview: Aug 9, 2002
Where relates to: Florida and National
Topics: American Bar Association (ABA), Delivery systems, and LSC: Creation
Law type: Civil
Collection: NEJL
Georgetown Law Library link (possible video): http://aspace.ll.georgetown.edu/public/repositories/2/archival_objects/398
Length: 0:45:59

Full text of transcript

Download PDF: Transcript

Consortium for the National Equal Justice Library
Oral History Collection
Interview with
Chesterfield Smith
Conducted by Martha Bergmark
Aug 8, 2002

Martha Bergmark:
I’m pleased this afternoon to talk with Chesterfield Smith, who has a long involvement in the creation of the Legal Services Corporation. Today is Thursday, August 8th, 2002 and we’re at the National Equal Justice Library in Washington, DC. [ed. note: Caroline in the transcript was not identified by last name and seems to have been operating the recording equipment.]

Martha Bergmark:
Chesterfield Smith has a long involvement in the legal services history, and it really came about as a result of his involvement with the American Bar Association. He happened to be president of the ABA in 1973-’74. In ’74 the Legal Services Corporation Act was enacted, and it was signed into law by President Richard Nixon just a few days before he resigned the presidency to avoid impeachment. Mr. Smith was involved in both of those historic events.

Martha Bergmark:
My name is Martha Bergmark, I’m Senior Vice President for programs at the National Legal Aid and Defender Association. I began my legal career in my home state of Mississippi in 1973 just as Mr. Smith was assuming presidency of the ABA. I started a civil rights firm there and then a legal services program. I came to Washington in 1987, where 20 years after the founding of LSC, served as its executive vice president and president. With that I’m eagerly anticipating my conversation with Mr. Smith.

Chesterfield Smith:
[unintelligible] … firm and with ABA. His name’s Bill McBride and he’s running for governor of Florida against Jeb Bush now and, that’s who he’s got to go talk some about, they want me to help Bill to do something. I intend to do that.

Caroline:
[unintelligible]… down there with Janet Reno-

Chesterfield Smith:
Janet Reno and Bill. I love Janet. She’s been my good friend longer than Bill. But Bill worked for me for six years. Martha [Bernad??] for eight. They’re the only two that I’ve had that have worked more than two years.

Martha Bergmark:
Well, I’d like you to get us started by telling us a little something just about your professional and personal history and how that history came to be intertwined with the story of legal services.

Chesterfield Smith:
Well, I as a young lawyer always cared deeply about the bar. I was president of three local bar associations primarily because I went with a small firm that’s now very large and we started expanding. I ran the firm for 33 years from 1956 until 1983, and quit running it then. I had a lot of contacts. I moved and practiced law in two major areas of Florida, one of them was in central Florida in a large county that had tremendous corporations that created chemical fertilizers. I dominated the law practice for it for years, and then I moved later to Miami where there’s totally different practice. That was our largest city.

Chesterfield Smith:
The firm now has over 1,300 lawyers, near 1,400 maybe. There were two there when I got there. So, it’s been a long time. I did know because I practiced in small towns. The first one had 4,600 people in it, Arcadia, Florida. The second one, Bartow, Florida, had 16,000 roughly in it. The Bartow firm got to be the largest firm in the state eventually when we had something like 41 lawyers or something. As I say, now we have 1,400, 1,300 or between that.

Martha Bergmark:
In that day, there just wasn’t such a thing as a law firm that big.

Chesterfield Smith:
No. There was no law firm in America at that time that was as big as 150 when I started.

Martha Bergmark:
And what was the situation with access to legal services for no income?

Chesterfield Smith:
I didn’t know it when I got active in the American Bar Association. First thing, I was president of the Florida Bar. Then I got active in what they call the National Conference of Bar Presidents, which puts on programs and does things, and I became head of it. And did some other things in there, and I decided to run for president of the association. One of and perhaps, you never know, the most important influence on me being elected was Lewis Powell. He had a lot of things, I think, in common with me, but I didn’t know him when he became president of the American Bar Association. He visited and worked with me as people do with all state Bar presidents when they want to spread their national programs out.

Chesterfield Smith:
Lewis invited me to be a major speaker at the American Bar Association after he had had lunch with me a couple of times when they had their convention in Miami. I never would have been elected if it had been in Seattle or Chicago or Houston. It was because it was in Miami. I never would have been selected. But I spoke. I don’t even remember what I spoke on. He loved what I said, because after that, he was always trying to get me to do things. He asked me to be on this committee, which he stressed to me that some of the special interest lawyers that you already would know about and guess who they were affiliated with. But he said they had been trying to get him to help make legal services available to all Americans.

Chesterfield Smith:
Obviously, a major, and perhaps the major, problem was the cost of getting legal services. You couldn’t hire a lawyer. You had to get him some way either to be paid by somebody else, or you had to get him to be willing to contribute and do render services to people who needed it. He created a wonderful committee, and-

Martha Bergmark:
This was the committee on the availability of legal services?

Chesterfield Smith:
The committee on the availability of legal services.

Martha Bergmark:
And this was during his [unintelligible]–

Chesterfield Smith:
There were seven on it, and the third youngest or the fourth oldest, either one, was Bill McCalpin from St. Louis. He was a marvelous chairman, very good. And we had three people, four people that were older than him and two that were younger. If I didn’t get my figures wrong. The two younger were Nick [Nostle??] from Portland who was a wonderful lawyer and had been chairman of the ABA section on legal education, and Bob Kutak who later became chairman of the committee as the rest of us got older and faded away or something. He died in the early ’80s. He created a law firm. When he joined our firm, he practiced by himself and when he got through, I don’t know how big his law firm had gotten. But I’ll say 70 or 80, which was very big in those days.

Chesterfield Smith:
In fact, my firm, I started with two lawyers and ran it for 33 years. It got to be roughly 240 lawyers, and it was about the seventh largest law firm in the country. But when I started with the two, there was another law firm. It was bigger than 120 in all America. Now, my law firm is about the same rank as it was when I quit running it, and there were 240. But now we have 1,300 plus lawyers, and there are all kind of law firms. There must be now at least 500 law firms that are bigger than my firm was when we were the eleventh, seventh, ninth, you go up and down every time somebody adds people or make a merger, law firms change.

Chesterfield Smith:
Law firms are very big, and they do concern themselves a great deal in capturing clients more than they used to. They used to always get clients out of their neighborhood. If they were in New York City, they may have had a population of 50,000 people that they tried to get 300 clients out of, or 400. If they were in a little town like I was, Arcadia, Florida with 4,600 people in it, you’d tried to get 50 clients out of that. You didn’t have near so much competition, and you’d make it. You’d make friends at church, you’d make friends that you went to school with, you’d make friends that were neighbors, and also your reputation counted. But, nobody in our community had all the legal services. We were coming out of the Depression, you weren’t able to hire them and pay them, and they were looking for new ways.

Chesterfield Smith:
After I became friends with Lewis Powell, he asked me to be on that committee, and I was describing those people in there. Others on it, Teddy Voorhees was from Philadelphia, and it’s one of the biggest firms still in Philadelphia. I was trying to think who it was. He was a very wonderful lawyer, and he was one of the members. Bill Avery was a managing partner of Sidley and Austin, which was the biggest firm I think in Chicago in the 1960s when Lewis Powell appointed him.

Martha Bergmark:
Was there concern, in terms of the mandate of the committee, was it about availability of services [crosstalk 00:11:55]-

Chesterfield Smith:
Yeah, in all areas.

Martha Bergmark:
In all areas.

Chesterfield Smith:
…assignment of Lewis, and of course the House of Delegates and the Board of Governors of the ABA have some control over presidents or anything else. But, Lewis wanted to make legal services available to everybody that needed them, and he thought then that less than 10%, I remember him saying it, of people who needed and could use lawyers could get them and afford them. He wanted to do other things, and we studied all kinds of things. One of the things that we started and never were very successful with, but it’s still the emphasis that was placed upon legal specialization. By thinking that they can help some of those people if they didn’t have to know all the law and all the subjects. We created legal specialization.

Chesterfield Smith:
They also looked at group legal plans. It was the first time we’d ever had them in all of America. We had had some specialization, but not anybody that can proclaim it and claim that they were a specialist. We went on and did all kind of things. We looked at legal insurance, like the doctors do and other things about that. We thought that most of these people couldn’t even pay those lesser fees. And we looked at group legal services and specialization. But eventually, Lewis and Bill McCalpin and the committee all got pushed a little bit into government sponsored paid legal service for poor people.

Chesterfield Smith:
Now, these other things were still designed for rich people. Some of them.

Martha Bergmark:
At that point though, Justice Powell thought that he was looking to try to bring services to as much as 90% of the population.

Chesterfield Smith:
Yes, he wanted to help rich people too that couldn’t get lawyers, or people that were moderate, which it’s just health insurance as you know. You can be a poor person and all of a sudden need thousands of dollars for health service. He wanted to make that available to the legal profession to their potential clients if they couldn’t do it. So he was looking and he looked at routine insurance. But eventually, while there’s some aspects of insurance that go into this government sponsored payment of lawyers to help poor people, it’s a little different. If it doesn’t have a premium usually, it doesn’t have something that they have to pay, they have to just prove that they need the services and are poor.

Chesterfield Smith:
We looked at first, and I think that he felt and most of the good lawyers felt that group legal service plans in which the government just paid what you need was going to be the way and best way to do that. But eventually, they came around to finding that other things might have potential to them, such as these unit plans in which you pay a small contribution and you’re supposed to get your legal service. What do they call that?

Martha Bergmark:
Well, they pre-paid.

Chesterfield Smith:
Pre-paid legal service. But, most of the, what I’ll call the thinking people, at that time doubted pre-paid was going to do the service. They kept thinking they we ought to just have some kind of group plan, that the government poured some money in here and some other people controlled it and allocated it for basically poor people that have to prove that they were dead poor before they could get in there.

Martha Bergmark:
This was also about the time that Medicare was being adopted, right?

Chesterfield Smith:
Well, it was, and it was working better.

Martha Bergmark:
Was the inspiration for having the ABA consider it akin to or related to the fact that Medicare had come along–?

Chesterfield Smith:
I think that everybody was aware of it, and while maybe they came along awful close together. I won’t even say for sure though if Medicare was more successful. I won’t say that the legal activities in my mind didn’t have something to do with the medical determination to do that. It was to try to get government money and pay for people that could not pay for it. If they could pay for it, the theory was back in those days even more than now, that they never got help from the government money if they could afford to pay their own way.

Martha Bergmark:
What were the different ideas within the committee in terms of how best to provide services to people who truly couldn’t pay anything? In other words, the truly poor?

Chesterfield Smith:
Well, I think at that time, they thought that something like Medicare was the best thing. But we thought and spent probably more time on people who could partially pay, or on people who didn’t need magnificent big services. We kept trying to look at all kind of little plans to help. They certainly thought about neighborhoods having lawyers that would help everybody there, regardless of their financial conditions.

Martha Bergmark:
Did that fit in with the OEO idea of having neighborhood law offices? Or was that something different?

Chesterfield Smith:
Well, I think at first that OEO type plan was the most popular. But eventually, it moved a little the other way. And people who wanted to join up and get services, they would establish relationships to some extent in their neighborhood with both the other participants in their plan and the doctor, so that there was some kind of good feeling between all of them. They weren’t thinking totally that this guy is really getting a big clout from the government, that he should get something from the government, is what they were thinking, the difference. In other words, they didn’t want to … They much preferred to help everybody with, we’ll say $5,000 worth of legal costs and not help anybody with $25,000. And to start off when we talked about it at first.

Martha Bergmark:
When the OEO folks were trying to design their program, I understand that they set up something called a National Advisory Committee that had some representatives from the ABA on it. I’m wondering if that committee had any interaction with your–

Chesterfield Smith:
Well, there were all kind. We, like you do, if you come up with a new idea that has appeal to people, a great number. Maybe a great number could be eight percent, I’m not trying to say everybody there. But there’s a great number interested in it. Well, various people try various things, and there were many things. But the two major ones were you’d create organizations that just had government money coming in there, or did you want to have others that were somewhat like insurance? Somewhat like neighborhood help? Somewhat different from the government putting its money in there, and the government would control and help and stretch, including try to minimize expenses, medical expenses and other things for the group programs that people in the neighborhood or in an occupation, or in some kind of other affiliation, would set up. Not unlike the medical.

Martha Bergmark:
I understand it was a really hard-working committee that you had.

Chesterfield Smith:
Oh. We met in Chicago. We met over on the boulevard, I forget the name of it. But it’s right north of the Chicago airport and goes on out. We met generally at one motel. There were seven of us on the committee and we had one staff person. We met once a month, to the best of my recollection, without exception. Occasionally somewhere else, but 10 out of 12 or 9 out 12 during the year, we met once a month there in Chicago. The others were like, we’d have a meeting at the annual meeting, or a meeting at the mid-year meeting. Or sometimes, for various reasons because something was happening we’ll say in Atlanta or New York or Los Angeles.

Martha Bergmark:
This committee met for several years as I understand.

Chesterfield Smith:
I left it, as I remember, because they made my chairman of a committee on specialization in-

Martha Bergmark:
Which was one of the areas that the committee began looking into.

Chesterfield Smith:
Yeah, the committee was already working on it. Because of my articulation and I guess fervor there about specialization or otherwise, how that would help people, because people would get so proficient, that they wouldn’t have to prepare as much. We started doing specialization in 1967 I think. It could have been ’68 and ’69. I only served one year because I ran for president and got elected. I knew I was going to be elected. I was actually elected later. I was president in ’73 and ’74, so I was president elect in ’72 and ’73. I got elected probably in ’71 and ’72 like people do.

Martha Bergmark:
And in the late ’60s, did an OEO funded neighborhood law office come to your neighborhood? Did you have any experience there in Florida with the programs that you recall?

Chesterfield Smith:
Well, there were some. The Florida Bar itself had a function to fill in more for little cities than they did bigger cities. And they also had some other things, but there were legal service programs considered in almost all cities that had as many as 10 lawyers.

Martha Bergmark:
In Florida?

Chesterfield Smith:
In Florida. And in many ways, all around the country.

Martha Bergmark:
Okay, yeah. How did it work out in Florida, in terms of relations with the Bar, for example?

Chesterfield Smith:
Well, it still hadn’t worked out. Legal aid societies, there must have been 25 to 50 all over the United States that were successful. There’s probably another 25 that were unsuccessful. But, that means then that there was, probably then, what? 6,000 that could have had legal service programs and didn’t. It Was just that few in number. It was large cities that had them, and they had all kind of ways to do them. Mostly, their differences were charitable, how they raised money and how they put it in there. They would basically try to be a charitable legal service corporation. If somebody, a client couldn’t afford, just like they can’t afford healthcare or something else, a doctor would contribute his services free to them.

Chesterfield Smith:
That’s the same way if somebody can prove they had a legal problem. But the legal problems related far more to businesses of individuals than they did to group problems that maybe impacted or are reviewed by the law. Since Lewis Powell started that and others did with him in the 1960s, there are more legal services available than there were before in multiple areas, not just in cost, not just in numbers. But they will now do things for group people, lawyers will. And while some of them are still determinations individually made by a lawyer who just wants to do right, they also are encouraged in discussion and the legal … and bar meetings at other places.

Chesterfield Smith:
We have an obligation if lawyers don’t represent these people, they’ll never get represented and nobody else can do it. So, lawyers have to think about their charitable obligations and to see which one of them they think they can represent and help without hurting other people. If they don’t do anything but charity they, for example, can’t serve other people. They have to think of that, and that’s why so much of the attention ultimately got I think on federally funding, the need for lawyers, that everybody would agree they needed them. But they didn’t know exactly how you could get them to do it. I don’t mean that the lawyers were either good or bad. You can just do so much charity under our capitalistic system of government. You have to do something else, and they needed to do that.

Chesterfield Smith:
Some of them weren’t doing any, and so they tried to increase. If everybody did five percent of their work, we’d have probably a great amount of it. But, if you only get five percent of your work from five percent of the people, well all of a sudden, you need 20% or 30% from those five percent. That’s why some of these other plans didn’t work as good as the federal funded one, which is based upon tax money.

Martha Bergmark:
And by the early 1970s, at about the time you were finding out you were going to be president of the ABA, the idea was to create a legal services corporation, was to create an organization at the federal level.

Chesterfield Smith:
We had tremendous governmental contribution to our plans, our work and our ideas from Sargent Shriver, who was head of the OEO legal services office. President Johnson and others had decided to try to help poor people, and they created this plan that had multiple activities. One of them was really, not at first, medicine and lawyers. It was medicine, it wasn’t lawyers. And the lawyers decided, and they went to him and they created Sargent Shriver who was head of that and he agreed and he helped a great deal in experimenting with clients.

Martha Bergmark:
That was that Office of Legal Services of OEO, and then the idea was to create an actual legal services corporation standalone agency.

Chesterfield Smith:
Yeah.

Martha Bergmark:
What can you recall about … I know you had a very busy year as ABA president. It was a historic time to be that, and certainly the most controversial thing was not legal services in that year. But I’m wondering what you recall about–

Chesterfield Smith:
In a general sort of way, President Richard Nixon was always fair to us and considered everything we said and most often seemed to agree with us. He was involved. Now, I had later a little trouble with him, and Tom Brokaw wrote a book in which a chapter in it is about my troubles with Nixon. But it wasn’t about legal service.

Martha Bergmark:
That was over the impeachment controversy?

Chesterfield Smith:
Yeah.

Martha Bergmark:
Did that complicate the effort to get the legal services corporation act fast?

Chesterfield Smith:
I don’t think so anymore than anything else.

Martha Bergmark:
Okay.

Chesterfield Smith:
He was a friendly President to it.

Martha Bergmark:
He did support it. He signed it.

Chesterfield Smith:
Yeah. And he worked to get it. I don’t remember Gerald Ford being hostile, I remember him more being neutral. However, then we got Carter, and he didn’t help us very much, even though he was talk sympathetic. Then we got Reagan, who gave us hell and wanted to cut it out. I mean, Nixon was better towards us by far than Reagan was, though Reagan had virtues also that he didn’t have. We’ve since then not had anybody that was real good except Clinton.

Martha Bergmark:
Well, one of the early debates over the Nixon bill and what was called the bipartisan bill I understand, was over the power of appointment to the board. President Nixon was adamant that the President should have all those appointments. The bipartisan bill provided something else, but it was interesting to me to think about the fact that you all must have been at the ABA negotiating the terms of that corporation act at the same time that you were having to contend with the impeachment issues.

Chesterfield Smith:
Well, you for long put things, and the highest priority in the impeachment got to be highest for me. But, I did vote incidentally for Nixon on his second Presidency and voted for him. I made a mistake I decided later, but I had because of other things that I’d had in his first term. Like, he had some concern about this issue that we’re talking about, and while I don’t want to suggest that he was an innovator of it or the prime pusher of it, he wasn’t bad. He might have been good if you analyzed him again. He supported. I got to dislike him a great a deal later, but it wasn’t just me that decided to any of those things either.

Chesterfield Smith:
He was recognized as generally being for the type of legal service plans that we have now, where they put the federal money in there, they hire employees and those employees will serve as lawyers for those people who don’t have money in that particular category. He didn’t oppose that at all. That was not the most popular thing by then in the legal profession. But there are still people that, if they think of it intellectually alone, they don’t know why that doesn’t work better than the other one. They like it better. But it doesn’t seem to work as well.

Martha Bergmark:
Well, it was interesting. Your assistant was nice enough to send me some of the articles from the ABA journal during the year that you were president. A couple of them were just accounts of the congressional debate with the LSC Act and so forth. But actually, the more interesting ones reflected the debate about delivery. What kind of delivery system was in judicare, public interest law firm, staff model-

Chesterfield Smith:
What economic contribution did this country, this society as a whole make? And how did it change the legal representation of people who weren’t getting it before?

Martha Bergmark:
And where would you say we stand now? How are we doing–

Chesterfield Smith:
I think that the people like more, somewhat like they do some other federal charities. I think they like for the government to just pay for certain services for them if they really need them. And if they don’t, even though it affects some of those people and that people who, we’ll say have an $18,000 a year income, are willing to reduce the contributions that they get a little bit, as long as they’re not totally reduced. If their illness is $14,000 cost, they’re willing for the government to pay them less than if somebody that with no income gets a $14,000 cost.

Chesterfield Smith:
As a generality, and I think the people prefer this OEO legal program in which they furnish the lawyers.
Martha Bergmark:
How about pro bono? Your law firm is known as a leader in the area of pro bono.

Chesterfield Smith:
Well, most of it doesn’t get into healthcare. We sometimes do, but I’ll agree that we believe. Our law firm now, we … I probably shouldn’t say this, but what the hell? I guess you got that on there, too. But we take in over a half billion dollars in fees every year. We shouldn’t just all get to have new Cadillacs every year. Once every three years is enough. I think that what the lawyers think and they know that people need legal services. We try to do it. Now, we give roughly about five percent of our thing. If that’s so, that’s $25 million, isn’t it?

Martha Bergmark:
And what sort of–

Chesterfield Smith:
And we give it to people that can’t get it, and we try to. Do we make mistakes? Sure. But we try very hard to give it to anybody that needs legal services that can’t get it.

Martha Bergmark:
But it’s a strong firm commitment to do that? It’s a great commitment.

Chesterfield Smith:
It’s a firm commitment.

Martha Bergmark:
That’s terrific. Tell us what your thoughts are coming forward all these many years since those early days of being involved with this. I was fascinated to hear that Justice Powell thought he was needing to find a way to serve upwards of 90% of the population. Today, all the legal need studies of low income show us we still need to serve another 80%. I’m wondering what your advice for those of us who are still toiling in this field would be.

Chesterfield Smith:
Well, I love Justice Powell. He’s long gone. After those four years or so, I didn’t have much to do with him. But I made other friends that think a lot about the things, including people in my law firm. I can name a great deal. I would say, if I listed my 10 best friends in the world that Sargent Shriver, who was head of the OEO legal services program, is one of them. Because partially, as he says, I stole him and got him so that up there, he’s the one that was willing to work on the OEO program there, that he didn’t expect to. He didn’t expect to, but he got believing it was a very good thing.

Chesterfield Smith:
There’s a lot of people that do it, and I don’t think that it’s finally resolved necessarily yet as to how things should be done. Because I believe basically the figures you used just now are about correct, and that we still have about 80% that have some problems with legal services. So, the fact that we’ve gone up from five percent to 20% is good, and I’m happy about it. Except if we’d gone up to 50%, I’d like it a lot better, and if we’d gone up to 70 or 80 or 90%, we’d be perfect.

Martha Bergmark:
Well, to get perfect would mean we were finally fulfilling our nation’s promise of justice for all.

Chesterfield Smith:
Yes.

Martha Bergmark:
And some of the things that we are working on now include more government funding, of course. But, I was interested to hear about this committee’s exploration of all kind of different ways of doing it.

Chesterfield Smith:
Oh, we spent a lot of time on all of them, and some of them I doubted that we should work on.

Martha Bergmark:
Right. Are there any that we should be —

Chesterfield Smith:
Group legal plans, for example, involved only people that could afford to pay for something.

Martha Bergmark:
So that wasn’t necessarily going to work.

Chesterfield Smith:
Yeah.

Martha Bergmark:
But, if there’s anything that we should be exploring that you can think of that we maybe let the ball drop on. We’re I think committed, as you have been for all these many years to fulfilling that-

Chesterfield Smith:
Well, I haven’t been as committed since the ’80s. You just do. But, I think that … that for some reason, the more successful efforts from the ABA, and then therefore the thing that the ABA has worked hardest on are not necessarily what I would have worked on. I think that legal services ought to be more like medical services. In the end, there’s much more charitable contribution to medical services than there are legal. I don’t believe that group legal plans or other things are going to make up for that, even though they are very popular now.

Martha Bergmark:
Well, this has been just fascinating, and I feel privileged to have been part of it. If there’s anything else you’d like to comment on before we wrap up, we’d like to hear it.

Chesterfield Smith:
Well, I think right off that if the rule of law is so important to all people, that lawyers who make their living out of the rule of law have to think of ways always to make its availability more and more subject to being utilized by everybody. I don’t think we’ve exhausted those yet. I know that there are a lot of people who can afford lawyers who never needed to. In some ways, I wish that we could devise ways that those people who can afford and it not affect their life and their living, would give more to helping people that can’t ever get in that situation to acquire lawyers when they need them. I don’t think we’ve done the best we can do yet.

Martha Bergmark:
Well, I guess that’s why we’re still working on it.

Chesterfield Smith:
Yeah, that’s why y’all are working on it. And they are, and we get people like me that … I gave thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars of my time, but when? In 1960, in 1970 and somewhat in 1980. Why don’t I do it in 1990? Why don’t I do it in 2000? Well, I’m 85 now. I’m tired, or something else. But there are people like me with all kind of motivations that don’t do anything within the law. I think that that’s one of the things that they should contribute if they’re going to be given the exclusive right to practice law. They ought to have some of that income that they get from other people.

Chesterfield Smith:
Now, how much? Well, I know when I started practicing law, my first year I made $3,600. Well, so did most other people practicing. Now, people that start practicing law make $100,000, $110,000. But, the world’s changed some too, and a lot of other things. The cost of a house or the cost of food, or the cost of education of your children or something else, is more than it was when I started practicing law in 1940s.

Chesterfield Smith:
So, I don’t know what exactly we should do. I just know that I’m not satisfied now that good people everywhere have equal access to attract legal services. When legal services are so important in some areas, I think every citizen ought to have some right to legal services.

Martha Bergmark:
Thank you so much. This has been a pleasure.

Chesterfield Smith:
All right.


END