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We recommend that the President of this Association be empowered to appoint a special committee of five members of the Association, who shall appear before the Legislature and urge the Legislature to submit the amendments proposed herein to the people.
OTTO B. RUPP, Chairman.
Mr. Rupp: Now, Mr. President, I move the adoption of the report.
Mr. Jones : Mr. President, I move that in that section relating to the qualification of candidates for judicial positions that the words “in this state' be inserted after the words and has at all times since his admission to practice.”
Mr. Rupp: I accepted that.
Mr. President: It is moved and seconded that the report, as amended with the consent of the Chairman of the Committee, be adopted? Are you ready for the question ?
Question put, and motion carried.
Mr. Sharpstein: Mr. President, I want to make a suggestion now that I think may be practical. I had the misfortune to be a member of the Legislature in 1913 and 1915, and the committee that was appointed by the Bar Association for the purpose of presenting certain amendments to the Legislature in 1913 brought their amendments down to Olympia, or sent them by mail, I have forgotten exactly which, two days after the time limit had expired for the introduction of bills and they did not have a very good chance to be considered. Some of those amendments, however, were brought to the attention of some member of the Legislature who, in 1915, embodied part of them in the statute which relates to the dismissal of appeals and along that line and they were finally adopted in 1915, but a portion of those things would have been adopted had they reached the Legislature in time in 1913. I therefore move that this Committee be requested by this Association to prepare bills in accordance with this report we have just adopted and have them ready at the opening of the Legislature,
The motion received a second, was put and carried.
Mr. President: Motion carried. That, as I understand it, will relieve the President from the appointment of a new committee. The report of the Committee of Grievances, Mr. John M. Wilson, Chairman.
Mr. Wilson: Mr. President and fellow members of the Bar Association of Washington: I have not any formal report to make. Mr. Shaffer, our Secretary, covered the ground so far as I have covered it. I was appointed on this Committee on Grievances at your last meeting, as I was informed, but I have had more or less grief of my own during the entire year and have really never had an opportunity to call the Committee together or have a conference. Now, the only thing that we have to say today is to urge the necessity of the appointment of a Committee which can act, because there are some very important matters pending before the Grievance Committee. Early in the year complaints began to come in and came to my notice, but, as I say, I was not able to take care of them on account of pressure of time. There are a number of situations throughout the state which need looking into and straightening out and need that straightening out badly. There are some situations which involve attorneys from outside the state and have grown to such a serious nature that they are becoming a stigma on the entire bar of this state. One instance I have in mind is that of a large Eastern firm of importance which has been treated very shamefully by certain members of the bar of this state. Now, it has been impossible for me to do the work. I regret it very much. I regret that I was unable to even confer with other members of the Committee with a view of having them act as a subcommittee, if they might, and investigate. It is difficult, as I understand the arrangement and working of this Committee, to work out any very good results. There is no money appropriated; there is no way of getting at these matters or making investigations without the Committee bearing the expense personally. Now, there are several remedies which we have in mind which might be practical. I do not know whether they would be or not. One would be the appointment of a sub-committee, not a local committee, because these situations cannot be remedied, in my judgment, by local action. Some of them are such as involve quite a large number of the personnel of the local bar and they ought to be investigated and handled by an outside committee, and it might be possible for the Grievance Committee of this Bar Association to
appoint one or two members of that Committee to go and make an investigation and make such report to the Bar Association as is deemed necessary. The other means might be that which, I understand, is already provided, if we had the means of carrying it out, and that would be action by a special prosecutor who would make an investigation and who would take charge of the prosecution of those various instances of the violation of the ethics of our profession. There is no question in my mind but what it is the most important branch of the work of this Association. The earlier this Association can get behind this work the better it will be for the standing of our profession. I plead guilty to gross negligence, if it can be called negligence when a man's time is very much occupied, as mine has been during the past year, but I would like to see a committee appointed who would do the work and who would have time for the matters which are so pressing. I thank you, gentlemen, for your consideration.
Mr. Jones: Having served a number of years on the Grievance Committee of the Seattle Bar Association, we have found exactly the difficulties enumerated. At first, the work was hampered to a large extent over there from the lack of funds to investigate and prosecute some of the complaints that came to our attention. We finally came to this conclusion, that the committee needed to be quite large, enough members so there would always be a goodly number present at each meeting; second, as the Chairman just stated, that there should be sub-committees who were willing to work in certain localities and make certain investigations; third, that there should be a secretary of that committee and who should be paid his expenses only in actual investigation of every charge that was made; fourth, that there should be a prosecutor who should be paid only for such services as he actually rendered, if he rendered any. Now, that has cost our committee, over in King County, quite a little money, but our local Association has always stood ready to raise the funds. It seems to me time, now, when our State Bar Association should give to itself the reputation of having a strong Grievance Committee, with appointed sub-committees and a secretary who can go from place to place and his expenses be paid, and a prosecutor who will be paid when he actually performs services. I think I speak conservatively when I say that our Grievance Com
mittee has done more than any other agency to make the Seattle Bar Association respected and honored, because it has acted honestly, fairly and has actually investigated. That is a thing that appeals to me and I wish it could be carried out.
Mr. President: Is not the power to appoint sub-committees inherent in the Committee?
Mr. Jones: I think it is.
Mr. Secretary: Mr. President, I do not think, under our constitution, it is. I am going to move that our Chairman now appoint a special committee of three, to report some time tomorrow, to outline a method of handling this matter a little more effectively than it has been handled.
The motion received a second.
Mr. President: The chair is ready to announce the personnel of this special committee: John M. Wilson, Richard Saxe Jones and John T. Condon. Now, gentlemen, the chair entertains the hope that you will prove yourselves worthy of such a high position.
Mr. President: It affords me great pleasure, gentlemen, to say that Hon. Scott Z. Henderson will now speak to you as Chairman of the Committee on Probate Code.
Mr. Secretary: I have here for distribution copies of the probate code, published and furnished us through the kindness of Bancroft & Whitney. I have also some copies of the proposed code which you can have.
Mr. Henderson: Mr. President, Gentlemen of the Association: At the 1913 session of the Legislature there was a probate code proposed which was not enacted. That code was presented to this Association for consideration two years ago, and every member of this Association received a copy of it. There was a criticism of that code offered at that Association meeting two years ago. At that time this Association went on record as pledging itself to the 1915 Legislature that, if they would not enact a probate code, at the 1917 session of the Legislature this Association would present a probate code with the approval of this Association. That pledge was communicated to the 1915 session. There was a Committee appointed to draft and submit a probate code to this Association. Circular letters were sent out to every member of this Association, asking for suggestions as to a probate code. I think the Committee received perhaps fif
teen suggestions from attorneys on this same probate code. That Committee had a three-day session, at their own expense, and, in drafting the probate code, it discussed the suggestions and objections and, so far as they thought it could be done, carefully eliminated the many objectionable provisions from the code. It conforms, to a large extent, to the probate code that was presented two years ago, with certain additions and amendments. The probate code of two years ago was primarily the work of Mr. J. B. Bridges, of Aberdeen, and we used that as a foundation for the code we now propose.
Mr. Bridges, I think, would be better able to answer your inquiries than I would on the particular amendments and particular eliminations that have been made in the probate code as now presented. I think it is peculiarly fitting, in view of the program that has preceded, that we should at this time consider the probate code, and I am going to file it with the Secretary without reading it, because it embraces seventy-two printed pages. We endorse it, and are willing to present it to the Legislature with our endorsement, whether the Association endorses it or not, because we have put two years' work on it. We present it to the Association.
Mr. Condon: I was industriously engaged in distributing this proposed probate code, and I am informed by someone in front that this is not the code that is offered them. Is that true?
Mr. Henderson: Not in its entirety. The one you were distributing was the one proposed two years ago. There have been some words changed and some clauses inserted and some omitted and, furthermore, there has been a provision for adjudication of heirs in non-intervention wills and all other wills in all other estates, and the court has been given wider jurisdiction to carry into effect everything that is included within the jurisdiction of the court.
Mr. Condon: What have you provided as to claims against the estate in non-intervention wills?
Mr. Henderson: The provision is that there shall be notice to creditors the same as in other estates, and claims in all cases shall be filed with the clerk of the Superior Court rather than with the administrator or his attorney, shall be acted upon by the administrator and to be filed in four months.
Mr. Rummens: I note there is a provision in this probate