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Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015

The two greatest lawyers in history

Posted Friday, January 13, 2012, at 9:26 PM

People sometimes say there are two types of lawyers, the community pillars and those of whom their colleagues gibe, "Don't get between him and a dollar." Having covered courts and trials for 43 years, I see them in terms of their ability to represent their clients. I've seen attorneys considered somewhat tawdry wangle amazing judgments and ostensibly more respectable ones sent away with their hats in their hands. The derision may be ill-founded because a locally well-established lawyer can get excellent results for what amounts to a bargain rate.

We know about Clarence Darrow, Percy Foreman, Johnnie Cochran et al, who were great lawyers. But the top two are, in my opinion, Abraham Lincoln and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. I don't agree with everything Lincoln did, but both men qualify as a Mahatma, or "great soul." Each one represented a major nation during a pivotal crisis and persevered to a favorable conclusion. Gandhi perfected political non-violence and led India to independence from Great Britain. Making his arguments with great eloquence to the courts of public opinion and history, Lincoln, like Gandhi, was steady to the point of martyrdom.

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James R. Campbell
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