To celebrate its 75th anniversary, throughout 2003 the Wisconsin Lawyer will include "From the Archives," a monthly column devoted to lively snippets from past issues. Material is quoted directly and attributed when the contributor is known. More in-depth coverage of the magazine's publishing history will appear in September, as part of the State Bar's 125th anniversary celebration this year.
Newfangled tests detect lies
Feb. 1937, at 3: At three regional meetings arranged in cooperation between the State Bar and local bar associations, "Dr. Joseph H. Mathews, professor of chemistry at the U.W., spoke on 'The Use of Tests for Deception in Criminal Identification,' including tests of the so-called 'lie detector.' He explained the four methods of criminal identification that have been evolved in the reverse order of their importance: 1) hypnotism; 2) the related word tests; 3) the use of so-called 'truth serums,' scopolamine and sodium amytol; and 4) the 'lie detector.' He explained the development of all of these tests and how they work, and closed each address by giving actual demonstrations of the 'lie detector,' using volunteers from the audience as subjects. ... He stated that [the lie detector] is not an infallible test but that the instrument usually shows when the subject is prevaricating."
Ambition versus preparation!
Feb. 1937, at 28: "Following is a verbatim copy of a letter recently received by the Board of Bar Commissioners: 'Secretary of barr examiners. Dear Ser. I am writing to you to see if you will send me full information regarding rules govering admishsion to the Bar. I am going to take a corse of Law from, The La-Sell Extension University. Hooping to receve the information soon with all nesisary papers. I remain yours truly (Signed) ___.'"
Legal phraseology criticized
Feb. 1936, at 39: "Justice Chester A. Fowler declared he fell into his 'worldwide' fame because of his recent 'and-or' decision, which criticizes the use of 'and-or' in legal phraseology. One complimentary letter about the decision included this jingle: 'A peculiar word is the and-or, whose use implies lack of candor. Whenever it's used, it tends to confuse, so I say to hell with the and-or.'"
County judges are overworked and underpaid
Feb. 1937, at 55: At the Board of County Judges annual meeting Dec. 29-30 in Milwaukee, the subject of county judges' workload and pay was much discussed. The prevailing sentiment, as stated by Judge George Kroncke, Madison, in his opening address, was that "'a large amount of work undertaken by way of caring for the sick, poor, lame, halt and blind is not judicial work and should be administered in some other way where the county judge is overcrowded.' ... Richland County Judge P.L. Lincoln ... offered a resolution asking that their burden be lightened, but the judges were unable to agree on the wording of the resolution. He then proposed that the Governor be notified that the county judges want no more to administer social security, underage driving licenses, or other nonjudicial functions."
Wanted: Two Good Lawyers
Feb. 1937, at 46: "An unusual and unique advertisement was recently composed and distributed by members of the Women's Christian Temperance Union of Adams County, as follows: 'Wanted - two good lawyers to take up residence in Adams County and be eligible to run for state's attorney and county judge.' There are now only two attorneys in the county, and the ladies stated that they were anxious to see some competition for legal offices, in an effort to get more law enforcement and provide more interest in the welfare of delinquent youth and enforcement of law."
Women's State Bar Association is formed
Aug. 1939, at 110: On June 27 the women lawyers of Wisconsin met at the Blue Mound Country Club to organize a women's bar association. "About 45 women lawyers attended, this being probably the largest gathering of this kind in the history of Wisconsin. The so-called 'Portia clubs' were abandoned and there was created in their stead the Women's State Bar Association of Wisconsin. Much enthusiasm was manifested, the members pledging themselves to share actively the responsibilities of the legal profession in serving the public. A number of legal problems were discussed; also political appointments, and the proposed act in the 1939 legislature to bar married women from employment. Mildred DeVries of Madison was elected president to succeed Dorothy Walker, who had been, for the past year, president of the Portia clubs of Wisconsin. Lillian Kolmetz of Milwaukee was elected vice president and Miss Vartak Gulbankian of Racine, secretary-treasurer."
A word of advice for new lawyers
Aug. 1939, at 144: Among his comments before admitting to the bar 46 graduates of the Marquette University Law School in June, Chief Justice Rosenberry said, "If I were to leave you a word of advice, it would be that you should always have upon your desk some subject for study and research, having nothing to do with your everyday practice. It will keep alive your interests as students of the law and you will not become merely searchers for cases to assist you in courtroom argument."
Dairy industry needs "herding," price parity
Aug. 1939, at 128: "W.H. Bundy, Menomonie, president of the Dairyland Parity League, has been speaking before Kiwanis and other club meetings, urging the necessity of organizing the dairy industry and securing parity of prices for dairy products. Bundy is leading the fight for parity of prices in the dairy industry."
"Law Institute" set for Madison
Aug. 1939, at 113: The Dane County Bar Association arranged a series of 10 lectures by Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice John D. Wickhem on the subject of evidence, beginning Oct. 12 in Madison. The lectures were open to all practicing lawyers; a registration fee of $1 was charged to cover expense of mimeographing and other necessary expenses. Nationwide, the idea of holding regional institutes or clinics for practicing lawyers had grown rapidly and become popular during the past few years, because "Every lawyer must realize that when he graduates from law school and has received his diploma and certificate of admission to practice, his legal education has only begun and that constant study in this, as in every other profession, is absolutely necessary if one would keep up-to-date and advanced in his knowledge of the law."
Keep citizens calm and free from hatred
Nov. 1939, at 172: In calling to order the first session of the Institute on Administrative Law, sponsored by the State Bar Association at Lawsonia in September, "President Rogers, referring to the state of war in Europe, asked the help of those  present in keeping the citizens of this state and nation calm and free from hatred, and requested them as members of the bar to 'assert and use your influence to its fullest extent to guide and control the opinion of the public and those in office, so that we may be spared the horrors of war'."
Europeans prepare for war
Aug. 1939, at 128: "Louis A. Brunckhorst, Platteville, returned early in July from a trip to Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and England. On the way to Finland he passed through France, Belgium, and Germany. He said that no one of the many people with whom he talked in every country, at that time, predicted war in the immediate future, yet all nations were feverishly preparing for war."