N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 88

Wednesday, June 25, 1947 (Morning session)

thing which I don't think exists in one case out of 25. I don't think that in one case out of 25 does a judge ascend the bench with a broad, comprehensive background of practice in both equity and law cases. Most judges very soon after their commencement of practice develop some sort of specialty, and many of them hardly ever get out of a certain court or bureau or board. It is only the rare case where you find a lawyer has a broad background.

MR. DIXON: That's where they go to find justices, from among lawyers who have specialized in special lines?

MR. CONFORD: Mr. Dixon, you know as well as I do how and where judges come from.

I was about to point out in emphasis of the necessity for this specialization that it isn't only specialized knowledge in law that is expected of a judge. It is increasingly important that a judge have a specialized knowledge of non-legal or disassociated legal problems, not directly connected with the legal work that he does.

Let me make that clear. In the field of trusts, for example - administration of trusts - you have situations where the judge is expected to oversee and advise trustees on matters involving stocks and bonds and business organization, and questions of investment and reinvestment, involving knowledge or being able to pass competently upon advice with respect to federal taxation, estate taxation and things of that sort. In the field of receivership a judge is required to have a background of corporate organization and reorganization. In the field of injunctions in labor disputes, the judge should, if he is to be a good judge, have an understanding of labor relationships, unions, labor organization.

Now, I say that the continuous handling of a particular type of work familiarizes a judge in the non-legal knowledge which he must have to do a good job as a judge, and the more you dilute the experience of an individual judge, the less satisfactory and the less efficient average performance in his daily work can be expected of him, in my opinion. And I think that that dilution is the absolutely unmistakable consequence of the complete integration which Mr. Schnitzer expounded. I don't see why, if what we are interested in is the 499 cases which the average person gets confronted with and has to experience, we should not give him the benefit, by and large, of the same specialized handling of his dispute in a trial court that we expect for ourselves when we seek advice in medicine, or law, or accounting, or engineering, or painting our house. We go to the best man, the man who has had the experience in that field and has the specialized knowledge to do a good job, and I think we should give the layman the same expert, specialized administration of his judicial problems at the level of the trial court.

MR. PETERSON: Mr. Conford, digesting, or trying to, what you

Previous Page in Book ********* Table of Contents *********** Next Page in Book