Matzko, John Austin. Best Men of the Bar: The Early Years of the American Bar Association, 1878-1928. xxxvi, 333 pp. Clark, New Jersey: Talbot Publishing (an imprint of The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd.), July 2019. Introduction by Kellen R. Funk, Columbia Law School. ISBN-13: 9781616195878. ISBN-10: 1616195878. Hardcover. New. $85. * Within a narrative history of the early American Bar Association, Matzko illustrates how the organization endeavored to create a traditional professional gatekeeping organization by gaining control of legal education, entrance examinations, and ethical codes. The early ABA supported reformist values of political and social change if such change could be overseen by courts. It was not until the second decade of the twentieth century that it began its transformation into a more conservative group. "Matzko's perceptive and judicious - and sometimes delightfully sardonic - history of the American Bar Association's first 50 years rescues the ABA from its reputation as a cabal of reactionary corporate lawyers, and reveals it as a club of gentlemanly but moderately progressive law reformers. This book is a really important and informative contribution to the history of the legal profession and of professions generally." -- Robert W. Gordon, Stanford Law School. "In this penetrating and gracefully-written account of the formative first-half century of the American Bar Association, Matzko actually makes institutional history absorbing - an excellent account of the personalities and ideas that formed the legal profession on a national level, the transition from a "Gentleman's Club" to a professional association and, in due course, an entity which established widely-shared minimum standards for the quality of legal education and admission to the State bars. Likely to be the definitive account for some time to come." -- William E. Butler, Dickinson Law, Pennsylvania State University. JOHN AUSTIN MATZKO received his PhD from the University of Virginia. He taught history for more than forty years at Bob Jones University. His Reconstructing Fort Union was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2001.
Book number 68766