1 Of state bar journals still in publication, it appears that only the Illinois Bar Journal (1912) and the Massachusetts Law Review (1915) are older. See Hunter, Happy 100th, Illinois Bar Journal, 100 Ill B J 20 (2012) and The Michigan State Bar Journal, 1 Mich B J ii (1921).
2 Representative Assembly History, SBM [https://perma.cc/P9ER-3EPM]. All websites cited in this article were accessed October 25, 2021.
3 Wickser, Bar Associations, 15 Corn L R 390 (1930), available at [https://perma.cc/8Z8W-7AZQ]. Wickser makes the useful distinction between voluntary associations that at least nominally appealed to all attorneys (typical of antebellum associations, essentially now defunct), selective voluntary associations that sought out the “best of the bar” for membership (the typical early form of the associations we know today, all founded after the Civil War), and integrated bars mandating membership to practice (the form that several selective voluntary associations took in the first half of the 20th century).
4 229 names of “members of the Bar of Michigan in good standing” appear as original MSBA members. Constitutions and By-Laws of the Michigan State Bar Association and Proceedings of First Meeting (Detroit: Speaker Printing Co, 1890), pp 16-20.
5 The Michigan State Bar Journal, 1 Mich B J at ii, vi-vii, 9. 6 Consider the goals of the 1870-founded association in New York City, Webber, Origin and Uses of Bar Associations, 7 ABA J 297, 298 (1921), available at [https://perma.cc/DW6Y-MGCQ]), that of Cincinnati in 1872 (Cincinnati Bar Association Celebration of Fiftieth Anniversary (Cincinnati: Cincinnati Bar Ass’n, 1922), p 11, available at [https://perma.cc/934H-6JFV]), and the 1911 Massachusetts body (Fifth Annual Report of the Massachusetts Bar Association (Boston: Rockwell & Churchill Press, 1915), p 10). 7 The Illinois Quarterly Bulletin (1912) was “aimed to bring [Association] members ‘into closer touch with each other’ and to provide a medium to exchange information ‘for the betterment of the practice and the profession ...” Happy 100th, Illinois Bar Journal. In Massachusetts, its journal was proposed in 1914 to aid “the stability and sound development of the law” and help the bar in “explaining to people their own institutions,” Fifth Annual Report of the Massachusetts Bar Association, p. 5. And the announced “reason for being” of the State Bar Journal of California was service and necessity — “[t]here has always been necessity for contact between the lawyers of California; that necessity has never been so great as now, when the public is asking for an accounting of the lawyers’ stewardship of the administration of justice and taking account of conditions as they exist in the courts today,” Our Reason for Being, 1 Cal B J 1 (1926). 8 This is emphasized by Norman W. Spaulding in The Discourse of Law in Time of War: Politics and Professionalism During the Civil War and Reconstruction, 46 Wm & Mary L Rev 2001, 2034 (2005), available at [https://perma.cc/NK7X-ZMLX]. Spaulding focuses on Joseph Story’s antebellum charge that the lawyer is a “public sentinel” against oppression. Importantly, since colonial days the law, along with medicine and the clergy, was at least nominally considered a “learned profession,” Law & Kim, Specialization and Regulation: The Rise of Professionals and the Emergence of Occupational Licensing Regulation, 65 J Economic History 723 (2005).
9 Anti-elitist individualistic egalitarianism has a long tradition in this country given America’s two centuries as a “pioneer, rural, and agricultural” country, Bar Associations, 15 Corn L R at 392.
10 Jacksonian Democracy, History.com (June 7, 2019) [https://perma.cc/GK76-U92E].
11 Matzko, The Early Years of the American Bar Association, 1878-1928 (August 1984) (unpublished PhD dissertation, Univ of Virginia), pp 4-5.
12 Bar Associations, 15 Corn L R at 393. “[T]he Jacksonian era brought intense distrust of elitism and with it, sustained efforts to eliminate entry requirements and open lawyering to all,” Remus, Reconstructing Professionalism, 51 Geo L R 839, 839 (2017). “Several states adopted constitutional provisions similar to that of Michigan which permitted ‘every person of the age of twenty-one years, of good moral character’ to practice law,” The Early Years of the American Bar Association, p 5.
13 “[Bar associations] are wrong in principle, betray competition, delay professional freedom, degrade the Bar,” Bar Associations, 15 Corn L R at 393, quoting an 1838 edition of the Southern Literary Messenger.
14 Jacksonian Democracy. See also Maxeiner, Uniform Law and its Impact on National Laws, Limits and Possibilities: US National Report, Intermediary Congress of the Int’l Academy of Comparative Law (2009), available at [https://perma.cc/QT4L-5YSR].
15 United States Resident Population by State: 1790-1990 [https://perma.cc/KQ43-CCVN]. As this source shows, Michigan’s population rise during this time was even more meteoric.
16 Bairoch & Goertz, Factors of Urbanisation in the Nineteenth Century Developed Countries: A Descriptive and Econometric Analysis, 23 Urb Stud 285, 288 (1986) and Boustan, Bunten, & Hearey, Urbanization in the United States, 1800-2000 4 Note 1 (Nat’l Bureau of Econ Research, Working Paper No 19041, 2013), available at [https://perma.cc/Q6M3-8MLS]. By century’s end, Michigan’s urban percentage was close to the national average, Kiefer, Population Changes, Mich Geographic Alliance & Science/Mathematics Tech Ctr, Central Mich Univ, available at [https://perma.cc/LQJ4-GJPB].
17 In the Progressive Era (1870-1914) there was a renewed impetus to solve social problems, Duchan, Emergence of Professionalism in Late 19th and Early 20th Century America (2021) [https://perma.cc/TPR3-MTSK] and High Population Density Triggers Cultural Explosions, University College London (June 5, 2009), available at [https:// perma.cc/V8K9-PQZK]. See also Roiphe, A History of Professionalism: Julius Henry Cohen and the Professions as a Route to Citizenship, 40 Fordham Urb L J 33, 41 (2012), available at [https://perma.cc/WS9U-DP9B].
18 “Demand for socialization of law, in America, has come almost wholly if not entirely from the city . . . But our legal system has had to meet this demand upon the basis of rules and principles develop for rural communities or small towns,” Pound, The Administration of Justice in the Modern City, 26 Harv L R 302, 311 (1913), available at [https://perma.cc/9B7G-FSJ2].
19 Uniform Law and its Impact on National Laws, pp 1-2. 20 Friedman, A History of American Law (2nd Ed) (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1985), pp 303-314.
21 Id., p 318.
22 A History of Professionalism, pp 42-43 and Hurst, Law- yers in American Society 1750-1966, 50 Marq L R 594,595 (1967), available at [https://perma.cc/GBT8- 8FXW].
23 A History of Professionalism, p 42; A History of Amer- ican Law, pp 633-648; and Pinansky, The Emergence of Law Firms in the American Legal Profession, 9 U Ark Little Rock L R 593, 609 (1987), available at [https://perma.cc/QVT8-H4V8]. 24 “...most Americans were so deeply committed to Protes- tant Christianity that they were particularly receptive to invo- cations of natural law,” Feldman, From Premodern to Mod- ern American Jurisprudence: The Onset of Positivism, 50 Vanderbilt L R 1387, 1398 (1997), available at https:// scholarship.law.vanderbilt.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?arti- cle=2169&context=vlr [https://perma.cc/SK2T-L8QH]. See also Evans, US adults are more religious than Western Europeans, Pew Research Center (September 5, 2018) [https:// perma.cc/H9K7-VDL4].
25 From Premodern to Modern American Jurisprudence, 50 Vanderbilt L R at 1417. This professionalism movement coincided with America’s Progressive Era, Emergence of Professionalism.
26 “…knowledge became its own commodity,” Profession- alism, Encyclopedia.com [https://perma.cc/ KHF8-BYJ9].
27 From Premodern to Modern American Jurisprudence, 50 Vanderbilt L R at 1417-1424. The rise of factual law reports in the first half of the 19th century challenging the treatises and their natural law foundations for the attention of the bar has been interpreted as a turn towards positivism, Swygert & Bruce, The Historical Origins, Founding, and Early Devel- opment of Student-Edited Law Reviews, 36 Hast L J 739, 750 (1985), available at [https://perma.cc/JBW9-RX4V]. The Constitutional crisis that was the Civil War accelerated the move toward positivism. From 1850 to 1870 “[p]ositivistic legal discourse, it was hoped, would help reinforce a public conception of law as above politics and of the lawyer as a “benevolently neutral technocrat,” The Discourse of Law in Time of War, 46 Wm & Mary L Rev at 2045-2046.
28 Modern American Jurisprudence, 50 Vanderbilt L R at 1426.
29 Though earlier associations, even a few for state bars, existed, most were short-lived; our state’s own Detroit Bar Association traces its lineage back to antebellum days, Raising the Bar through Networking, Practice Development and Community Service Since 1836, Detroit Bar Ass’n [https://perma.cc/TP49-EF98]. “Modern” bar associations are distinguishable from them for the former’s substantive agendas and lasting power.
30 “This revulsion against low professional standards, and a like revulsion against national, state, and municipal political corruption were chief among the forces which gave rise to the new instrumentality which the bar was to forge. This was the selective voluntary bar association,” Bar Associations, 15 Corn L R at 396.
31 Urbanization has been found to be a significant factor in the adoption of regulations for attorneys and other profes- sionals, Specialization and Regulation.
32 These actions to raise legal education, admission, and practice standards, and thus penalize the less affluent and more marginalized of the bar, have been interpreted by some as fundamentally self-serving. See Moliterno, The American Legal Profession in Crisis: Resistance and Re- sponses to Change (New York: Oxford Univ Press, 2014), pp 18-46, and Auerbach, Unequal Justice: Lawyers and Social Change in Modern America (New York: Oxford Univ Press, 1977). However, a better interpretation is to see these leaders of the bar to be acting on their own ideas of pro- fessionalism and how the law should be, The Early Years of the American Bar Association, p 4. A distinction between intent and consequence is apt here; while some actions by bar associations may have had an inordinate effect on some categories of attorneys, it appears unlikely that such an ef- fect was the main goal. “The desire to eliminate charlatans and quacks” is natural, Specialization and Regulation, 65 J Economic History at 728. “Thriving off of the late-nineteenth century fascination with science and expertise . . . the legal elite justified its special role in society . . . as a result of the ability to refine liberal legal science and engage in the expert management of public affairs,” A History of Profes- sionalism, p 42.
33 Bar Associations, 15 Corn L R at 396.
34 For Roscoe Pound, this event ended the American bar’s “era of decadence,” which began with the demise of the Suffolk County (Boston) Bar Association in 1836, The Early Years of the American Bar Association, pp 5-6.
35 Thirteen cities and states formed bar associations in the eight years following the creation of ABCNY: Cincinnati (1872), New Hampshire (1873), Cleveland (1873), Iowa (1874), Chicago (1874), Washington, DC (1874), St. Louis (1874), New York State (1876), Boston (1876), Illinois (1877), Alabama (1878), Vermont (1878), and Wisconsin (1878), Hylton, The Bar Association Movement in Nineteenth Century Wisconsin, 81 Marq L R 1029, 1029-1030 (1998), available at [https://perma.cc/9ZXZ- 6Y7R].
36 Constitutions and By-Laws of the Michigan State Bar Association, p viii.
37 These new associations expected to use what Spaulding has termed the “discursive authority of law” — “the power to superimpose legal discussion and analysis onto social ques- tions, to shape and direct public opinion with the language of law,” The Discourse of Law in Time of War, 46 Wm & Mary L Rev at 2038.
38 The initial members of these associations were the “de- cent part” of the profession — mostly well-to-do business lawyers from old American stock, A History of American Law, pp 648-652. The MSBA’s initial officers were obvi- ously leading lights. All respected attorneys, they included, among others, a former brigadier general in the Union Army, a University of Michigan law professor, a college trustee and future state senator, someone who would go on to be a U.S. congressman and state supreme court justice, and a future ambassador.
39 The MSBA officers in 1921 included a future state su- preme court justice, a county prosecutor, and a University of Michigan law professor.
40 In the days before teleconferencing and Zoom, journals were seen to “serve the purpose of giving the associations they serve a continuing existence between annual meet- ings,” Value of State Bar Journals, 9 J of the Am Jud Soc 4 (1925). A journal is a means by which an association can produce and control the authoritative communication of its field, Hudson & Hudson, Associations and their Jour- nals: The Search for an “Official” Voice, 48 Soc Pers 271 (2005). In the early 1920s the MSBA was still grappling with the issues of the administration of justice and the wel- fare of the profession and the public, Potter, Organization of the Michigan State Bar, 3 Mich B J 42 (1923).
41 The Michigan State Bar Journal, 1 Mich B J at ii.
42 Linotype machines (1886) essentially dispensed with hand-set type, distance was eliminated as a factor of post- age (1845), prepaid postage was approved, and mag- azines were allowed a lower second-class rate (1879), Lauder, Magazine Industry, History of, Encylopedia.com [https://perma.cc/8P9N-EC5Y].
43 “Magazine readership flourished in the 1900s. More people were able to read, more people found leisure time in which to read, and more people had discretionary income to spend on magazines,” Id.
44 At the time, this model received national attention, Value of State Bar Journals.
45 The Michigan State Bar Journal, 1 Mich B J at ii.
46 Organization of the Michigan State Bar. Potter, the au- thor of the article and a former president of the MSBA (and soon-to-be justice of the state supreme court), complained in 1923 that the association was a “dismal failure” with no program for organizing the profession, strengthening the administration of justice, or controlling membership. He called out low admission standards, the partisan political control of judges, and the fact that the Supreme Court had abdicated its natural authority over the profession. He noted that membership reflected only a small percentage of the bar and that integration would end up improving the quality and status of attorneys to the betterment of society. Interest- ingly, those bar associations that have remained voluntary, and now no longer selective, often struggle to get enough membership, Koch, The case for bar associations: Why they matter, ABA Journal (February 4, 2019) [https:// perma.cc/77QL-4XRA].
47 Id., p 47.
48 The Historical Origins, Founding, 36 Hast L J at 750- 751.
49 Id. at 753. See also Davies, The Original Law Journals, 12 Green Bag 2d 187 (George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No 09-15, March 2, 2009), available at [https://perma.cc/K6MB-4A4E].
51 The Historical Origins, Founding, 36 Hast L J at 759- 760.
52 Happy 100th, Illinois Bar Journal.