Tuesday, September 04, 2012

"A bountiful harvest for the lawyers"

Over the weekend I was researching some Lowell history by making use of the online version of the 1868 "History of Lowell" by Charles Cowley.  An interesting and talented individual, Cowley was a newspaper editor, a lawyer and naval officer and a historian.  In the midst of this online exploration, I also found a short book about Cowley by one of his contemporaries.  The opening paragraph of the third chapter, "Early Years at the Bar" caught my attention and is repeated below:

Twenty years ago, the collection of debts, the examination of titles, and the preparation of conveyances, formed large parts - often the whole - of the business of a Lowell lawyer; and of these Mr. Cowley had a liberal share.  In later years, since men have learned to avail themselves of the bankruptcy and insolvency acts, much of the collecting has gone to the collection agencies, few creditors caring now to sue their debtors.  In like manner, the business of conveyancing has passed to the real estate agencies, and with it the examination of titles.  The slip-shod manner in which deeds are now drawn, and titles conveyed, will ensure a bountiful harvest for the lawyers of the future.  Some of Mr. Cowley's best cases have grown out of the entanglements of land titles by bunglers, blunderers and land sharks.

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