Some other comments on Lincoln. This week, a Civ Pro profs listserve distributed the text of notes apparently prepared by Lincoln for a lecture at the Ohio State & Union Law School in Cleveland in 1856. Many of Lincoln’s observations are as timely today as they were over 150 years ago. Below, I add headings; also, the order of the paragraphs is rearranged and some paragraphs are combined into single paragraphs to correspond to their relevant heading.
Lincoln on Humility and Success
I am not an accomplished lawyer. I find quite as much material for a lecture in those points wherein I have failed, as in those wherein I have been moderately successful.
Lincoln on Lawyers and their Image of Dishonesty
There is a vague popular belief that lawyers are necessarily dishonest. I say vague, because when we consider to what extent confidence and honors are reposed in and conferred upon lawyers by the people, it appears improbable that their impression of dishonesty is very distinct and vivid. Yet the impression is common, almost universal. Let no young man choosing the law for a calling for a moment yield to the popular belief — resolve to be honest at all events; and if in your own judgment you cannot be an honest lawyer, resolve to be honest without being a lawyer. Choose some other occupation, rather than one in the choosing of which you do, in advance, consent to be a knave.