From Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America in 1835 to the present day, American and foreign observers of American society have remarked that both law as an institution and the law as a profession have extraordinary importance and influence in our country. A celebrated expression of this American reverence for law and lawyers was uttered by Oliver Wendell Holmes a century ago: "The law is the witness and external deposit of our moral life. Its history is the history of the moral development of the race. The practice of it, in spite of popular jests, tends to make good citizens and good men. Holmes' great contemporary Benjamin Cardozo added: "Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions. [A lawyer is] received into that ancient fellowship for something more than private gain. He [is] an officer of the court, and, like the court itself, an instrument or agency to advance the ends of Justice. And a Dean of the Yale Law School has defined the nineteenth century "lawyer-statesman" as someone who was ''not just an accomplished technician but an estimable type of human being-a person of practical wisdom."
Donald H. Rivkin, Presented by the American Bar Association Section for International Law and Practice, 18 Penn St. Int'l L. Rev. 55 (1999).