WHEN I left Harvard, I took up the study of law. If I had been sufficiently fortunate to come under Professor Thayer, of the Harvard Law School, it may well be that I would have realized that the lawyer can do a great work for justice and against legalism.
But, doubtless chiefly through my own fault, some of the teaching of the law books and of the classroom seemed to me to be against justice. The caveat emptor side of the law, like the caveat emptor side of business, seemed to me repellent; it did not make for social fair dealing. The "let the buyer beware" maxim, when translated into actual practice, whether in law or business, tends to translate itself further into the seller making his profit at the expense of the buyer, instead of by a bargain which shall be to the profit of both. It did not seem to me that the law was framed to discourage as it should sharp practice, and all other kinds of bargains except those which are fair and of benefit to both sides. I was young; there was much in the judgment which I then formed on this matter which I should now revise; but, then as now, many of the big corporation lawyers, to whom the ordinary members of the bar then as now looked up, held certain standards which were difficult to recognize as compatible with the idealism I suppose every high-minded young man is apt to feel. If I had been obliged to earn every cent I spent, I should have gone wholeheartedly into the business of making both ends meet, and should have taken up the law or any other respectable occupation -- for I then held, and now hold, the belief that a man's first duty is to pull his own weight and to take care