Achievement: The Confident Years (1900-1906)
The new Assistant Attorney General quickly plunged into crucial litigation involving the government's regulatory powers. This legal activity reflected an attitude apparent in the late McKinley and early Roosevelt administrations: that big business was here to stay and that big government was an inescapable corollary. Corporation spokesmen accepted this conclusion to a degree which is surprising only until it is realized that monopoly's chief opposition had come from the states, and that there was good reason for big business to think that a safely Republican administration would be a helpful partner in the inevitable, benevolent consolidation of the economy.
So although Beck became a major spokesman of federal power and authority in his arguments in the Lotteries and Northern Securities cases, his reputation in the corporate world did not suffer. In 1903 he entered the powerful New York corporation law firm of Shearman and Sterling and found that he could well serve his clients by continuing to appeal to the authority of the national government. When unions caused trouble with their boycotts of intransigent employers' products, the federal courts effectively stopped the annoyance--Beck serving among counsel for the stricken firms. When New York State's 1905 investigation of insurance malpractices caused the companies great concern, Beck, as attorney for Mutual Life, joined with others in successfully seeking Theodore Roosevelt's