Friday, December 11, 1936

“Old Bill” Suggests—

Last evening we spent an hour in argument with a member of the Chicago bar who has retained, through the hurly-burly of practice, the same high idealism with which he left Harvard law school. He was representing an investment firm, whose customers, having bought stock in the “X” corporation, were being mulcted by the corporation in  a peculiar deal.

On hearing the matter from the investment firm, we had called on the corporation official described as a big bad wolf, and finding him a tired and very conscientious man, transparently honest, just dropped the whole story. It didn’t make sense.

The attorney painstakingly built up his blocks of logic, time after time, and each time reached a conclusion that we couldn’t square with the bent, white-haired figure in the company offices. Finally, smoking a cigarette between rounds, casual comment brought a new angle.

The real greed for money was on the part of a copule of big stockholders, who kept in the background and were forcing the nominal head of the business to do a disagreeable duty. When we meet them, as should happen shortly, they probably will look the part. With that change, the picture began to take form.

The legal mind usually moves along lines of proof, which is only natural. The reporter, superficially a cynic, is forced by the pressure of his work to be somewhat psychic. He sees life as a sonnet, and if the last line doesn’t rhyme something is false. The method is rapid—but sometimes uncovers matters that would remain hidden from a more prosaically marching investigation.


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