Book recounts political and social influence

A new book, From Power to Service: The Story of Lawyers in Alabama, tracing the history of the legal profession in the Yellowhammer state, has been published by the Alabama State Bar. The $40 commemorative book chronicles the story of lawyers in the state’s developing history.

The book opens in Mississippi Territory days with the appointment by President Thomas Jefferson of the first territorial judge in St. Stephens, the earliest settlement in what would become Alabama, and continues to present-day Alabama, where the profession has grown to more than 16,000 members.

“For more than 200 years, the Alabama State Bar and its predecessors have shaped the development of the law, responded to the demands of a changing society and kept the public informed of its rights and responsibilities,” said ASB President Thomas J. Methvin of Montgomery (Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles P.C.).

Written by Birmingham attorney and legal historian Pat Boyd Rumore, the 336-page book recounts the rich history of the profession. It includes the individual stories of politicians and statesmen, jurists, writers, humorists, educators, war heroes and civil rights advocates who were Alabama lawyers.

The book highlights federal jurists who helped end the segregated “southern way of life” by their decisions in cases brought by Alabama’s great civil rights and civil liberties lawyers. The book also depicts the courage of women lawyers who opened the way for the expanded presence of women in the profession. It also deals with Alabama political history, which has been dominated by lawyers.

Holding political office was a natural outgrowth of a lawyer’s place in the local community and in the state. Also, the book traces the movement toward expansion and diversification of membership and improved professional standards of education, practical training and ethics, which are regulated by the Alabama State Bar as an arm of government to protect both the public and the profession.

Proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the Alabama Law Foundation and the Bench and Bar Historical Society.

Submitted by Brad Carr