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The Great Tradition -- Jerome Frank, 66 Yale Law Journal 821 (1957)


How and when and where I first met Jerome Frank I can not now recall. The place was New Haven or New York or Washington; the time, the beginning of the thirties ; the occasion, gone beyond my recollection. But such vagaries are of no importance; for his was the kind of personality which asserts itself before his presence is noted. In speech or in print his words have a pervasive quality; his stream of ideas mingled with that of the hearer or reader and something emerged which initially neither had in mind. I can think of no one whose literate output has been more fungible. Jerome Frank was a person one seemed always to have known and one who, for me, could never disappear from the scene.

I first heard of him some time in the twenties. He was described to me by a colleague as "our sort of a practicing lawyer"-whatever these two amorphous terms may mean. He had become adept at the art of advocacy without ceasing to be the intellectual adventurer. Rumor had it that he was a superb technician and yet was master of his arsenal of techniques. He had the knack of putting a case within its setting, of finding within its framework novel issues and of operating alike upon the levels of legal law, industrial fact and public policy. When later I had an opportunity to observe and appraise his craftsmanship, the evidence proved the hearsay.

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