Warren Christopher's 1948 President's Page

1 Stan. L. Rev. vii

Stanford Law Review

November 1948

PRESIDENT'S PAGE

The resolutions and aims which by tradition have a place in the first issue of a law review are hard for us in modesty and humility to state. Yet, a few words may focus our intentions both for our readers and ourselves.

A dual goal is set for the Review: to publish a journal of worth to lawyers and to provide an educational experience of value to students. Fortunately, these goals are complementary.

These principles shall guide us: care, precision, and impartiality are vital; the economic, political, and social forces which mold the law deserve special emphasis; investigation of developing legal problems in advance of their widespread litigation is to be encouraged; readability is a necessity.

A year of training for the editorial board in the publication of a law review has preceded this first issue; two issues of the Stanford Intramural Law Review have been published. Yet in every sense of the word, this year and each future year will be years of training; a new group of candidates from the second-year class and a new corps of student officers from the third-year class will be learning. Because the Review is new at Stanford, policy concerning every part of it is in the process of formation. Our present methods are malleable. We welcome your suggestions and observations; we are deeply concerned with improving the Review.

Our first excursion into the use of the first person was a rather self-conscious page in the second Intramural Law Review, the training publication which preceded this issue. Our anxiety apparently was unnecessary. Lawyers, to whom a case precedent is continuously important, welcomed our hesitant departure from the law-review tradition of the ubiquitous “it.” You will continue to find on this page items about our contributors and about the way the Review is written.

We might have told you no more about Mr. Herbert S. Marks than appears in the first footnote to his article, “Congress and the Atom,” on page 23. But that would hardly startle or, even less, satisfy you. Lurking behind the impersonal titles is the fabric of a man's personality and career; knowing the man makes whatever he writes more interesting and far more meaningful.

Since Mr. Marks was reticent to talk about himself, we found that the best place to learn something about him was the record of the testimony before the Atomic Energy Committee in connection with confirmation of the members of the Atomic Energy Commission. We found that he was secretary to the Secretary of State's Committee on Atomic Energy; later he was attached to the State Department's Board of Consultants on atomic affairs. It was the report of the latter board that became the basis of the United States' proposal for the internationalization of atomic energy. The character of Mr. Marks' participation in that undertaking is indicated by the letter of one of the members of the Board to Under Secretary of State Dean Acheson, asking if there wasn't some method by which “adequate public and historical recognition to Mr. Marks' very important contribution” might not be given. Mr. Acheson answered in a letter which described Marks as having a “depth of understanding, a persistence of purpose, and a complete lack of confusing ego.” “His interest,” wrote Acheson, “is in making the contribution and not in having it recognized.”

Daniel Lang, describing Mr. Marks in a New Yorker article, says that he is a “short, blackhaired and congenial man.” Whatever may be the accuracy of Mr. Lang's physical description, we are quite sure from the tone of his correspondence that Mr. Marks is very congenial. We also know that he likes to begin sentences with “and” (he does in his article, once), that he is apologetic because he doesn't have more footnotes (we think it is just as well), and that he distrusts our postal system (he sent two copies of everything, one by air mail and one by regular mail).

The author of “Appropriation of Percolating Water,” is the admired and respected retired Dean of the Stanford Law School, Professor Marion R. Kirkwood. He is a law-school prototype of our nation's “elder statesmen.” His judgment and character have brought him positions of responsibility ranging from membership on the Regional War Labor Board to counselor to the Associated Students of Stanford. Although the Stanford catalogue says that Mr. Kirkwood has been at Stanford for thirty-six years, his appearance gives small clue to his years. His lectures, which are models of analysis and information, exhibit his precise and rapid speech and his incisive questioning. The industry and vigor which bring him to his office promptly at eight each morning are always amazing. Indeed, only his magnificent shock of white hair suggests his long service to Stanford Law School.

Copyright © 1948-1949 by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University.

 
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