Taylor and Miskimins

Jim Taylor is a South Dakota “county-seat lawyer.”  What, you wonder, does that mean? In 1950 Robert H. Jackson, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court and former United States chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, wrote:

The county-seat lawyer…has been an American Institution...He was not always popular in his community, but he was respected. Unpopular minorities and individuals often found in him their only mediator and advocate. He was too independent to court the populace – he thought of himself as a leader and lawgiver, not as a mouthpiece. He “lived well, worked hard, and died poor.” Often his name was in a generation or two forgotten. It was from this brotherhood that America has drawn its statesmen and its judges. A free and self-governing Republic stands as a monument for the little known and unremembered as well as for the famous men of our profession.1

James A. Knecht, Justice of the Appellate Court of the 4th District of Illinois, offered the same sentiment, with a bit more color, in his discussion of lawyers in small town Illinois:

I believe the county seat lawyer who accepted almost every client who walked in the door and who agreed with a handshake or a nod of his head to a colleague's request for a continuance, who met for coffee with other lawyers but also the people of the town, and ate at the lunch counter and sipped a beer in the dark, cool of a corner saloon, who had a mastery of the language and who could draft a will or cross examine a witness, and play cards with the Sheriff but challenge him on the arrest of a client - who could argue and fight and laugh and tell stories -some even true - those lawyers were the craftsmen of a way of life which had to change, but for a time they were the knights errant of the prairie, and were men to be admired for their versatility and their willingness to do the best they could for every client no matter his social station or race…If more lawyers today, and politicians and men and women of business, understood small town America and understood the people of their time and place - and spent more time in pool halls studying the human condition - the world would be a better place.2 

Though some folks may think that community oriented, small town lawyering is a thing of the past, Jim Taylor is proof that the values celebrated by Justices Jackson and Knecht are still here. The dedication, skill, deep understanding of the community, and good humored raconteur spirit that marked an old time county-seat lawyer - a “knight errant of the prairie” - lives on at this law firm. Jim Taylor has deep ties to South Dakota going back more than a century.  He and his family have long involvement in the legal, agricultural, petroleum, health care, and financial business of South Dakota.  His dedication to South Dakota and his county-seat lawyer spirit make James D. Taylor, P.C. the right choice for your legal services.

1 36 ABAJ 487 (1950) and see www.roberthjackson.org/Man/Speechesby_SC_County-SeatLawyer/
2 www.geocities.com/findinglincolnillinois/knecht/jknecht.html

 

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James D. Taylor, P.C.
520 North Lawler, Suite 100 / Post Office Box 6
Mitchell, South Dakota 57301
Phone 605-996-3882 / Fax 605-996-3884
Email information@tmlawsd.com


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