1756 N.Y. Lawyers Signed Document Forming a Cartel to Set Prices for Legal Work


Publication Date: 1756
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Manuscript Document Signed. New York, N.Y., November 26, 1756. Countersigned by 14 additional New York attorneys, 1+ p. (some signatures are on the verso). 12 x 7 1/4 inches. "Articles of Agreement to establish a Quarterly meeting of the Attornies [sic] in the City of New York and for setting the Sum to be received by them for all business in the profession."In this 1756 document, 15 New York lawyers agree to meet regularly and appoint "a Committee for drawing a plan" for uniform fees and regulations. This was certainly a precursor to formal bar associations, which were not established until the late nineteenth century. James Duane, is named the first clerk of what is, in effect, a cartel of New York lawyers. It is signed by James Duane (mayor of New York, 1784 - 1789), William Livingston (signer of United States Constitution), William Smith, Jr. (author of the 1756 History of the Province of New-York), John V. Cortlandt, Richard Morris, Benjamin Kissam, Whitehead Hicks (mayor of New York, 1766 - 1776), and eight others. The ability of lawyers to set fixed fees remained in force for over two centuries until declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1975's Goldfarb v. Virginia State Bar. Transcript"Articles of Agreement to establish a Quarterly meeting of the Attornies [sic] in the City of New York and for setting the Sum to be received by them for all business in the profession as well such as by the Course of the practice is taxable as such as is not for such other purposes as are herein aforementioned. 1. It is agreed that the said quarterly meetings be held in the evening of the several following days in the year to wit on the last Wednesdays in November February & June & the first Wednesday in October at such place, as shall be appointed by Mr James Duane, who is to officiate as clerk for one year.2. That Messers Alsop Nicole Livingston Smith Junr be Hicks & Scott _______ _____ ______ be a Committee for drawing the plan of regulation of the several Rates of business in the profession both such as is taxable & such as is not & that a Copy of the same be delivered by them to some one of the Subscribers who is not part of the Committee to be handed round to the rest of the Subscribers of which each person is to take a Copy and consider the same by the next quarterly meeting. As Witness our hands the 26th Day of November 1756Richd: Morris / Jno. Alsop / John V. Cortlandt / B. Nicole / Jas. Emett[?] / Wm Smith Junr. Wm Livingston John McEvers / Whitehead Hicks / Jno Morris Scott / Ja:s Duane / Lamb: McCool [?]John Burnet / Thomas Jones / Benj: Kissam"James Duane (1733-1797) was a delegate to the Continental Congress from New York, a state senator, the 44th mayor of New York City (its first after the United States won independence), and a U.S. district judge. He signed both the Continental Association and the Articles of Confederation.William Livingstone (1723-1790) was the scion of the Albany, N.Y., Livingstone family. He served a term in the New York State Assembly, was a delegate to the Continental Congress from New Jersey and later that state's governor, and signed the U.S. Constitution.John Van Cortlandt (1721-1786) was born into a prominent New York family. During the years leading up to the Revolution and during the War itself, John Van Cortlandt was active in the political efforts of the patriot cause. He was a member of the Provisional War Committee, elected Deputy to the Provincial Congress, and served in the second, third and fourth Provincial Congresses. John operated a sugar house and a snuff mill, among other ventures. Bookseller Inventory #

Bibliographic Details

Title: 1756 N.Y. Lawyers Signed Document Forming a ...
Publication Date: 1756
Binding: No binding
Book Condition: Very Good

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