JAMESTOWN – The century-old official documents regarding U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson’s admission to practice law in the courts of New York State now can be seen online.
Thanks to a State Supreme Court order, the Robert H. Jackson Center here recently received images of the documents and has posted them on its website at www.roberthjackson.org.
John Q. Barrett, a law professor at St. John’s University and a Jackson Center board member, petitioned the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, sitting in Rochester, for release of the records last fall.
“The only instances I know of where New York courts have ordered such releases were in response to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library’s application for FDR’s bar admission papers, and now the Jackson Center’s application for Jackson’s,” Barrett said.
“(The documents) are interesting as historical records and, of course, as Jackson artifacts. They include many interesting nuggets, such as Jackson’s handwritten, succinct answers to various questions on the application,” he noted.
Born in 1892, Jackson graduated from high school in Frewsburg in 1909 and spent the following year as a post-graduate student at Jamestown High School, commuting by trolley and taking subjects that were not offered in Frewsburg.
He began studying to become a lawyer in the fall of 1910 and went to work as an apprentice in the offices of Jamestown attorneys Frank H. Mott and Benjamin S. Dean.
After a year with Mott and Dean, he went to Albany Law School, then a two-year school. Getting credit for his apprenticeship, he was admitted as a transfer student into the senior class, graduated near the top of his class and met Irene Gerhardt, who would become his wife in 1916.
Jackson returned to Jamestown in June 1912 to resume his apprenticeship. By the fall of 1913, he had taken and passed the New York State bar exam and finished three years of law study in a school or an office, as New York courts required then.
Jackson then submitted the necessary good-character statement and supporting affidavits from Mott and Dean to the State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division, Fourth Department. On Nov. 24, 1913, the court approved Jackson’s admission to practice law and he signed its Roll of Attorneys.
The new federal courthouse on Niagara Square is named in honor of Jackson.