In the Fall issue of Arkansas Lawyer, published by the Arkansas Bar Association, Attorney William A. Waddell, Jr. writes about Scipio Africanus Jones (Lawyer Jones).
The following is an excerpt from the article:
Lawyers have a unique appreciation for other lawyers. That appreciation transcends the number of “wins.” It is borne of understanding the lawyer’s professional life: evaluation of facts and their application to law; belief in and commitment to preserving the rule of law; the art of persuasion; conflict management; perseverance and determination; thick skin; understanding; credibility; integrity; and dedication to ultimate justice.
Lawyers may admire other lawyers for how they handle single cases but also for the legacy left by the highs and lows of an entire professional life. Oftentimes, what seemed like a “loss” in a case was one step in the development of a new doctrine that the law was not yet ready to acknowledge. Yet we appreciate the lawyer who helped us all to turn our minds toward a new understanding of justice or a new way of thinking. And we appreciate even more the legacy of a lawyer who labored successfully in the trenches of daily law practice for many years. What may have seemed mundane in isolation often was of great magnitude not only on the body of law affected by that lawyer’s work but on other lawyers as well.
Within this context of lawyer appreciation, Scipio Africanus Jones deserves our admiration. Although Lawyer Jones is known mostly for his role in the criminal cases arising from the Elaine Massacre of 1919 in Phillips County, Arkansas, it is his body of work that merits a lawyer’s praise. His professional life is illustrated by a wide spectrum of reported cases. These cases are not only impressive for lawyers today. They help us to appreciate the significance of the Elaine Massacre Centennial and the vital role of Jones in saving lives. Much is being written about that anniversary, and this article does not attempt to provide the details of other scholarly works. It merely highlights and appreciates the life of a lawyer whose traits we can emulate.
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