1892, future U.S. President William McKinley was re-elected as Ohio governor
during a problematic time in the history of the state. The federal government
was buying silver from western states and cutting the amount of gold in the U.S.
Treasury. Banks failed, businesses closed and the unemployed had nothing to
spend to improve the economy.
That same year, McKinley, an Ohio State Bar Association member since its
inception, delivered an inspiring opening address at the OSBA's annual meeting,
and his words still ring true today.
“The [legal] profession,” he said, “is essential to civilization.
It touches every relation in life… . The lawyer holds the secrets of his
clients… . There is no profession where honor and integrity are at a higher
premium than in the profession of the law.”
Four years later, McKinley had a very good reason for not
attending the OSBA's annual meeting. The newly-elected U.S. president was too
busy to spend much time practicing law in Ohio, and his status changed from
regular to ex officio membership.
For more on the history of the OSBA, check out Buckeye Barristers: A
History of the Ohio State Bar Association.