F.M. LaGuardia and Lawyers In the Way
posted by Lawrence Cunningham
In the past year, lawyers have poisoned three separate personal deals of mine, over matters neither I nor the other side needed to care about. The lawyers were hurting not helping their clients.
Lawyers need to know, and as a law professor I try to teach, the difference between legal matters and business issues. Lawyers must know the difference and stay out of the way of business matters.
All this prompts me to reprint below a wonderful letter from the inimitable Mayor of New York, Fiorella La Guardia. The letter, dated January 29, 1944, is addressed to the heads of various airlines, including American, Eastern, PanAm, and United.
The letter’s ultimate paragraph and final words speak volumes to my point, and the letter as a whole is vintage piece of written communication.
This is the last call on the matter of the runway layout at the new airport.
Thursday, February 3rd, 1944, at my office, City Hall, at 2:30 pm o’clock, come prepared to make any suggestions or forever hold your peace. I have heard some grousing about the present layout which I know is not justified. If you have any cockeyed ideas on tangent runways that have not yet been tried out, keep them for some other time.
I am willing to hear constructive criticism and to receive helpful suggestions. I cannot compete against white tablecloths and soft pencils. Everyone who gets two drinks under his belt is now designing runway layouts on restaurant tables.
We will have a map here, our consulting engineer will be here, and I expect to have the matter finally, completely and definitely settled.
You may bring anyone you desire from your engineering, technical and piloting staff. Lawyers cannot contribute anything. This is not a legal matter.
Very truly yours,
F.M. La Guardia
No wonder the Mayor’s name graces New York’s most efficient airport.