STANLEY E. BEATTIE
Stanley E. Beattie was born in the near west side of Detroit in 1905. He was at the time of his death, in 1979, considered to be one of the most preeminent appellate lawyers in the history of the State of Michigan. The clerk of the Michigan Supreme Court once noted that no other lawyer in the history of that Court had ever appeared before it as often as Mr. Beattie.
He was known as the lawyer’s lawyer. In a sense, when you were without hope in an issue and in need of an appeal, it was Stanley E. Beattie that you looked to for relief. Among his many accomplishments was that he taught as a full-time professor at the University of Detroit School of Law and served as a Law Examiner, each for a period of twenty-five years. What that meant was that for more than two and a half decades, every lawyer who practiced law in the State of Michigan had to pass Mr. Beattie’s section on torts, property and partnerships. Born to a middle class family, at great effort his parents guided him through the University of Detroit High School, University of Detroit College and ultimately he was accepted to study law at Harvard University.
During most of his career he operated by himself with a secretary and occasionally a young lawyer who he mentored at 1076 Penobscot Building.
He was the Chief Editor of Michigan Law and Practice, which was the go to source for most Michigan lawyers in the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s, particularly, before the advent of internet research.
He was not only instrumental in the creation of the Court of Appeals as an intermediate appellate body between the Circuit Court and the Supreme Court, but he constantly conferred with the Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals during its early years, on matters of procedure and jurisdiction. Those who knew him will always remember that he spoke with an English accent, as if he had been raised in Oxford. Some would say that that was a bit pretentious, but those of us who knew him understood that he spoke with that accent because he concluded one day, probably in college, that if you were going to speak their language, you ought to sound like an Englishman.
The imprint he left on the firm during his nine short years with us was to confirm his belief that lawyers were the “guardians of the gate”. Our profession is duty bound to protect the big and the small and do so without ever stretching the bounds of ethics and integrity.
Bellanca LaBarge owes him a great debt, as do the thousands of lawyers he nurtured, worked with and became a model for during his good time on this Earth.