Dozens of friends, colleagues and family members gathered at the Vermont Supreme Court on Tuesday, February 26 for the long-anticipated launch of Paul Gillies’ newly released book The Law of the Hills: A Judicial History of Vermont. Jim Gallagher welcomed the crowd, thanking the Vermont Historical Society for publishing the book, and the following organizations, law firms and individuals for their generous support: the Vermont Bar Association; Dinse; Gravel & Shea PC; McCormick, Fitzpatrick, Kasper & Burchard PC; Paul Frank & Collins PC; Gary and Kate Shattuck; and Tarrant, Gillies and Richardson.
The guest of honor addressed the packed courtroom with his “Rule of Three,” including “Origins” (25 years ago the newly-formed “Vermont Judicial History Society” asked Paul to compile a history of the Vermont Judiciary); “Acknowledgements” (many of his fellow lawyers); and “Lessons and Exhortations” (So many things yet to be studied!). Gillies remarked that Vermont historians from the beginning have concentrated on the political, military, economic, and governmental aspects of state history, but not the judicial history of the state. Noting that judicial history is prosaic, and perhaps less dramatic (though there are plenty of worthy stories), he reminded us that focusing on the drama misses the story of the courts. Gillies noted: “Every day the most critical issues that separate people from each other are addressed in the courthouses. The customs, traditions, and rules are manifest there. The robes, the bench, the bar, the benches, but most importantly the decisions—the canon of Vermont Reports, representing the greatest resource of legal history available.” He then urged us to preserve the stories surrounding our cases.
Those in attendance enjoyed the refreshments generously provided by the Vermont State Curator’s Office, a custom-designed cake by Teri Corsones, and the chance to “ruminate” with the author and his many supporters. The Law of the Hills is available for purchase through the Vermont History Museum. Photos from the event are posted below. Congratulations again to Attorney Gillies!