Creator of the model Field Codes of civil procedure that were adopted by Montana and California. “Field Codes” also went international; they became a foundation for civil procedure in England, Ireland and India.

Nearly disbarred for his activities on behalf of financiers Gould & Fiske in their litigation with Vanderbilt over control of the Erie Railroad...

Established the first New York Code of Civil Procedure….

The Association of the Bar of the City of New York was founded in 1870 to raise standards.partly in response to Field’s manipulation of procedure and appointing friends as receivers of valuable stock….

Campaigned for an International Code

DDF was accused of cheating his client Fremont and satirized by political cartoonist Nast for his defense of Tammany Boss Tweed !

Were there two David Dudley Fields ?

DDF was born in 1805 ; he was a Clergyman’s son, a New Englander, and a graduate of Williams College all three biographical details would steer David Dudley Field toward a life dedicated to reform.

And beginning law practice in New York City would put DDF in the world of lawyers lucratively hired to represent the burgeoning corruption of both business and politics.

DDF’s Epitaph: “He devoted his life to reform the law”

DDF’s own politics are equally marked by paradox. An anti-slavery Democrat, he switched to Republican and helped nominate Lincoln but was then part of group trying to remove him from the ticket in 1864. Returning to the Democratic Party, he served in Congress and unsuccessfully argued for Tilden in the disputed election of 1876. DDF’s two U.S. Supreme Court cases, Ex Parte Milligan and Cummings v. Missouri, both argued against reconstruction and for the rights of former Confederates.

Like another early New York Law Institute member Charles O’Conor, DDF’s legal career is marked by contradiction.

Yet, the world remembers David Dudley Field primarily as a reformer in the codification of civil procedure. His own dedication — some would say obsession — to that reform led DDF to commemorate it on his own tombstone: “He devoted his life to reform the law”