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WHEN a teacher of railroad engineering writes a book on law, some justification ought to be expected from him. The author was admitted to the Bar of New Mexico, and practised law there, serving as local attorney for the A. T. & S. F. R. R. and as City Attorney of Socorro. He was later admitted to practice in Massachusetts. He also spent several years as a civil engineer in water works, sewerage, and railroad construction.
The purpose of this book is not to make “every man his own lawyer,” but rather to give the engineer a sufficient understanding of important fundamental features of law, so that he may have some idea of when or how to act himself and when to seek expert advice, as well as to enlarge his horizon and perhaps encourage him to further study of law. Many engineers will find that there is some chapter which covers ground concerning which they are better informed than the author or than most practising lawyers. They will, nevertheless, probably find other chapters with which they are less familiar, and which may prove interesting.
This book can treat any of the subjects of Part I only briefly, and it is hoped that it may be judged by the good it contains rather than criticized for omissions. The entire ground of law cannot be covered in the space available. The preparation has extended over several years, partly in trying to avoid the plight of the business man who once apologized for a long letter; he had not time to write a short one.
Some variation in the style will be noted in passing from Part I to Part II. In the latter, the words Contractor, Engineer, Owner, Company, City, and Board are capitalized, as these parties seem to be more clearly distinguished by this means. The important documents which constitute the subjects treated in Part II, as Advertisement, Proposal, Contract, Bond, Specifications, and Information for Bidders, are also capitalized for a similar reason.
The system of paging is unusual, and was adopted to give flexibility in revision. The nature of the book is such that later revision will certainly be desirable and even necessary. New legislation touching corporations and workmen's compensation acts may be considered certain. The adoption by a large number of States of the Uniform Sales Act, or some substitute for it, would eventually make the re-writing of the chapter on sales
well-nigh imperative. The art or the practice of writing the forms contained in Part II is likely to show changes and advances, and new material will doubtless come into the author's hands, partly as the result of this book. Such changes as seem necessary will probably be made first by additions to chapters rather than by any general revision.
The author desires to express his thanks to many who have furnished him with advice or with forms of contracts and items of information otherwise. He is especially indebted to Mr. Homer Albers, Dean of the Law School of Boston University, who read many of the chapters of Part I, and to Mr. Roscoe E. Learned, of the Boston Bar, who read other portions of the book; also to Mr. Frederick H. Fay, of the consulting engineering firm of Fay, Spofford, and Thorndike; to Mr. James W. Rollins, a civil engineer and contractor, and president of the Holbrook, Cabot, and Rollins Corporation; and to Mr. Charles R. Gow, a civil engineer, and president of the Charles R. Gow Company, contractors, all three of whom have read most of Part II and offered valuable suggestions; also to Professor Charles B. Breed and Professor Carroll W. Doten, both of the Faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the former of whom has made useful suggestions covering several of the earlier chapters, while the latter has read substantially all the text. None of the readers, however, has read the text in its final form.
Grateful acknowledgment is made to the American Railway Engineering Association for permission to use contract forms copyrighted by them; also to the American Institute of Architects, for similar permission to use their copyrighted forms.
C. FRANK ALLEN.