Stephen Johnston Field: A lion of jurisprudence
In American jurisprudence, Stephen Johnston Field was a lion; in California history he led nine lives; but if character counts, Field was more difficult to pin down than the Cheshire Cat. He had good genes. His older brother, David Dudley Field, Jr., had a peerless law practice in New York with prime clients like "Boss" Tweed, the lord of Tammany, and John C. Fremont. More importantly, he drafted a code for civil procedure that was adopted first by New York in 1848, then by other states and the federal government. Our trials today are governed by the rules formulated by David Dudley Field, Jr. Unlike David and Stephen, brother Cyrus shunned the law. He became an entrepreneur in New York and laid the first transatlantic cable, an extraordinary achievement of the time. Stephen Field followed in David's footsteps. He studied law and joined his brother's law practice. But Stephen suffered from a measure of wanderlust, first going to Paris to fulfill his youthful whims, then on to California in search of success, and possibly his soul.