A certain rich man in Springfield, Illinois, sued a poor attorney for $2.50, and Lincoln was asked to prosecute the case. Lincoln urged the creditor to let the matter drop, adding, “You can make nothing out of him, and it will cost you a good deal more than the debt to bring suit.” The creditor was still determined to have his way, and threatened to seek some other attorney. Lincoln then said, “Well, if you are determined that suit should be brought, I will bring it; but my charge will be $10.”
The money was paid him, and peremptory orders were given that the suit be brought that day. After the client’s departure Lincoln went out of the office, returning in about an hour with an amused look on his face.
Asked what pleased him, he replied, “I brought suit against ——, and then hunted him up, told him what I had done, handed him half of the $10, and we went over to the squire’s office. He confessed judgment and paid the bill.”
Lincoln added that he didn’t see any other way to make things satisfactory for his client as well as the other.
This story is from Alexander K. McClure’s collection of Abraham Lincoln Stories entitled: Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories. It has long ago passed into the public domain.
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