P.J.M. Aalberse

Our firm was started by LLM P.J.M. Aalberse (1897) who a few years before founded the students’ corps Augustinus. In his diary he describes the first case that was taken on by our office as follows:
“26 November, 1897 I already took the oath as a barrister and solicitor, and 3 December 1897 I established myself as a barrister-solicitor at Rapenburg 55, at miss Batstra’s, blessed be her memory. And already on this very day, a farmer came with his lawsuit: an appeal against the verdict by the district judge in Alphen: his sheep had been bitten to death by his neighbour’s dogs. Lies was here to help me bring my bookcases in order. Oh, joy!”

"That farmer, G. van Dobben in Alphen aan den Rijn, meant my future fortune. When he had handed the case over to me he came back after eight days. He was somewhat scared: that such a very young lawyer might not bring the case to a good end. I put a brave face on it. "Go right ahead, I am just saying that it is a very difficult case, my future depends on it to win it; should you go to a more experienced lawyer he may find it crummy and perhaps without paying attention to the minor details, go to court and you are very likely to lose it” That made an impression on him. He considered it for another eight days. Without me knowing it, I did not hear it until some months later, he went to Professor Oppenheim, who praised me to the skies; he had to let me deal with the case etc., etc. And so it happened and thank God with success!


"15 February, 1898 sentence was pronounced: the case was won with flying colours. That was great joy. Van Dobben celebrated lavishly with 50 farmers and farmers’ wives present, ánd the minister: I had to attend. On the cakes the text read: "Down with LLM Pit" (the opposing counsel), “Long live LLM A” The schoolmaster had written a sentimental poem. Some psalms were sung, the minister preached, that we had a common ground, the belief in the divine origin of the law. It was a wonderful party and brilliant publicity. Immediately I got all the farmers from the Rhine area. Not a week passed and there were a few to see me. This way I readily built a sizeable practice. "I was extremely busy."

(From: Aalberse Diaries 1902-1946, published by J.P. de Valk and A.C.M. Kappelhof, Institute of Dutch History, The Hague, 2006)