To Judge Samuel F. Leib has come the attainment of a distinguished position in connection with the practice of law in California, and the zeal with which he has devoted his energies to his profession and careful regard evinced for the interests of his clients and an assiduous and unrelaxing attention to all the details of his cases have brought to him a large business and made him very successful in the conduct of the arduous and difficult profession of the law. He is serving as judge of the superior court, to which position he attained by appointment in March, 1903.
Judge Leib is a native of Ohio, his birth having occurred on the 18th of January, 1848, in Fairfield county. His parents, Joseph and Clarissa (Allen) Leib, were farming people. The father was a native of York county, Pennsylvania, and with his parents removed to Ohio in 1806, the family being pioneer settlers and mill-owners of Fairfield county. After arriving at years of maturity Joseph Leib was married in that state to Miss Clariss Allen, who was born in Ohio and was a member of an old pioneer family that was established in the state during the epoch when it was a frontier district. To Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Leib were born nine children (four sons and five daughters), of whom the Judge is the youngest. The mother died when he was a youth of sixteen years, and the father, long surviving, passed away in 1880.
Judge Leib spent the days of his boyhood and youth upon his father's farm and the work of the fields and meadows became familiar to him as he assisted in the farm labor through the months of summer. The winter seasons were spent in attendance at the public schools, and when he had mastered the branches of learning therein taught he enjoyed the further advantage of an academic course, and subsequently a collegiate training in the university of Michigan, where he was graduated in 1869 at the age of twenty-one years. He had completed the law course and upon his graduation the degree of Bachelor of Laws was conferred upon him. He was a youth of about sixteen years when in response to his country's call he enlisted for service in the federal army and was enrolled among the boys in blue of Company E, One Hundred and Fifty-ninth Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He served until the close of hostilities.
When the war was over he returned home and resumed his education. Believing that the west with its growing opportunities and rapid development would furnish a better field of labor than the older east where competition was greater, Judge Leib decided to cast in his lot with the settlers of California, and in 1869 established his home in San Jose, where he has since remained. Opening a law office he has continuously engaged in practice up to the present time, and many important cases have been intrusted to his care, one of the most notable of these being that which involved the irrigation bonds of the state. His arguments have elicited warm commendation not only from his associates at the bar but also from the bench. His preparations always show wide research, careful thought and the best and strongest reasons which can be urged for his contention, presented in cogent and logical form and illustrated by a style unusually lucid and clear. It was the reputation which he had made as an advocate and counsellor that caused his appointment to the bench of the superior court in March, 1903, to fill out the unexpired term of Judge Lorigan. Judge Leib's term on the bench is distinguished by the highest legal ability. To wear the ermine worthily it is not enought that one possess legal acumen, is learned in the principles of jurisprudence, familiar with precedents and thoroughly honest. Many men, even when acting uprightly, are wholly unable to divest themselves of prejudice and are unconsciously warped in their judgments by their own mental characteristics or educational peculiarities. This unconscious and variable disturbing force enters more or less into the judgments of all men, but in the ideal jurist this factor becomes so small as not to be discernible in results and loses its potency as a disturbing force. Judge Leib is exceptionally free from all judicial bias. His varied legal learning and wide experience in the courts, the patient care with which he ascertains all the facts bearing upon every case which comes before him, give his decisions a solidity and an exhaustiveness from which no member of the bar can take exception.
In 1874 Judge Leib was united in marriage to Miss Lida C. Grissim, a native of Kentucky and a daughter of John D. and Hannah (Moore) Grissim, both representatives of old southern families. The Judge and his wife have five children; Lida C.; Edna W., now the wife of W. H. Wright; Franklin A.; Roy C.; and Earl W. The Judge and his family are well known socially in San Jose and the hospitality of their home is enjoyed by many friends. He belongs to John A. Dix Post No. 42, G. A. R., and he gives his political support to the Republican party. Deeply interested in public progress and improvement and in the social and economic questions which bear upon the welfare of the country, he keeps informed on all such subjects, and as a citizen does his part in community affairs, putting forth effective efforts and earnest co-operation for the advancement of San Jose along lines of modern improvement. He is a member of the board of trustees of Stanford University, and in 1903, was appointed vice president with Mrs. Jane L. Stanford as president. He has won the respect of his professional associates and the confidence of the public by the able discharge of his official duties. During a residence of more than thirty-three years in San Jose he has become recognized as one of its most prominent and distinguished citizens and one to whom uniform esteem is given as a recognition of his personal worth and ability.
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