About Charles Rounds

About Charles Rounds

Simple content posted in on 29 August 2011
audience: Charles E. Rounds Jr, Fiduciary Consultant | last updated: 3 March 2014

For 35 years and counting I have been practicing, teaching, and writing almost exclusively in that corner of the law that relates to the fiduciary duties and liabilities of trustees and agents. My professional platform is the desk reference Loring and Rounds: A Trustee’s Handbook, which was first published in 1898 by Augustus Peabody Loring and which I have revised and substantially enhanced 18 times over the last two decades. 

The fiduciary principle, which governs and guides the conduct of agents and trustees, is an invention of equity, equity being a humanizing gloss on the common law that evolved over centuries as a byproduct of the decisions of the English chancery court. The trust is said to be the greatest achievement not only of equity but of all of English jurisprudence. Unfortunately, American law students, as a consequence of a curricular “reform” movement that began in the 1960s, are no longer required to take courses in the agency and the trust; the fiduciary principle; and, to make matters even worse, equity itself. 

Over the years I have been a vigorous and vocal opponent of the marginalization within the ivory tower of all this critical legal doctrine, and of the profound fiduciary illiteracy that it has engendered in the real world. My protestations have fallen on deaf ears; the pendulum continues moving inexorably in the wrong direction.  Thus, my mission throughout my professional career has been to do whatever I can to keep the flame of equity alive for future generations who may someday rediscover its wisdom. Loring and Rounds  is the core of that effort. All my law review articles have fiduciary themes, as well. The hope is that like noted bottles they may someday wash up upon some distant shore and be appreciated.  In the meantime, Loring and Rounds has evolved into a desk reference of well over 1500 pages of concentrated prose. 

I sense that lawyers and non-lawyers alike (particularly those lacking formal education in the fiduciary principle) who are confronted with real world fiduciary problems, whether in the trust or agency context, could benefit from my personal assistance in navigating the Handbook, and in sorting out the issues generally. For all too long I have been as a monk laboring away in a dimly-lit corner of the monastery. It is time to go public.        

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