John practiced law from 1926 to 1964 with the exception of his service years during World War II from 1943 to 1946. He was separated from the Army with the rank of major. He also served continuously as a City of Montgomery Municipal Court Judge from 1929 to 1956, again only with the exception of his military service time. And he served on the Board of Bar Commissioners from 1930 to 1950, also the only break being his time in the Army.
On September 1, 1950, Judge Scott assumed the duties of secretary of the Alabama State Bar. At that time this was a part-time position. It was in this capacity that he set about the task of securing funding for the construction of the Alabama State Bar Building. The dedication of that beautiful structure took place in 1964 and the Board of Bar Commissioners placed a bronze plaque in the building to show their appreciation to John B. Scott for his vision and leadership in the conception and erection of the Bar’s headquarters. He also supervised the creation of the Alabama State Bar Foundation which was the vehicle for fundraising and which owns the building.
In 1964 Judge Scott closed his law office to become the first full-time secretary of the Alabama State Bar. He continued in this position until June 1, 1969, when he became the reporter of decisions for the Alabama appellate courts. He served as the reporter until his death on February 23, 1978.
Judge Scott lived a full life and had a fulfilling legal career, but he was also an accomplished writer and poet. The following is one of his poems, entitled “An Appellate Judge”.
“An appellate judge is but a drudge
With work that’s never done with
Read and write and write and read
Is all he can have fun with.
Those who aspire to robes’ estate
Had best put thought of gain behind them
For banks and brokers neither never
Take the time to find them.
That some reward in fact exists
Isn’t quite a fable
Because every now and then
They are at the speaker’s table.
Now one would think a life like this
Would cause some disaffection
But strange to say they every one
Always seek reelection”.
John B. Scott was a leader, a literary man, a soldier, a free spirit, and a great lawyer. The Alabama Bar is proud that he is a member of the Alabama Lawyers’ Hall of Fame.