Was Rutherford a good lawyer?
This is a question I have asked myself several times.
The facts are tha Rutherford took a course in shorthand, and worked in a law office for a time, and then became a lawyer (passed the bar) by passing an oral examination given by a panel of lawyers.
Does that qualify for an education in law?
Rutherford, as it is well know, filled in for the travelling circuit judge a few times, for a total of FOUR days.
Years later it was published that Rutherford was a member of the "New York Bar", but there is a question if that group even existed.
There is no record that I know of indicating Rutherford ever won a case in court of law.
When CT Russell sued the Brooklyn Daily Eagle for libel over a cartoon of him that they published, another lawyer instead of Rutherford was used (although Rutherford was there and involved in the case, he just was no the lead lawyer)
So there is indeed a question about the real qualifications of Rutherford as a lawyer.
From Walter Salter's 1937 letter to Rutherford:
"Two years ago last summer you made the statement to me and another that you had bluffed all your life. I believe that was one of the truest statements you ever made..."
That Rutherford was a lawyer is not in question, that he was appointed to be a fill in "Judge" is not in question, with regards to his abilities as a lawyer, there are questions, and whether he indeed "bluffed" his way as a lawyer.
 Walter Salter's letter to J.F. Rutherford, April 1, 1937 http://www.geocities.com/osarsif/salter.htm