cbaReportFeb13 - page 7

February 2013 CBA REPORT
cover article
The impressionists discovered that
they didn’t have to look very far afield for
the subject matter and content of their
work. The sources were close by, in their
daily lives and observations, literally in
front of their eyes. So too, by analogy,
are the sources for a lawyer’s inspiration
likely to be found close by, in front of our
eyes. They are as close by as our clients.
Client-sourced Inspiration
At our law firm we have a legal prac-
tice group we call “HEPS” which stands
for Health, Education and Public Sector.
The clients in the HEPS group include
health care organizations, hospitals, phy-
sicians, elder care organizations, schools
and public sector entities. It may seem
unconventional to group these clients
together, given their differences. How-
ever, the common denominator among
these clients, and the reason we designed
the HEPS practice group the way we did,
is because of this: the clients are each
inspired by a mission, a reason for being,
a definitive answer to the why question.
The various client-defined missions
include: excellent patient care, chang-
ing outcomes, creating cultures of care,
de-institutionalizing elders, building a
health care safety net for the indigent,
training the next generation of profes-
sionals, groundbreaking research, public
advocacy, educational excellence, mis-
sion-driven service to the public.
It’s the lawyer’s calling, I believe, to
really “get” these missions, to see them
not as just words in a mission statement,
but as walk-the-talk realities for clients.
It’s the lawyer’s art, I believe, to figure
out how to weave the client’s mission into
the legal representation. If we say “Your
honor, I represent the hospital,” then we
need to really “represent” it. When we
undertake to “represent,” are we just the
legal technician or are we also someone
who can connect the dots between the
legal issues and the client’s “reason for
being?” Whether and how the lawyer
answers this question makes a difference
to outcomes for clients. If the lawyer
understands what inspires the client and
that becomes what inspires the lawyer,
the client is “represented.”
Artful Judgment
We’re all familiar with the lawyerly
duo of “facts and law:” the lawyer gathers
the facts, applies the law, and advises.
But in reality, we learn that solving
complex legal problems is not as simple
or mechanical as “facts and law.” The
lawyer’s judgment, including the ability
to distinguish the essential from the
nonessential and the arts of persuasion,
prognostication, communication and
problem-solving are all part of represent-
ing clients well. This is “artful judgment”
involving thought and action that can
make the difference between problem-
solving and problem-multiplying,
between great outcomes and bad out-
comes, between advice that is excellent
and advice that is mediocre or lousy. The
painter standing before a blank canvas
needs to make some judgment calls too:
choice of medium, subject matter, mes-
sage, composition, perspective, color,
form, light, shadow, line, texture and
so on. The trial lawyer standing over a
at the Cincinnati Bar Center,
225 E. Sixth St.
Full fourth floor, approximately 7,000 square feet. Additional meeting space
available in the building, so lessee can minimize built-out conference space.
Ideal for law firm or other entity serving the legal community.
For more information, please contact
CBA Executive Director,
John C. Norwine, (513) 699-1400,
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