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The Lawyer as Artist

Yesterday, I came across a blog post that was highlighted by The Dean’s List, Dean Kay’s daily listing of online articles relating to the music business and copyright law. I highly recommend it to anyone who’s interested either topic. Anyway, the first article Mr. Kay listed was one by Mark A. Fischer, Esq., of the  Duane Morris firm, called “Artists, lawyers and specialness.”  I agree with most of what Mr. Fischer had to say. Artists are very special and as Mr. Fischer aptly points out, they are different from practitioners of other professions in that they are creative and are often willing to pursue their craft without compensation.  After all, we lawyers, wouldn’t be in the lawyering business purely for the love of it. We do it to pay the bills.

However, here’s where I take some slight exception to Mr. Fischer’s comments. And, I suspect that upon further reflection even he would agree: the best of us, in any profession, whether law, medicine, banking, teaching, hairdressing, auto repair or computer programming, are creative. We don’t just do things the way everybody else does. Most of us who take pride in our work try to be the best at it and that often entails trying (and sometimes failing) to do something new and different.

And then there are those of us lawyers who fancy themselves creative artists, as well. There have been many who successfully combined legal and literary careers, such as Louis Auchincloss, Scott Turow and John Grisham.  As a songwriter and performer, I feel I can connect with artists, especially musicians, in a way that other lawyers can’t. For example, last week I met with a client, an aspiring pop singer-songwriter and his manager. We were brainstorming on how to move his career forward and he was pleased that I spent as much time talking about and analyzing his music, from chord progressions, to lyrics, to piano licks, as I did going over legal and business issues.

As a lawyer, I’m always looking at new ways of approaching problems. And it’s that creativity with respect to my legal work that’s made me realize that it’s often hard for artists, whether musicians, writers, dancers or painters, to have access to convenient, affordable legal advice. So, I’ve put my creativity to the test, done some homework and will soon be announcing my new service targeted to artists of all stripes. So, stay tuned….Artist at work…