The ABA is currently accepting nominations for this year’s “Lawyer As Problem Solver Award.”
ABA: The Lawyer as Problem Solver Award recognises individuals and organisations that use their problem-solving skills to forge creative solutions. An award is given to an individual member of the legal profession and/or institution who has exhibited extraordinary skill in either promoting the concept of the lawyer as problem-solver or resolving individual, institutional, community, state, national, or international problems.
Specifically it is for attorneys who use or promote alternative dispute methods. This is all fine and good and there is nothing wrong with recognising such an attorney.
It’s just at first glance the name makes it sound like the “problem solving lawyer” is an anomaly. And probably many think it is.
We remember, in our very early firm days, a young partner passing down the wisdom of one of the firm’s elders. “What is a litigator’s job?” he asked. It’s not to win, he said, it’s to problem solve in the most efficient manner.
Of course, three years later I was still working on the same case with the same lawyer. But we seriously doubt that inefficiency was our fault — it clearly must have been the other side who would have been ineligible for the Lawyer As Problem Solver Award.
Pictured is George Clooney in Michael Clayton, a movie in which he portrayed a whole different type of problem-solving attorney.
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