Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Great Lawyer and A Great Artist Have Similar Attributes

Many people seeking an attorney state that they want a “bull dog” lawyer, but I would argue that they are better served with an “artistic” lawyer. The artistic lawyer is both tenacious and creative.  Like a good artist approaching a canvas, the artistic lawyer is prepared to approach every case with new energy and a fresh perspective. 

Just as painting by numbers is not going to render a great work of art, a lawyer is not going to win in court on the basis of experience alone.  Just as a great work of art will not result from copying other artists, a lawyer will not adequately protect his/her client’s interests by using boilerplate agreements. 

An artistic lawyer is able to spontaneously react to unexpected situations in the courtroom, such as a witness changing testimony.  An artistic lawyer is able to carefully craft agreements to protect the interests of his/her clients and to promote the success of their enterprises.  An artistic lawyer is able to “think outside of the box” and find creative legal solutions for his/her clients that may not be obvious or conventional.    

The collection of monetary judgments is an area of law that particularly requires creative problem solving.  The lawyer, like the artist, must have the vision to analyze what is not obvious.  For example, determining the location of assets to seize from an uncooperative and intentionally misleading debtor requires innovative problem solving.  The lawyer who accepts a debtor’s claim of insolvency is not likely to collect many judgments.

As an example, in the reported case of Xyrous Communications, LLC v. Bulgarian Telecommunications Company, AD, 74 Fed. R. Serv. 3d 629 (2009), our firm was able to collect the entirety of a $807,585.76 judgment obtained against the Bulgarian Telecommunication Company, who at first blush appeared to have no assets in the United States.  We collected the judgment by finding and attaching its telecommunications vendors in the United States, which took original thinking and persistence on our part.  In another case, we collected the entirety of a $91,013.37 judgment against a radio station by garnishing receivables from companies that rented space on the station’s cell tower.  This income was not the station’s core business and was not revealed by the debtor.

A great artist, whether in music, dance, painting, sculpture, film or other areas, must manipulate the known and familiar to produce the unknown and exciting.  Similarly, a great lawyer must utilize available legal procedures in a creative and calculated manner to accomplish his/her client’s goals.  The artistry of law requires more than mere knowledge of the procedures or irrationally biting like a bulldog.

So, when interviewing a prospective lawyer, ask if the lawyer is creative like an artist.