The Lawyer's Lawyer

The Lawyer's Lawyer

As a senior companion at lewis and roca, one of the southwest’s leading business regulation companies, peter d. Baird actually has an enviable gig. His corner workplace on the 20th floor of renaissance square tower affords a panoramic view of the town in which he’s lived and worked, for the identical firm, for 40 years. He can casually wave at a photo of himself with arizona gov. Janet napolitano, a former lewis and roca companion, and say, “there’s me with my friend, janet.” but you won’t discover much different proof of baird’s affect in this workplace, regardless of his paintings on landmark cases along with miranda v. Arizona and the litigation following the exxon valdez oil spill. As an alternative, baird’s table appears out on a large poster of doug henning and different stars from the sector of magic—a consuming hobby for baird, who has achieved as a mentalist at cancer charity events over time; a few music memorabilia—the stanford regulation graduate additionally jams as a clarinetist inside the phoenix university network live performance band; and plenty of framed photos of his three grown kids and grandchildren. And at the same time as the sixty five-yr-antique lawyer, whose principal cases today contain defending other lawyers, admits he has had a “good run” inside the regulation, he’s quick to point out that there’s greater to existence than career. “if you let this process consume you, you end up a monosyllabic, slender, blind workaholic,” baird says, sitting all the way down to a brown-bag lunch fetched from the downstairs deli (soup, sandwich, and chips, “hold the cookie”). “most of the people assume that the greatest attorneys are those that paintings 24 hours an afternoon and sleep of their places of work,” baird says. “but when i was that way, i used to be massively inferior as a legal professional than while i was additionally considering track and magic and literature.” yup, literature. Baird’s brand new, and most cathartic, assignment has been the completion of his first novel, past peleliu, a story loosely primarily based on his own experience of handling a violent father who served within the battlefields of world war ii. Critics have hailed the tome as a gripping take a look at the dark aspect of the “best technology,” as well as a cautionary message about the non-public expenses of chasing energy and success, as the litigator son inside the tale does to catch up on having an absentee father. “peter’s really the renaissance guy of the phoenix legal community,” says josé cárdenas, a 30-12 months associate in the firm and longtime friend. “for peter, it’s by no means been simply the regulation. He’s about the whole person. And that’s why, in lots of respects, he’s the coronary heart and soul of lewis and roca.” baird places it any other manner: “in case you make me out to be some splendid-duper lawyer who by no means screws up, i’ll kill ya,” he says among hurried bites of potato chips. “or, i’ll sue ya—how’s that?” baird has little interest in promoting the well-polished image of the ace legal professional, one he feels has already been played out in a long time of tv lawyer dramas he refuses to look at. “i haven’t watched any of ’em since ironside,” he grumbles. He’d instead deflate the puffed-up photo projected by way of some inside the media—basically by using amplifying his own faults and foibles. Past peleliu’s imperative individual is a lawyer “ via his father’s wishes for perfection,” he says. “to usually win, and to use each weapon at his disposal to reap that—which include browbeating and taking gain of moral ambiguities. He becomes an noticeably a success attorney, however additionally a crappy father and a crappy husband.” and even as he insists more or less eighty percentage of the story is fiction, the two times-married baird is quick to confess that he has lengthy suffered from clinical despair and that he inherited some of the “demons of warfare” from his overdue father—who, just like the father inside the novel, changed into a wwii military healthcare professional who back home “with a horrific case of submit-disturbing pressure disorder, which brought on the violence, alcoholism and womanizing.” baird has stents in his heart to fight ordinary artery blockage, a hand that shakes a touch as he slurps his soup and a unprecedented ability to admit whilst he has messed up. His essay in the wintry weather 2005 issue of litigation, of which baird is a senior editor, bore the brave identify “my stupid mistakes.” “one component i found out from growing characters for the book is that no person’s ever 100 percentage virtuous or villainous,” he says. “we’re all flawed. We’re all a mixture of what makes us human. And that goes for legal professionals, too.” “he stocks matters about himself that a number of us could be reluctant to percentage,” cárdenas says. “however that’s just peter. I think most of the people who're within the business of imparting steerage to others—which is a lot of what lawyers do, in the end—are reluctant to signify their weaknesses. Peter’s bigger than that.” paul eckstein, a accomplice at perkins coie in phoenix who has called on baird to represent his law company as co-counsel or act as a mediator in some of cases, says baird’s openness comes from a self belief in his talents. “he wants his paintings to face on its very own, and it does,” eckstein says. “that’s why different attorneys use him. His judgment is extremely good, and his writing ability really sets him aside in court. He is aware of the way to deliver information persuasively. Most lawyers suppose they can try this, but peter really indicates how it’s finished.” whilst his bio reveals involvement in a few high-profile cases, baird insists they had been all crew efforts. “i was the lowest member of the crew on the miranda case, and i came in proper after the selection,” he says of his first milestone. “the element approximately my ‘triumphs’ is, not a unmarried one in every of them turned into single-handedly accomplished by using me.”