Bill Scott, our senior partner, died earlier this month at his Swan Lake cabin with his family at his bedside. He was 91, and he lived a full life. He handled his dying as he did his living: with dignity and grace.
To me, Bill was bigger than life – like Churchill. He was bright and hard-working. He was eloquent in his speaking and writing. Certainly he was strong-willed. He had unshakable political opinions!
And he was devoted to his clients. They could do no wrong in his eyes.
Bill was always busy. He worked hard. Many a night and weekend we’d come back to the office and find him at his desk, even into his seventies. That doesn’t mean that he didn’t always find time for fishing and hunting, though!
He taught Jon and me that a lawyer needs to help his or her clients in any way he or she can. Bill didn’t just do “legal” work for his clients. He did the kind of work that a family member or close friend would do for a family dealing with the death of a loved one. He went to the house and helped as soon as he heard of a problem. He’d do anything that was needed, and when the end came, he wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty with all the physical chores that needed doing. In the office he was a wonderful, concise writer, but at a client’s house, he was a strong, hard-working cleaner and sorter and mover.
Bill taught us to treasure our relationships with our clients. To seek lifetime relationships and to make our clients our friends.
He taught us that a lawyer should not just be an advocate and certainly not just a scribe. A lawyer should be a counselor, bringing his or her wisdom – and common sense – to bear on a client’s problem. Our clients come to us with problems and, hopefully, they leave with confidence that, together, we’ll solve their problem.
Bill gave his clients that confidence. Jon and I are doing our best to carry on with that kind of service. We miss him, and we treasure the lessons he gave us.