I really “love” speaking to my fellow lawyers who claim that they do not have any interests in politics. It is sort of like listening to some who claims to not believe in God getting excited about having their children participate in an Easter egg hunt! Just as God is the reason behind the Easter egg hunts that our planned across the United States each spring, law is the reason for politics.
Like it or not, each year across the country and in Washington, D.C., each politicians go to work each day to try to make new laws, change existing laws, or to do away with some laws all together. As a lawyer, it is my job to understand from whence the law comes.
However, many people simply picture lawyers in the court room, sauntering around like Ally McBeal or Perry Mason. They often forget that the very thing spouting from the mouths of lawyers, has been carefully crafted based on the work of politicians. In most states, even the judges are elected politicians masked in fine robes and answering to the whims of the masses during the election cycle.
Therefore, no lawyer can simply rest on laurels and say that they know the law or that they have no interest in politics. The law is constantly being changed by the whims of the masses as various politicians try to keep their respective names in the public eye through the laws that they help to change, create, or repeal.
One year I was in the process of negotiating the purchase of a local hospital. I happen to represent one of the various “partners” involved in the purchase. Several of the other “partners” were represented by a lawyer whose number of years in the practice of law far exceed my own. I watched the news with interest each day as the fervor over the passage of the Affordable Care Act swelled. I read the proposed bill with interest even after my client dismissed my keen observations regarding the “potential” implications of the passage of the proposed bill on our purchase of the hospital. When I raised my concerns to the rest of the partners and their respective lawyers, age won out and I was chastised with a simple line, “Obamacare will not pass so there is no need to worry your pretty little head.” Obamacare did pass. The group of “partners” was like many groups wishing to advance themselves at the time in the healthcare market and was composed of several practicing physicians. Unfortunately, for our little group of “partners,” the Affordable Healthcare Act contains an express provision limiting the number of physicians that may be involved either directly or indirectly with the ownership of a hospital receiving Medicare payments for the treatment of its patients. So, the “partners” and lawyers who had so curtly dismissed the role of politics in the purchase of the hospital went back to their respective medical and legal practices and I became even more committed to educating people on the importance of politics and the law.
The law determines what we can buy and sell, the content of the food and drinks we consume, the amount of money that we are left with in our paycheck or allowed to take home from our businesses, and everything else in our daily lives, except perhaps the number of strides we can take to get down a city block. Since it is often said that ‘ignorance of the law is no excuse,” I challenge everyone to understand that there is no excuse for indifference to politics.
For more information on current laws and the potential effect of proposed legislation, following the £aw and Politi¢s section of Nachael’s World.