The Practice of Law as Craft

A lawyer is an artist. But how?

Many "artists" are able to take common things and bring out something new and beautiful. In a recent book, Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven, John Eliot Gardiner writes:

Towards the end of his more than thirty years as music director of Berlins Singakademie in 1827, Carl Friedrich Zelter wrote to his friend Goethe, Could I let you hear some happy day one of Sebastian Bachs motets, you would feel yourself at the centre of the world, as a man like you ought to be. I hear the works for the many hundredth time, and am not finished with them yet, and never will be. After knowing them for more than sixty years I feel exactly the same. The glorious freedom that Bach exhibits in his motets, his balletic joy in the praise of his maker and his total certitude in the contemplation of death this, surely, is the best imaginable response to our mortal entrapment.

If genius exists, then Bach was it as it came to music composition. Part of his brilliance was his insight/ability able to play with the harmonics from a note (which were pleasing to the ear) to create and resolve tension, and then compose multiple lines to be played at the same time. But the music was in the note, Bach just brought it out.

Similarly, Michelangelo commented on his sculpture that in every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action.

Likewise, a good story teller or writer is able to take the cacophony of everyday events, sounds, sayings, etc. and bring out of that a compelling story: the thing the character wants, the conflict/tension that stands in the way and the resolution.

Many business people are likewise able to take common things and combine them in exciting and new ways. Cell phones, smart phones, the ability to look up the answer to pretty much any question on the internet, weren't available actions until relatively recently, but the ether for their creation was out there.

As a lawyer, I often wonder how to create something new using my craft. Fundamentally, that begs the question as to what is the substance of the law. What do you think?