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ABA Health eSource
 July 2006 Volume 2 Number 11

Chair's Column
by Gregory L. Pemberton, Ice Miller, Indianapolis, IN

Gregory L. PembertonThis summer is proving to be a challenge. My practice has been very active. In the past few days, we settled a tough dispute, signed a challenging transaction, and wrestled with a number of tough contract negotiations. Others in my Firm have also been very busy. We are helping build a new dome for the Colts; many other public and private projects also continue. Oh yeah, and we also just sold a toll road. All that is rewarding and hopefully fruitful to our clients and the others in our town. Whatever happened to the quiet days of summer?

On an unrelated note, I helped open my mother-in-law's estate. Having your wife and sister-in-law as clients is an eye opening experience. They have made it clear they expect the very best from me and are disinclined to pay me. Now how about that for a client directive. In any event, I find myself doing things from a legal perspective that I have given little thought to for years. Opening estates? Selling real and personal property? Inheritance taxes? There are days when I feel like a young lawyer and then I recall that is not quite accurate. Young lawyers may be troubled by their lack of experience, but they at least have the energy to make up for that shortage.

I am reminded that the life long learning of our profession comes as a blessing. My friend, Jim Riley, the current president of the Indiana State Bar Association, described this very point in his column last month in our state bar publication Res Gestae. He cleverly pointed out the advantage to our profession that we learn for a living. Wise words from a great lawyer and wonderful president.

Let me build on that theme for health lawyers. We are allowed the luxury of learning the law in this industry. (Sorry for the alliteration, English majors my apologies) We master the challenges of informed consent, privacy of personal information, reimbursement rules, and emergency treatment and monitoring. We wrestle with end of life, ethics in clinical research, and acknowledging fault in the delivery of care. This is rich work. We are blessed that it often gets tied to a pay check.

So do not feel too sorry for yourself or me if we face a busy summer. Try to smell the roses a bit before Labor Day. Keep remembering, busy beats the alternative to busy. And then again, there is the ABA Annual Meeting in Hawaii in August. Now that would be quite a way to "balance" your busy schedule. See you there. Take care.