"A lawyer should solve a problem before it happens," Chuck Judson says. He is quoting his father who ran a hardware store but wanted to go to law school. "My dad thought lawyers should be proactive not just reactive," Chuck says, "and I've cultivated that type of practice."
He is an attorney with Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge in Traverse City-and many of his clients are organizations. "I learn about their functions and aspirations," he says, "I help them ask, 'What are we trying to accomplish?'"
"The basis of my career is relationships," Chuck says. "I'm not the best lawyer in the world but I have some wisdom." He studied mediation awhile ago and it's changed his approach. "Our society is used to a fist-pounding model of negotiation," he says, "but in mediation, the goal is mutual agreement-and litigating is only one option."
"The lawyer's oath is to zealously advocate for the client," Chuck says, 'but you have to ask what the objective is-and design a plan." Resolving disputes through mediation has blossomed in recent years and Chuck welcomes this change. "It used to be winning by intimidation but let's focus on the things that are right because everyone feels better."