Balancing Public Service & Private Office - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
  • Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Balancing Public Service & Private Office

#AskStevenWilder

The honour of being a lawyer and a politician is indeed a great one. However, it is not without its share of unique challenges and constant need to strike the right balance between the two roles.

Many politicians were lawyers prior to entering politics. Once they decide to go into politics, they must put their career as a lawyer on hold, as most political offices require a full-time commitment. For them, maintaining a legal practice and properly servicing clients, while representing and effectively advocating for constituents, is simply not possible.

Fortunately, the political office that I hold is understood to be a part-time commitment. Many of the constituents that I represent, know that I am a full-time, practicing lawyer and that my role on Council, is my other job. We often joke that I am a personal injury lawyer by day and a Councillor the rest of the time.

This ‘joke’ is actually an accurate reflection of realty and the demands that come with holding political office. There are no regular business hours; you are literally on call 24 hours a day. Issues that are impacting residents are often impacting their home environment and quality of life. As such, they are generally quite upset and I am often a lightning rod for that energy.

Interestingly, handling residents’ complaints is easy for me. It is similar to what I encounter with clients, who generally contact me when something has been denied, or when they receive bad news about their claim or medical condition. Like the concerns of my residents, I am generally not involved in the creation of the problem or issue that faces my clients. However, I am their lightning rod and the person they turn to for solutions. Just like the residents I represent.I know that my experience as a lawyer, makes me more effective as a Councillor. Likewise, I know that my work as a Councillor, makes me a better lawyer. The important part is finding the right balance, so that neither my clients, nor the residents I represent, feel like they are anything less than my number one priority.

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