I am deeply honored to have been selected to hold the William Van Cleve Chair. After the announcement several months ago, I have had the pleasure of having people tell me just how wonderful a man Bill Van Cleve was and how lucky I am to have this chair in honor of him. The picture that I have gotten of this man is truly that of the lawyer statesman. He took his profession very seriously. He approached his work with dedication and passion but, more significantly, he loved his profession in the broadest sense. He understood that the practice of law is about service - service to clients and service to the community. One of the qualities that I have consistently heard about Mr. Van Cleve is that he was a man who cared deeply about his clients. He himself said that his clients were his friends, and his friends his clients. He saw himself not as a particular kind of lawyer but as a lawyer who helped his clients in whatever ways they needed his help, a holistic lawyer, if you will. Bill Van Cleve took seriously his professional responsibility to be a counselor to his clients and he offered them his wisdom as well as his considerable legal skills. Bill honored his clients, he recognized them as complex, he appreciated the choices that they were making, and, because he understood the broader context of his client's environment, he was trusted to advise them as they made these choices. People said that he was a man who was always thinking ahead of his clients, as they struggled with the day-to-day decisions, he was entrusted with being aware of potential long-range problems.
16 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol’y 81-87 (2004)
Scholarly Commons Citation
Aiken, Jane H., "Clients as Teachers" (2004). Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. Paper 429.