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Creative CLE is dedicated to helping and supporting attorneys in their creative exercises, whether as part of their law practice or not. Andrew Baldwin has practiced law for more than 35 years. He has appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court, Ninth and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeal, and Federal, Tribal, and State Courts. But he has creative pursuits too: he is the author of Desert Guardian and Raptor Canyon, two novels in the Relic Series.
We recently asked Mr. Baldwin to offer his thoughts on how his creative passions have affected his law practice and he responded. Here is what he shared:
What brought me slowly to my first novel, and quickly to my second, was a desperate need to exercise part of my brain not used in legal analysis or argument – a part of me that wanted no boundaries, no footnotes, no rigid-rule formats, or dry-toast Latin phrases. Where is that cold glass of milk when you need to choke something down?
Still, practicing law requires a strong grasp of overview, coupled with focus on detail - mental exercises that helped me develop characters and plot-lines that were of interest to me and, hopefully, fun, and engaging for others. My main goal was to write something that I would enjoy reading as a pastime, something in tune with my own imagination, interests, and humor. What better material for fun than the human character? Put mismatched people into unfamiliar circumstances, add some unexpected results, and your mental road trip turns into a plot line.
I think that many lawyers have the talent and the writing itch, but never find the time to scratch it. The key is to write to satisfy yourself, whether you ever publish or not. And if you’re not having fun with it, you’re not doing it right!
Mr. Baldwin expresses a feeling that, in Creative’s experience, many attorneys have: a “need to exercise part of my brain not used in legal analysis and argument.” Attorneys dedicate so much time and energy toward helping clients that their own mental health can be sacrificed in the process. Make your own health a priority; take Mr. Baldwin’s advice and satisfy yourself with a creative pursuit. Thanks for reading and, as always, be creative!
Andrew Baldwin has written two novels, Desert Guardian (2017) (can a whitewater crew and reclusive bootlegger save an ancient pueblo battleground from looters?) and Raptor Canyon (2018) (can a young lawyer and moonshining hermit monkey wrench a corrupt canyon development?) Readers' Favorites has awarded 5 stars to each, calling Raptor Canyon “a hoot of an adventure novel… most highly recommended.” Visit him at his website, awbaldwin.com.