The legal landscape is a sadder and emptier place today, following the recent deaths of two giants in legal consulting, Ward Bower of Altman Weil and Ed Wesemann of Edge International. Both succumbed to unexpected heart attacks.
We had the pleasure of working as partners with both of them, and the privileges and pleasures were ours. God, what you could learn from these two men! Clients have said the same: there was no trace of arrogance, pretentiousness or pomposity to mar their effectiveness. Both were eminently user-friendly resources to clients of all shapes and sizes. Both were skilled and wise.
Many lawyers would characterize Ward and Ed as competitors, but although they probably went head-to-head in their efforts to win certain engagements, we doubt they would have characterized themselves as adversaries. In fact, we know firsthand the mutual respect they enjoyed for one another.
Ward and Ed were alike in many ways. Both had a low-key personal style that sometimes masked dazzling intellectual brilliance and superb strategic perspective. Both could see the big picture and the granular view simultaneously, and both preferred crafting practical solutions to sitting around and talking smart. Both were adroit and practical troubleshooters. Both really knew what made law firms tick, and both were masterful at putting them together in mergers and, on occasion, helping firms extricate themselves from bad mergers. Both could reconcile the profession’s traditions with its headlong rush into today’s change-every-minute chaotic professional maelstrom. In all settings and situations, they remained consummate professionals.
On a personal level, both had huge hearts. It is indeed ironic that for both men, it was their hearts that ultimately failed them and deprived us all of their wisdom. It is very sad that two men so attuned to the heartbeat of the law now have had their own heartbeats stilled.
For all of us, from all of us, Thank you, Ward. Thank you, Ed.