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For Stacy Warner, the fictional hospital GC on Fox’s hit show “House,” conflicts of interest extend well beyond legal matters. Most of her dilemmas are a result of the risky antics of Gregory House, a maverick doctor who’s also Warner’s former flame. Actress Sela Ward, who plays Warner, brings a smart, steely determination to her semi-regular role on “House,” which started its second season this fall. Ward has had a long career in TV and film, including an Emmy Award-winning turn as Teddy on the early-1990s series “Sisters.” Ward recently spoke to Corporate Counsel staff reporter Jill Nawrocki about what it takes to play a lawyer and why she has no plans on becoming a real one. Q: How did you go about creating Stacy’s character? A: So much of that is in the writing. [The writers] decide who that person is and give you a framework in which to work. You make choices in how you deliver those lines, which really can speak volumes about who she is. By the nature of what she does, she is a very focus-driven woman, a complicated woman and a strong woman. Q: Is it hard to get a grip on the legalese? A: I don’t have so much of it that it’s a huge obstacle. A bigger obstacle would be spouting off all the medicalese. That’s not something where you learn your lines in the makeup trailer in the morning. Q: What’s the craziest thing Stacy’s had to deal with legally on the show so far? A: Everything [Gregory] House does is a challenge to deal with legally, because he never plays by the rules. What he does is for the good of the patient, but he’s always doing the wrong thing, legally … it’s against all of the rules. She understands that about him. She understands his genius and is trusting of that. Q: That must put her in a difficult spot. A: Most of the time. That’s why they butt heads so often. It makes for some interesting, combative dilemmas. Q: What has it taught you about the relationship between lawyers and the medical profession? A: It’s an extremely protective and very complicated [relationship], it would seem. There’s so many fine lines between what you’re required to do to save someone’s life and protocol. It must be a very tricky arena. Out in the real world, when you don’t have a maverick like House, it may be a very different thing. With all the malpractice and human error, I’m sure [hospital lawyers'] hands are full. Q: Does the show portray lawyers’ struggles in the medical world realistically? A: I think the circumstances are somewhat different because the characters are so outrageous. I don’t know many physicians that would last [as long as House], given all these circumstances. Every single show he does something. He breaks into people’s houses [when there's a mystery because] he’s looking for clues. He has [my character] get court orders [to perform medical procedures] that the administrator at the county hospital said no to. He’s just a total maverick. He tells the parents of an estranged son that [the son is] dying. In fact [the son is] not dying — [House] just wants to get [the parents] there. Q: Does the show give lawyers a bad name? A: I don’t know that it’s slanted to either extreme. I think it shows how complex different cases are … . Q: After a jaunt in the legal profession, any thoughts of switching careers? A: Nope. Not at all. I think I’ll keep my day job.

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