If it weren’t for the attention paid to him by gossip columnists, you might not even know he’s a Mafia lawyer. He looks ordinary enough. He even admits to being ordinary. When the gossip columnists interrupt him at dinner, he tells them the Mafia is an invention of reporters who don’t have enough to do. “The Mafia’s not real,” he tells them. “I’m nothing but an average Joe.”
Can you blame the Mafia lawyer for being modest? It’s a defense mechanism he’s developed after all these years of living in the limelight. Law schools invite him to give lectures, and he does—only he never talks about the Mafia. He’s never even said the M-word, if you want to know to truth.
But does it really matter? When the lectures end, the law students and their professors gather around and pepper him with questions anyway. It’s dizzying, the questions they ask: How can I get started as a Mafia lawyer? Will it matter whether I graduated from a Tier 1 school? How does the Mafia feel about law review? What if I’ve been tenured?
They just don’t get it. It’s enough to make him want to put his fist through a wall. But at cocktail parties, putting his fist through a wall’s not enough: there he’s thinking about putting heads in vices. Did you ever meet Al Capone? Do you know where Jimmy Hoffa’s buried? Can you get me an audition on The Sopranos?
The Mafia lawyer is tired of being famous. What he wants most is a long ski vacation in the Alps. After a hard day on the slopes, he’ll retire to the lodge and loosen his boots in front of the fire. He’ll chat with the other guests. They’ll talk about ski gear and Scotch. He won’t even need to worry about whether his gun is loaded.
Here’s the sad reality: the Mafia lawyer is tired. Very tired. Everyone thinks his life is so glamorous, but he’s got problems you can’t even imagine. His clients give him no room for error. He hears it himself, straight from the top. Don’t fuck up, they tell him. Not this time. You don’t want to be fish bait, do you?
That’s a question the Mafia lawyer really hates to hear. And they say his life is glamorous? Fuggedaboutit.
[Like this post? It's one of many included in my book How to Feed a Lawyer (And Other Irreverent Oberservations from the Legal Underground). Details here.]
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