How to Feed a Lawyer (and Other Irreverent Observations from the Legal Underground)

    Click on the book cover for details!

« The Real Crime Is All Those Federal Judges Sporting Superman Underwear | Main | A New Way of Dealing With Comment Spam »


Larry the Longhorn

I do think humor is subjective, even if everybody should just agree with me in the first place. One of my projects in the next few days is researching my own definition of satire and figuring out if AL fits.


Larry: I'll look for that. My Handbook to Literature has a long two-page definition of satire that starts like this: "A literary manner which blends a critical attitude with humor and wit to the end that human institutions or humanity may be improved. The true satirist is conscious of the frailty of institution's of a man's devising and attempts through laughter not so much to tear them down as to inspire a remodeling. If the critic simply abuses he is writing invective; if he is personal and splenetic he is writing sarcasm; if he is sad and morose over the state of society he is writing irony or mere gloom. As a rule modern satire spares the individual and follows Addison's self-imposed rule: to 'pass over a single foe to charge whole armies.'"

The entry also says that satire means literally "a dished filled with mixed fruits." An apt description for many large law firms, do you think?

David Giacalone

This morning, I am not willintg to think very hard about the definitional nuances of "satire". It seems to me that AL falls in that category, which to me includes using hyperbole and focusing on the faults rather than virtues of the subject institution. That said, I am always amazed at otherwise intelligent people who believe that the writer of satire condones the conduct described. I guess we live in a world where authors need to use lots of emoticons to keep the readers in tune.

I'm also tired hearing from lawyers [who for a living often select facts to make their client look good and the opponent look bad, in the service of advocacy] complain when the faults of the profession are depicted. Admitting the faults is a lot more likely to gain public respect than covering them up or imposing Omerta.


Evan: My dictionary speculates that "satire" comes from the Latin satur meaning "well-fed." An apt description for many big firm hiring partners, no?

The substantive part of this comment got too long and is being turned into a post on my own blog instead.


As satire, I think A.L. is pretty brilliant... my hat's off to Jeremy. I don't think it reinforces any stereotypes, if anything, it points out in a subtle way (well, sometimes not so subtle) the pure ridiculousness of people like the "AL". To say that it will create more lawyers like AL or encourage partners to behave like AL is a bit of a stretch... it's like saying without a pathetic ethics class in law school, all lawyers would be unethical. The fact is that abusive a**hole partners will continue to be so, regardless of humorous weblogs. And those partners who are decent people will probably not be convinced to abandon their moral and ethical values just because they read about the vacant soul of a fictitious hiring partner, funny or not.

energy spatula

I don't pretend to be very highbrow in my literary choices or knowledge, or to speak for anyone else, but here's my 1.5 cents. I really liked Jeremy's Weblog, especially when he was a 1L and I think I could more relate to what he was saying. As he progressed in school and it became more about song parodies and stuff like that, I still read it, just not as often because it wasn't about anything I could relate to, and while I think he has written some things that are funny and articulate, the topics just didn't draw me in like they had before. As for AL, I just didn't like it. I can watch Boston Legal, or any other legal drama for that matter, and see BIGLAW partners act like jerks.

And, in response to this comment by David "I am always amazed at otherwise intelligent people who believe that the writer of satire condones the conduct described. I guess we live in a world where authors need to use lots of emoticons to keep the readers in tune" I can only say that I consider myself to be a pretty intelligent lady and it's not that I think (or care)that AL condoned a certain type of partner behavior, it's that I don't think it's very original to write about a big-time hotshot law firm partner being an asshole. I mean, aren't there like a thousand books and TV shows about that, not to mention pretty much every story I hear around school from both peers and professors? And, I think the part of his comment about having to use emoticons to keep readers in tune is exactly the kind of personal attack on other writers that you just spent an entire post deriding. Right?

I happen to agree with both Larry and Soupie. I didn't think AL was funny, I would rather spend my limited time every day reading blogs that *I* think are funny (to each his own), and I'm not the least bit offended by the use of satire to bring out the bad aspects of this (or any other) profession, I just didn't think it was funny, or particularly original. As far as admitting the faults of the law profession, what's the big secret there? As I've said fourteen other times in this comment, is there anyone left who doesn't know from watching TV or reading Scott Turow novels that lawyers, and the legal profession, have issues? I just don't get it.

Al Nye

I'm with Soupie and Larry. While lawyers may enjoy AL for its "satire" I believe that the rest of the world will quickly tire of reading about a lawyer that thinks he's God.

Al Nye

Mr. Poon

One question: is it bad blogging etiquette to not give a shit about this whole thing?

(Or, as Triumph says in the funniest 11 minutes of TV ever, "No, I'm sorry, I'm very sorry, the correct answer is, 'Who gives a shit?!'")

Mr. Poon

Actually, let me add a serious thought in light of the other comments.

I think AL is satire. I just think it's bad satire.*

*Based on reading about 10 posts many weeks ago. Not a definitive opinion. Does not necessarily represent the views of my employer and/or Dorf. If the rash persists for more than three consecutive days, consult a physician.


I probably don't belong in this conversation at all, being completely outside anything remotely resembling the legal profession apart from the internet friends I keep, but I checked out AL to see what all the fuss was about,and as an outsider looking in, I can tell you that to me, AL was:

1)not funny
2)not interesting
3)not enlightening to a layperson such as myself
4)basically the "same post, different day" every single day

The criticisms by Soup, Larry, E.Spat, Poon, et al said everything there is to say and better than me, so I'm pretty much just talking out of my ass here, and I best be going.

Josh Winter

Isn't great that you can have an opinion?


neither are funny, jay leno and david letterman are just not funny.... it is truely bad comedy

awfully bad

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Search Beyond the Underground