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

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I like this installment for two special reasons:

(a) I always type "trail" for "trial" and;

(b) The firm time I met John Carey, who later became my partner and is now one of my best friends, I was a 1st-year associate at a large defense firm and was assigned one morning by him, probably a 5th year associate (with a reputation of being the firm's "golden boy"), to do an emergency motion--actually a brief to an appellate court--in seven hours. He did one half and I did the other. I did a pretty good job, I thought, and the brief was reviewed by the partner in charge of the client and filed that day. I knew it had been filed (I asked a secretary) but didn't hear anything else. Of course I wondered how I'd done. About two weeks later, I finally broke down and went looking for John. I asked him what he'd thought about my effort, which had about killed me. "It was all right," he said, "but there were a couple of typos. You should never hand in an assignment until you've found all the typos."

Now that we're both plaintiffs' lawyers, I love repeating this story about John the-bigtime-defense-associate when others are around. I do it about once a year to embarrass him. He always denied it happened, but it did -- exactly as reported here.


"seems to take some sort of sick joy out of acting smug and annoying"

What's that saying about seeing faults in others that we possess ourselves?

I really dislike the "fag" coughs -- what are you, in fourth grade? You do know what that word means, right? Gay men were called faggots -- a word that meant "sticks of wood" -- because they were burned at the stake.

And although that may have been a 35-page motion, you couldn't get through a 1-page post without a typo.

I am usually not a flamer, but this post really rubbed me the wrong way.


CM, I would have preferred to see "dork" subbed for "fag," but I didn't see any homophobia in the post. That you did might be a lesson to "Stan," namely, that certain words trigger a volatile response in people.

Is saying things like that under one's breath "immature"? I guess so. Then again, if making a fuss over a typo in a brief (submitted under emergency conditions) is "mature," then perhaps I don't want to grow up.

By the way, I've never met anyone who can write something without it containing a typo or two. That's the whole point of giving something to an editor - to find typos. Somehow a superior (whose work will invariably contain typos) gets all superior when an employee hands him or her something with a typo. "It's sloppy."

Uh, no. It contains a couple of typos, which isn't surprising, since everyone's work contains typos.

But people like 6YA don't view writing as a collaborative process. They view it was another way to assert their power. Which is a shame, since a couple of like-minded people, working together as peers and not as master-and-subject, can bang out product much better than that which results from 6YA's methods.


Mike - I agree with you that the substance of the post wasn't homophobic and made a valid point, that both you and Evan agreed with, about 6YA being ridiculous about typos.

Having had time to think about this, I narrowed down what bothered me about this post: it takes what could be a funny anecdote and relates it in a contemptous way. Starting with the "Really Short 6th Year Associate" (where "Really Short" is code for "annoying little prick"), continuing with the muttered "fags" (to me, a word that is right up there with "nigger"), and finishing with gratuitous bashing of another blogger, the Uncivil Litigator. Hence my somewhat flame-y response -- the mean-spirited tone of this post got under my skin.



Thank you for all of that wonderful information. You have certainly enlightened me to my evil ways. And thank God you caught that typo. I sure as hell dont hear that enough. Also, sweetie, if you were really that offended by a satirical post, then may I suggest you never actually practice law? Stay in Cambridge and think about the law. That way you can write whole books about how foolish and unenlightened I am and no one will ever say anything mean.



P.S. Further, the actual practice of law will do nothing for you but turn you into a raging ashole, as evidenced by yours truly.


Stan - let's get together and write a book. "I'm Self-Righteous, You're a Raging Ashole." Something for everybody.

Evan, I will now stop hijacking your blog with my self-induced flame war. Sorry about that.


You know, Stan, when that sort of "you had a typo" crap happens to me, it almost invariably turns out that the error arose in 6YA's "final edit" before filing.


The "because they were burned at the stake" etymology is an urban myth.


CM: No problem, flame away. I figure the writer behind "Stan" can take care of himself. Meanwhile, I don't want to censor him either. Interesting comments all around, I thought.


CM: Also, I should point out that "Stan" and the guy who's writing as Stan are not necessarily the same person. Stan is a character. You can dislike the character, and you can dislike the guy who created him, but I don't think it would be right to necessarily imply that they are one in the same person. I'm not even sure you did this--just pointing it out. Suffice it to say I think you're entitled both to an opinion about Stan's word choice and an opinion about how or why an author might have made this word choice, as long as you keep this distinction in mind.

Eh Nonymous

Since we're flaming on typos, I gleefully point out that Evan just made an error:

"...that they are ONE IN THE SAME person."

Of course, if he weren't writing the comment in such a hurry, within 48 hours of being assigned it, he'd have had time to check for typos/ eggcorns.

Obligatory mistake and error of my own: Not knowing which vowels belong in 'relevant.' Can't be very _intelligant_ if I make errors like that, right?

What's the internet law, any post pointing out grammatical/spelling errors necessarily contains errors of its [not it's] own?


Whereupon Stan went on to form the next big bar association.


I just read the words "fag" and "nigger". I am thoroughly shocked and appalled. I may have to sue Evan's ISP for Loss of Consortium. Here we are in the 21st century, the Age of Reason, and fictional, satirical characters still resort to such hateful words in fictionalized, anonymously-posted conversations.

I just told teacher and she's mad. Real mad. Send-you-to-the-principal mad. I might even tell Mom. Then you'll get it.


Tony Conde

You lost me at "fag." Totally classless. Not at all funny. Sad.


Confused here. Supposedly these posts are the real-life reflections of a 1st-year associate, and then I read in the comments above (by Evan) that "Stan is a character" (an attempt to excuse his very unfunny use of the term 'fag'). I thought "Stan" was simply a pseudonym.

Of the posts I've read so far they seem to be heavy on humor (or an attempt at it), light on content. If I want entertainment I'll watch Family Guy. I was hoping to get some substantive insight into law firm life. Instead, Stan seems to be using this as his own creative outlet.


Why is anyone surprised? The posts have all been bad and humorless. Stan is probably some far right winger hence his use of "fag" and his dislike for Little Rock (Clinton Country).

And Stan, do tell, who in the South has ever thought of D.C. as a southern city? ("I will be practicing somewhere in what would widely be considered the South. It might be Washington, D.C. . . .")

A horrible waste of electrons.


I've often found that those whose remarks about another person's work hinge completely on one little inflammatory detail are people who don't have anything thoughtful to say, but whose arrogance presumes their voice is always worthy of being heard.

In this case, the old maxim "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all" can be applied most aptly to the responders of this piece--moreso than it could be to Stan.

Keep doing what you do best, Stan--even if it does nothing more than incite thoughtless responses from the self righteous.

get over it

CM, Tony, Jimmy and Gandalf ....

You're all fags.

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