When the public envisions what a lawyer does, I suspect they are left with a caricature of what a lawyer does. These caricatures are generally depicted as courtroom histrionics on television. I have a policy of not watching any legal-themed television shows because of their abject silliness. 1 This was not always the case. Before I went to law school in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, I never missed an episode of “L.A. Law.” I remember a teammate of mine and I were rooming together for an out-of- town soccer trip for college and the theme song for “L.A. Law” popped on the television along with the introductory graphic. It was a picture of a California license plate that read “L.A. LAW.” He asked about “La Law.” I politely explained that it was not “La Law;” some sort of vaguely French sounding drama about a litigator name Pierre. It was “L.A. LAW” as in “Los Angles” that followed the trials and tribulations of the McKenzie, Brackman, Chaney, and Kuzak law firm. Needless to say, he was hooked — as we all were — with the glitzy life of these TV lawyers. Law school came for me in the middle of the “L.A. LAW” run. Reality quickly set in on the difference from television lawyer to real- life lawyer. I have had this same TV lawyer conversation with older lawyers about “Perry Mason” and younger lawyers about “Ally McBeal.” Lawyers spend most of their time killing trees instead of engaging in absurd 1,000 Days
soliloquies in court or depositions. By killing trees, I mean literally putting words on vast reams of paper to figuratively hit other lawyers and judges over the head. This is where the real drama lies. The finely crafted footnote in a brief turn of phrase and the occasional wordplay can be more dramatic than anything that Steven Bocho can invent. Now that January has arrived, we shall hear “Happy New Year” for the next month or so. Just like on television, in legal writing there is a phrase known as “redcutio ad absurdum,” or reduction to the absurd, and it’s often a fine way to make a point. As a lawyer who puts words on paper, I think about homophones as a way to make a point. The absurd often works to make your point, just like they might do on “Boston Legal” or “Ally McBeal.” Folks
may not even realize that I am saying “Happy Gnu Year” because I am a fan of the long- bearded antelope. Maybe I am saying “Happy Knew Year,” which does not make a lot of sense but seems more fun to me. With the new year, we are celebrating 1000 days of being a firm. Seems BIGGER than saying we are celebrating our third anniversary. Nonetheless, we wish you all a “happy gnu year” or a “happy new year” as the case may be, and we look forward to celebrating 10,000 days of being a firm.
1. Exception to the rule is“Better Call Saul.”
“Law school came for me in the middle of the “L.A. Law” run. Reality quickly set in on the difference from television lawyer to real-life lawyer.”
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