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April 05, 2009

Bang, bang.

Break out of captivity
And follow me, stereo jungle child
Love is the kill.....your heart's still wild

--Patty Smyth

No time for Weenies. Time for lawyers to lead. Put clients first. Tell clients what you really think. Give advice--not just options. Stop covering your ass. Take risks. Stop pretending you are "special". Minimize clubbiness. Stop making the law about your convenience and schedule. Fire bad clients. Fight mediocrity. Fight mediocre lawyering.

Stop writing documents which sound like mental patients talking to themselves.

Surround yourself with strong talented people who challenge you. Fire employees who who don't buy into your goals--or who don't or won't get it--and stop pretending they'll see the light. Demand that law schools give you minimally functional, motivated, self-reliant graduates who can think on their own--and who believe that any kind of work is an honor and privilege to perform.

Think like a business person and not a mere academic. Practice discipline and structure. Help clients control costs. Become a trusted consigiliere. Change the way people think about lawyers. Stop being a weenie. Act. Serve.

Warner Bros./Columbia Records

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzb├╝hel Desk) at April 5, 2009 08:02 PM


Why does the hearse horse snicker at Oliver's post?

Is its an honor and privilege to defend big tobacco,big pharma, bernie madoff, Jeff Skilling, tax evaders caught when their bank (USB) rolls on them . . . or OJ Simpson? Or is it something else?

Did Michael Clayton overstated the case in favor of most lawyers, when he said they were, at best, "janitors?"

Posted by: Moe Levine at April 6, 2009 10:29 AM

Absolutely yes, Moe. It's an honor and a privilege to work for any client--especially unpopular and "evil" ones--and do a good job. Bernie Madoff included. Hey this is America. Even a werewolf deserves a good lawyer.

Posted by: Dan Hull at April 10, 2009 09:55 AM


Hitler most likely needed a chauffeur and more than one chamber maid, but was it an honor or privilege for any person to have fulfilled such roles? Would it have been an honor or privilege to have been Hitler's general counsel?

In modern nomenclature have you not conflagrated two distinct propositions and added a third wholly lacking in any moral support?

The last first---you argue that a crook "deserves" a good lawyer. How can that be, especially from a society where no one, regardless of how innocent, "deserves" food, shelter, clothing, or health care?

If we make lawyers available to the guilty it isn't such only because doing so protects or tends to protect the innocent?

Isn't the honor or privilege, if there is any, in indirectly serving others (and/or society) by representing such people?

Elizabeth Wurtzel had a good piece in the WSJ a few days ago (Twelve Years Down the Drain). Big law is morally down the drain because it asserts a moral proposition for its self serving financial existence which is wholly lacking?

Posted by: Moe Levine at April 15, 2009 01:35 AM

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