Elizabeth Wurtzel

Naming Conventions And You

“Man first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world — and defines himself afterwards” — Sartre, you idiot.

When I began writing for this esteemed fashion website, I decided to use the name Juggalo Law because I didn’t have time to think of a good name. It originally had been offered up as a lame joke. In that way, it stuck, I suppose, because of its deeply descriptive powers. Here are some more lame jokes.

Names are important insofar as they signal to the outside world what our true character is. George W. Bush named Karl Rove Turdblossom. This is apt. This paints a picture in one’s mind.

But what of the names we call ourselves? Are we lawyers? Attorneys? Un autre petit nom de guerre? Je ne sais pas la réponse. Je suis simplement un clown.

Let us discuss the names we give ourselves…

The question of what we choose to call ourselves is fraught with all sorts of meaning. This week, an advice column on Slate decided the matter rather bluntly:

What’s the difference between a lawyer and an attorney? The latter, introducing himself as such, believes that the extra syllable confers an extra degree of fancy-schmanciness.

I think this is roughly correct. I wouldn’t ever type the phrase fancy-schmanciness (oops), but it otherwise is right-on-the-money. When you were a kid, did you want to be an attorney? No, you wanted to be an astronaut. Or a fireman. Then you went to law school. But still, no one ever grows up wanting to be an attorney. Attorney is to lawyer as progressive is to liberal. It’s a way of obscuring the truth. Wrapping one’s identity in a shroud of insufferability. And it should probably stop.

This website previously discussed this debate years ago. That discussion, like all others that consume our profession and our nation, had to do with Elizabeth Wurtzel. The takeaway, as far as I can tell is: Elizabeth Wurtzel.

But let’s dig deeper into the other possibilities we have. Lawyer is preferable to attorney, but what of the other things we call ourselves? I can think of three:


This term, bandied about by miserable Biglaw shits, not coincidentally shares a lineage with the Mafiosi term of endearment. There are no friends or business partners. Merely associates. And in both worlds, the term means the same thing: it means you work for a vulgar alpha male who probably is unstable and who definitely has a personality disorder. Good deal!


Shut the f**k up.


Shut the entire f**k up.

Well kids, there you have it. A comprehensive glossary to consider.

“This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity.” — Camus, moron.

How to Rescue a Boring Conversation [Slate]

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