Douchebags

The excessively talented David M. Anderson.

We all know that the legal market is dismal these days. People will go to almost any lengths to land jobs. A perfect résumé touting your strongest attributes is key. Most lawyers implicitly understand that this means legal attributes – you know, things that portray a sense of professional competence. But every now and then we come across a special someone who throws conventional wisdom out the window and provides us with a perfect example of what not to do.

Today’s special someone is David M. Anderson of Mahoney Anderson LLC in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. A perusal of the Mahoney Anderson website raises several questions – not the least of which are who the Mahoney in Mahoney Anderson is, where Mr. Anderson went to law school, and what Mr. Anderson might have done in his legal career prior to working for his current mysteriously-named firm.

Thankfully, we have David Anderson’s marketing ad (gavel bang: An Associate’s Mind). It is a gem. It might not answer any of these questions, or, quite frankly, tell you anything that might make you want to hire Mr. Anderson. But it is certainly the worst most unique approach to attorney advertising I have seen in quite some time….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Can’t Get Hired? Tell Them Who You’ve Dated!”

Have you ever noticed that some lawyers become different people when they get in front of a keyboard?

It’s like a Jekyll-and-Hyde kind of thing. They might be perfectly pleasant individuals in real life, capable of warmth or at least civility to their fellow human beings. But get them in front of a computer with a law-firm template on the screen, and they turn into some sort of lawyerly unmanned drone.

Most lawyers, especially junior lawyers, have an idea about what a lawyer letter is supposed to look like. It generally has fancy lawyerly words like “pursuant to,” and it usually includes lawyerly weirdnesses like parenthetically writing numbers in figures after having just spelled out the numbers in words (“If we do not receive a response for you and/or your counsel in five (5) days …”), and it almost always contains threats about Very Bad Things happening. And they tend to be uniformly douchey.

But here are four (4) reasons why lawyer letters are less effective than phone calls.…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Small Firms, Big Lawyers: The Problem with Lawyer Letters”

I have a temper.

That might surprise people who know me casually, like my professional acquaintances. I work hard to keep it in check. Over the past 17 years as an employment litigator (representing companies), I’ve gotten better at controlling my anger. But it hasn’t always been easy.

Because lawyers can be pretty adept at pissing people off.

In fact, I know many people who left litigation — even left practicing law altogether — primarily because they were sick of dealing with obnoxious opposing lawyers. And I’m not talking about thin-skinned, confrontation-avoiding types. I’m talking about solid, talented litigators who just stopped finding it fun to fight with douchebags all the time.

And this is more of an issue for newer small-firm lawyers, who are much more likely to deal with opposing counsel early in their careers than their Biglaw counterparts. (Maybe someone else here can write a post on dealing with obnoxious document reviews.)

So to help you deal with the toolbags that all litigators face from time to time, here are five tips that I’ve picked up along the way….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Small Firms, Big Lawyers: Five Tips for Dealing With Obnoxious Opponents”

Sometimes you just have to whip it out and wait for somebody to bring over a ruler. That’s just a part of life.

But some lawyers seem to sit around all day just waiting for an opportunity to drop drawers and call for the chains.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at this guy from SNR Denton. He was reading the Middle East Practice Area ABA listserv and came across an innocent question and follow-up discussion. Instead of answering the question or providing any helpful information whatsoever, he shot off a quick little response about his firm’s own magnificence.

And to make matters worse (and hilarious), it turns out he didn’t even know what he was talking about in the first place…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “More Proof That Lawyers Will Fight Over Anything”

Based on the overwhelming number of submissions we’ve received — please don’t be offended if yours doesn’t make the cut — it seems you’re enjoying our recent series on legally-themed license plates. You can send in your photos via email (subject line: “Vanity License Plate”).

Here’s one license plate we received that’s not explicitly law-related. But the reader who submitted it described it as “a DUI lawyer’s worst nightmare.”

You should not drink and drive — especially if this is your license plate….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law License Plates: Don’t Drink and Drive (With This License Plate)”

We continue our series on law-related license plates that are interesting or amusing. We’re still taking submissions, for a contest we will eventually hold; please submit your pictures via email (subject line: “Vanity License Plate”).

One way of communicating your status as an attorney to your fellow motorists is by dropping some mad legal knowledge — you know, a little legalese.

Check out this next license plate….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law License Plates: Legalese (and More School Spirit)”

On Friday we posted a photo of a law-related license plate that struck some of you as rather obnoxious. We asked you to send in pictures of additional legally-themed vanity plates, by email (subject line: “Vanity License Plate”).

We received a number of interesting submissions. Check out the first one….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law License Plates: School Spirit?”

Check out the amusing license plate below, sent to us by a reader in Los Angeles (of course)….

UPDATE (5:45 PM): Our original tipster adds, “Not sure if you can see the ‘Harvard Law Graduate’ brackets….”

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Funny Friday License Plate”

Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Small Firms, Big Lawyers, one of Above the Law’s new columns for small-firm lawyers.

About ten years ago, my former law partner and I were involved in a noncompete case against the fourteenth-largest firm in the country. (It’s since slipped about forty spots. As you’ll see, payback’s a bitch.) The ginormous firm hit us with an emergency motion for injunctive relief, and gave us only two days before the hearing to respond. At the time, there were just two of us in our firm, and we were busy with a couple other matters as well. So we called up the lawyer on the other side, explained our situation, and asked him to indulge us with a short extension.

He replied, “No, I’m a douche. You can’t have an extension. See you in court.” It’s possible that I’m misremembering some of the actual words, but my recollection of the meaning is spot on. So my partner and I cleared the decks of our other work, buckled down, pulled an all-nighter, and got our opposition brief done in time for the hearing. Oh, and won.

The following week, the tables turned. We filed a motion to get the case dismissed for forum non conveniens, marking the one time in my career that I actually used something I learned in law school. We filed and served our brief and got a hearing scheduled for four days later. Then our opposing counsel called and — wait for it — asked us for an extension.

What do you think my partner told him?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Small Firms, Big Lawyers: Don’t Be an Extension Douche”

Andrew Shirvell: Is there anything you'd like to tell us?

Andrew Shirvell is an assistant attorney general in Michigan, and he’s got a bone to pick with Chris Armstrong, president of the University of Michigan student body.

In other reports, Armstrong is referred to as “the gay president” of the Michigan student body. But on Andrew Shirvell’s blog devoted to Chris Armstrong, Shirvell refers to Armstrong as: “a viciously militant homosexual activist who is (currently) the president of the Michigan Student Assembly (MSA).”

You know what they say about vicious militants, Mr. Shirvell: it takes one to know one. Shirvell — who, once again, is an Assistant Attorney General — is using his blog to conduct the worst kind of “smear the queer” campaign, and it’s all directed against a college student. You’d call Shirvell a homophobe, but that would be insulting to the many bigots out there who merely try to suppress a civil liberty or two.

Andy Shirvell is well beyond your average gay-basher…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Michigan Assistant Attorney General’s Personal War Against A Gay Dude at the University of Michigan”

Page 3 of 41234