Esquire

We know what you must be thinking: how could the Chief Justice of the United States have anything in common with the woman who wrote and starred in Girls, the overtly sexualized hit series on HBO? Chief Justice John Roberts thinks that corporations are people whose money talks, while Lena Dunham often appears naked on the small screen while contemplating raunchy sex acts. The pair seem like complete opposites — but as we know from that fabulous Paula Abdul song, opposites sometimes attract.

As it turns out, Chief Justice Roberts and Dunham were both big hits this year with liberal thinkers. Yes, you read that correctly. Roberts, once a bastion of conservative hope, is now being praised as a liberal hero alongside a woman who starred in an Obama ad that likened first-time voting to losing one’s virginity.

They’ve even been named on a few year-end lists together. Let’s check them out….

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

Let’s get one thing straight here. It’s a universal law: You can’t give yourself a nickname. Only someone else can give you a nickname, and it has to happen pretty much organically. There’s nothing more pathetic than someone trying to force their own nickname on you.

I once had a prospective client whose name was “Tony Calabrese” (only it wasn’t; this is another pseudonym), but who told me to call him “T.C.” In fact he told me several times, mainly because I ignored him. Did he think I was going to have trouble saying his name? Neither his first name nor his last name was difficult to pronounce. You know the saying “the client is always right”? Well, you can forget about it when the client tells you to use a silly nickname. I didn’t take the case, because I couldn’t take him seriously.

The T.C. wannabe obviously liked the idea of being a nickname kind of guy. He thought it made him seem cool and hip. Like “Top Cat.” But this T.C. was no Top Cat. He was a software salesman. In contrast, Top Cat was the indisputable leader of the gang. The boss. The pip. The championship. (What the hell does that even mean?) But even in Top Cat’s case, only his “intellectual close friends get to call him T.C., providing it’s with dignity.”

So bequeathing yourself a nickname makes it look like you’re trying too hard. And yet small-firm lawyers do it all the time.…

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