Letters

Welcome back!

Last week, we kicked off The ATL Lawyer Letter Bracket by letting you choose your favorite piece of lawyer writing from the annals of ATL. Day 1 pitted No. 4, The Greatest Response To A Cease And Desist Letter, Probably Written While Drunk, against No. 13, This May Be The Best Cease And Desist Letter Ever Written, and No. 5, This May Be An Even Greater Response To A Cease And Desist Letter, against No. 12, Scathing Letter Suggests Smart Lawyer A Dumb [Expletive].

Today we have the next four teams in our competition looking for your vote….

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One of the most popular recurring features on ATL is the intentionally (or unintentionally) funny lawyer letter. Cease-and-desist letter responses famously offer lawyers the most freedom to let their comedy flags fly, but we’ve profiled some pretty entertaining C&D letters, rants to executive agencies, settlement offers, and cover letters. They’ve covered intellectual property, political speech, and throwing porn stars off roofs.

With years of these hilarious letters piled up, it’s time to revisit the archives and determine a champion….

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That’s what an attorney for The Dirty is saying in a letter that TMZ calls “the most sarcastic letter we’ve ever seen in the 9 years of TMZ.” The Dirty may be best known among our readers from the ongoing Sarah Jones saga, in which a former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader turned high school teacher was convicted of sleeping with her student and sued The Dirty after the site claimed she’d slept with every member of the Bengals team. Which was obviously false, because when Jones worked there the Bengals were incapable of scoring like that.

Now The Dirty provoked the ire of Casper Smart, Jennifer Lopez’s ex. Smart has generated a lot of rumor-mongering over the past few weeks, with the most salacious starting in the comments section of The Dirty, where two transsexuals claimed they hooked up with Smart. J.Lo’s love may not cost a thing, but that love might cost a J.Lo — or so the argument goes.

Smart says this isn’t true and did what any self-respecting quasi-celebrity would do: he wrote a threatening letter to The Dirty. The Dirty’s counsel responded with all the sarcastic righteous rage you’d expect….

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Here’s a message to all lawyers drafting demand letters. Before you fire off that deliciously evil, in-your-face, incendiary letter replete with all those unreasonable demands you dreamed up over the last 30 minutes of editing, take a good hard look at what you’ve written, and then stop. Just… stop.

What did you think you were going to gain? Did you hope it would help your letter stand out? Prove to your adversary that you’re really serious? Set a bold opening bid for negotiations? Are there visions of a terrified person reading your letter and running to the phone to give your client everything under the sun?

Because none of that is going to happen. All you’ve managed to do is torpedo your credibility… and now you’ll probably end up getting trolled by a popular legal industry website.

Take, for example, these guys, whose string of ridiculous demands not only failed to reduce their adversary to jelly, it elicited a declaratory judgment suit.

So the question is, “Would You Rather: Be self-satisfied over your own cleverness or save your client from litigation?”

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Most of us know it’s not about what you know, it’s who you know. Incidentally, sometimes it’s also about who your enemies are.

When a big man takes a fall, sometimes folks come out of the woodwork to quicken his race to bottom — especially if they are accidentally invited.

Example A: convicted felon and disbarred attorney Steven Lippman. The former Scott Rothstein partner asked for support letters from friends and colleagues during sentencing, but one lawyer deigned to provide an ice-cold glass of brutal honesty instead. And judging from the sentence Lippman received this afternoon, he’ll have plenty of time for self-reflection.

Keep your friends close, and the people who write your letters of recommendation even closer….

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If you enjoy fashion, check out our sister site, Fashionista.com.

Fashion law is a quickly-growing specialty practice area — a place where lawyers can aspire to dress stylishly while honing their legal skills in the glamorous world of haute couture law. You may never see all of the models and bottles a career in law once guaranteed, but you might get to work on their contracts.

A lawyer working in the business of beauty can expect to do a great deal of intellectual property work (after all, trademark law is sexier when you’re doing it in designer duds). An IP student group at a leading law school took that to heart, and decided to hold a symposium on the topic of fashion law.

The students pulled out all the stops for the event: they got Biglaw sponsorship, they created an eye-catching flyer, and they lined up some of the greats of the fashion law world to speak. Needless to say, they expected a great turnout.

What they didn’t expect was to be on the receiving end of a cease and desist letter from a high-end fashion house….

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Got this email in the ol’ inbox this morning — a missive from Jose Baez, the successful defense lawyer of Casey Anthony, who was just acquitted of charges that she killed her daughter (murder and manslaughter).

Thought I’d forward it on to you good folks. Read it if you want. Don’t cost nothing.

From: JoseBaez@——.com
To: JuggaloLaw@gmail.com
Subject: Hey A-hole!
Date: Wed, 06 Jul 2011 05:29:00 -0600

Dear Juggs,

I’m sorry that it’s taken me this long to respond to the thoughtful criticisms levied against me in your post written almost a month ago, when you named me Above the Law’s Lawyer of the Day and suggested I was in over my head on the Casey Anthony case.

In the whirlwind that is my life, I occasionally misplace things, and your post was just one of those things. It’s probably better this way, as I’ve had the opportunity to collect my thoughts and give you the reasoned response your thoughtfulness begs for. Almost a month on, I think it’s fair to say….

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