Laughs for litigants.
Given the abundant attorney-as-lowest-of-the-low jokes on the market, it’s only natural that someone should have come along to assemble an anthology in which lawyers reveal how bovinely dumb their clients are—and Washington lawyer Liebman, who cut his teeth bringing the awful Spiro Agnew to justice, has done just that. Making no pretension to literary greatness, but pretty nicely done all the same, this collection offers a range of anecdotes on stupid replies to cross-examination (Q: “What happened then?” A: “He told me, he says, ‘I have to kill you because you can identify me’.” Q: “Did he kill you?” A: “No.”), stupid reasons for winding up before a judge, stupid acts on the part of judges and jurors, and karmic paybacks for generally stupid behavior all around. Some of the anecdotes are, refreshingly, even at their narrators’ expense. Most of the contributors have been at the lawyering game for a while—a number of their stories deal with attending law school in the 1960s and wrestling with the clash of hipster idealism and the exigencies of making a buck—and they have a heap of tales to tell, very few of which fall flat. The only downside to the book is the depressing view of the damnable human condition that the anecdotes, as a whole, offer. While it’s no surprise that folks in divorce court can easily revert to the basest behavior and that criminal defendants can come up with some extraordinary rationalizations for their bad faith, some of these tales inspire downright Nietzschean pessimism—but others yield a good yuck or two.
A fine gag gift for a lawyer of your acquaintance.