A Gen-Xer’s satirical memoir takes sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll deep into the bowels of modern law.
If justice is blind, then “The Philadelphia Lawyer” (a mysterious Pennsylvania blogger, true identity unknown) is the pop culture’s new canine guide for the visually impaired. For him, remedial action has as much to do with inhaling nitrous oxide and chasing prostitutes as it does with filing motions. After graduating from law school in Pittsburgh in the late ’90s and settling into Philly (“Shyster Central”), he found the halls of justice chock full of irony and unscrupulous sharks. He took a position in criminal defense, but after watching a defendant get 30 years on a drug-trafficking rap, he realized he didn’t have “the stomach to tolerate the ‘good v. bad’ mythology of that universe.” A process of disillusionment began as he moved from field to field. First civil litigation where, like his colleagues, he surfed Internet porn on the clock, scraping together “billable hours” and charging clients to the nanosecond for phantom casework. Business litigation seemed like the next logical move for our restless narrator. As a new associate under a micromanaging partner, he quickly learned that “wringing profits out of young lawyers is one of the most cynical labor exploitation systems ever invented.” He took a stab at personal-injury work, hoping to hit “that mythical ‘home run’ case, a settlement that would give me enough money to get out of the field for good.” He tried his hand as a legal expert, landing talking-head commentaries on CNN. However, on his second appearance, doing a spot on the Kobe Bryant sex assault case with a migraine hangover, he froze on camera and blew his shot at showbiz. Resigned to some kind of life in law, he launched the increasingly popular and hilarious “Philadelphia Lawyer” blog, which caught the eye of lawyer-turned-fratirist writer Tucker Max, who pushed him into penning this memoir.
Sometimes sophomoric, but intensely insightful.