Lawyers' humor

Whoever thinks that the Ally McBeal show depicts a completely fictional lawyer practice, needs to check Power Phillips P.C., attorney at laws in Denver, Co. Their web site's navigation shows labels such as "sleazeball attorneys" and "agonized clients" and its home page sports the best mise en bouche I've ever seen on a lawyers' site:

Powers Phillips, P.C., is a small law firm located in downtown Denver, Colorado within convenient walking distance of over fifty bars and a couple of doughnut shops. Powers Phillips also maintains a small satellite office-in-exile on the cow-covered hillsides near Carbondale, Colorado, where it puts out to pasture some of its aging attorneys.

The firm is composed of lawyers from the two major strains of the legal profession, those who litigate and those who wouldn't be caught dead in a courtroom.

Probably the closest thing to the sanitized lawyer speech on this site is what they name themselves the Obnoxious Disclaimer which starts with:

Due to circumstances beyond our control some documents on this website have not one funny word in the whole document. Worse than that, we have had to rely on our individual lawyers to supply us with their resumes and other biographical information. There is just no telling what kind of lies they may have put in those documents. Our firm is a small firm. We do not have the resources to try to track down every possible lie one of our lawyers may be telling. Just take all that stuff with a grain of salt.

They edit a newsletter called Bitches from Hell Reporter, from which I recommend the Newsflashes and the portraits of their lawyers.

The ABA Journal runs an article describing the recruitment tactic behind this site:

At Denver’s Powers Phillips, the goal is to convince lateral partners to join a self-described “peculiar” band of “uppity women” and “token males.” [...]

Occasionally someone will accuse the firm of not displaying the proper decorum befitting the legal profession. As you might expect, such criticism rolls right off the Powers Phillips crew.

“Let’s just say it’s also a good anti-recruitment tool for the wrong kind of clients and staff,” says Lansky.

This article points to another lawyer recruitment site for Stroock, attorneys in NYC, which runs a really funny Flash cartoon, Interviewing 101. I rarely find Flash movies interesting when used by corporations, least by lawyers, but this one is certainly catchy. Besides it can apply to a lot of other firms.

I applaud Powers Phillips' approach on their web site. Trust me on this, I have met with lawyers who have some sense of humor but until I discovered www.ppbfh.com, it seemed to me that while lawyers could sometimes, as individuals, express glimpses of humor (even non-billable ones!), there was probably some secret reason why they would never do such thing as a practice. Would there be a little hope in litigation-happy America?

[Source: Tech Law Advisor
]

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