How To Fuck Up A Good Thing: After being heroes, Lawyers return to being walking jokes.

Hey, Assholes, remember a couple weeks ago when we were heroes?  Remember when the President put out an Executive Order that made the country gasp and resulted in people that had already gone through our vetting procedures being detained at airports and sent back abroad?  Remember how groups of lawyers headed to ports of entry, sacrificing their weekend to sit huddled in a McDonald’s working on drafts or staked out on the floor of the terminal?  Remember that sudden swell of pride you felt at being a member of a profession whose response to such a drastic measure was “Oh HELL no, hold my martini.”

Yes, for a very brief period of time lawyers weren’t the butt of jokes.  “What do you call 100 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?” someone would ask mischievously.  “I don’t know,” you could respond, “but I know what you call 20 lawyers in an airport…FREEDOM!”  Then a bald eagle would land on your fucking arm as Lady Liberty and Lady Justice invited you back to their place for a no-holds-barred adult wrestling match in their bedroom.

It was great.

We’re well on the way to fucking that shit back up.

Continue reading “How To Fuck Up A Good Thing: After being heroes, Lawyers return to being walking jokes.”

How to Be A Lawyer Dad: A story of my father.

Yesterday there was no post because the weatherman was calling for six to ten inches of snow, which for me is “the office is closed” weather.  That meant that every deadline I had to meet today was unexpectedly bumped up 24 hours to be dealt with yesterday in case the courts followed suit and locked their doors.  However, on waking up this morning to two inches of snow and a flurry of emails from my boss and office staff, I find myself the only one seated at his desk this morning while the doors are unlocked and the phones are turned on.  Everyone else will “be in after they shovel,” which is code for “I may just stay home in my pajamas today.”  Yes, that is an option that I wish was open to me as well, but I’ve got three solid weeks of hearings and depositions coming up next month, and that means there’s no such thing as a day off in my little corner of hell.

This got me thinking about the nature of our jobs in general.  Most people I know bitch about work and live for the weekend.  They head in, do their 9-5, then they go home.  Their off time is their own, something that I haven’t experienced in a long time because there’s no such thing as fucking time off for a lawyer.  Even had I been snowed in today, it isn’t like I’d be sitting at home in my pajamas (which are awesome, by the way) watching Netflix and playing video games.  I keep backups of my active files on a secure online storage system so I can work on them from anywhere.  I even have Microsoft Word on my cell phone and a portable bluetooth keyboard in my briefcase for work on the go.  If the world is ending tomorrow, while everyone else in the shelter is weeping and clinging to their families you can damn well bet I’ll be sitting on my phone with the keyboard perched on my lap working on revising the Johnson letter one last goddamn time.

That’s how this job is, and really because it isn’t just a job, it’s a profession.  Or maybe that’s just me for the most part.  See, I grew up in the home of a trial lawyer, and as a result my view of what is appropriate and isn’t appropriate may be a little warped.  We tend to prioritize our work over damn near everything else, telling ourselves that we have clients that need our help.

For example, this morning my mother, who has now been married to my father for a little over 40 years, sent me a text message:  “Have you talked to your Dad lately?”  I hadn’t.  I talked to him a couple weeks ago about a case he may have that would reach into Pennsylvania, but outside of that it had been a while since I called him just to talk.  I told her that, and her response was “You need to.  He’s just so tired, and your brother (who manages Dad’s office) is so worried about him.  Don’t tell him I told you.”  It hit me harder, I guess, because I realized Dad’s getting old, but every time I could call and talk to him, I was always too busy and would “do it tomorrow night.”

Continue reading “How to Be A Lawyer Dad: A story of my father.”

Stop Making Yourself Unemployable: Lessons Learned from #TiffanyvTwitter

So last week saw the unveiling of Tiffany Dehen v. John Doe, Twitter Inc. and the University of San Diego School of Law, an amazing pro se complaint filed to Docket No. 17-CV-00198 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California.  While this has been written about and tweeted about several times already by now, and the attention span of the internet at large is about that of a gnat, I decided now would be a somewhat decent time to talk about my thoughts on it.  More specifically, I decided now was a pretty good time to use this to teach a lesson to those folks out there with a J.D. and a dream of employment:

Stop making yourselves so goddamn unemployable.

Continue reading “Stop Making Yourself Unemployable: Lessons Learned from #TiffanyvTwitter”

A Porpoise’s Take on the Executive Order

I wondered if perhaps the administration was trolling us when it decided to issue an Executive Order (EO) restricting entry to the United States to (a) citizens and (B) visa holders from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Somalia and Sudan.  This is your new axis of evil.  A combined 218 million people who, when they aren’t struggling to survive each day despite disease and war, are obviously bloodthirsty terrorists just waiting to cause the destruction of the United States.

Look, the world is a really scary place, but it’s a really fucking scary place if you’re a person without a state or one who is wanted dead by the State.  We, as humans, do this not infrequently when the shit gets rough.  We blame groups of people, saying that we lost our jobs or our spouses or our savings or our lives because they took them; because they ­exist.  Japanese internment camps; the turning away of Jewish refugees from Europe; the Chinese under Pres. Arthur;  the Irish and the Italians, to all varying degrees they’ve been ostracized or rejected because we thought that they would bring us (or commit against us) unspeakable harm.  For the past 15 years it’s been Muslims.  Nary a day goes by since 2001 that Muslims are on the lips of someone talking about destruction and violence.  About how they’re bloodthirsty savages or how the religion’s existence is an existential threat to us all.

Now, the President has significant authority to set immigration policy when it comes to the borders, I won’t dispute that.  And I agree that, if you can identify individuals that pose a threat to the US, you should keep them out.  Let’s assume that the ban on these 7 groups of nationals is totally constitutional, I just don’t think it will work.  ISIS is not in the invasion-of-the-West business; they just simply do not have the manpower or the desire to do so.  It is far more effective to instill hate and fear in people and let their own prejudices and fears do the rest.  Will some of those people be willing to attempt entry into the US? Sure, of course they will, but it’s just as likely that this hypothetical guy or gal is coming from Belgium, France, the UK, Russia or one of the former Soviet Union members, so this policy really does nothing to secure anything.

I keep hearing that this isn’t a Muslim ban, that countries with the most Muslims aren’t banned. If tomorrow I was able to issue an EO which said “no one from Israel is allowed a visa to enter the US” what the fuck do you think would happen? You would call me an anti-Semite for putting up a ban of Jewish entry to the US, despite the Jewish diaspora’s enormity.  It doesn’t matter if there are more Muslims in Indonesia that in one of those seven nations.  If anything, that turns the ban into an ethnic ban, rather than a religious one.  We can have that fight too, if you want.

Can someone tell me what happens when a Kurd from Iraq seeks entry?  The President added in his comments on the EO that the exception for persecuted religious minorities is intended to help Christians.  If that doesn’t put a fine enough point on this being a religious preference or test, then let’s meet back here after DHS denies a Kurd, Yazidi or Zoroastrian, because it will most certainly happen.

I need to end this here and ask if this whole exercise of being afraid and angry is exhausting to anyone else?  I mean, I’m not even one of those with a venomous tongue and I’m so fucking tired.  I have to imagine others are too; I have to imagine that we could have put all this effort into something more useful.  But I think it’s convenient and easy to hate on groups and restrict their rights than it is to enhance rights of everyone, to make your own situation better.  It’s sloth that brings us to this state, not hate.  Were we not lazy, we’d look into the numbers and realize that Donald Trump’s assets are conveniently unaffected by the ban.  We’d realize that ISIS is taking every contextless tweet of Donald’s and live-streaming under the narrative of the US hunting down Muslims.  It used to be that they had to twist our words and actions, lie to their prisoners (that’s what they are, those living under ISIS control), they had to spin our conduct to look like we hated Muslims.  Now, they just need to retweet our President.  Honestly, I think the ISIS marketing department is probably going to be let go because there isn’t any fucking work left, just tell your followers to follow @realDonaldTrump.

-Habeas Porpoise

Friday Music: A Follow-Up to #TiffanyvTwitter

Morning!  Alright, Fridays are busy days in the office of an asshole litigator, as everyone needs to do shit.  I’m working on a post for later today, a follow-up on getting a job called “Jesus Christ, don’t make yourself unemployable.”

To anyone new, Fridays are a song and maybe a post.  Today’s song goes out to our friend from #TiffanyvTwitter, the J.D. that filed a stunningly confusing and possibly insufficient lawsuit when someone created a Twitter parody account of her.  While I don’t agree with the “creating a Twitter parody account,” I have a special place in my heart for people who think the solution is “SUE EVERYONE!”  As such, Tiffany, this one’s for you: