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Bar News - May 19, 2006

Humorist-at-Law Sean Carter Speaks at Dinner and CLE

A six-foot-four-inch Harvard law graduate, Sean Carter, was working for the Los Angeles law firm of Heller & Erhman and playing in a lawyers’ basketball league. He started writing up accounts of those games that his colleagues found so funny that they told him, “We’ve started to notice you do this a whole lot better than you practice law,” Carter told members of the DeKalb Bar Association, where he recently served as keynote speaker for its Bench & Bar event.


That kind of self-deprecating humor has since launched Carter into a new career as a lawyer-humorist, which includes frequent speaking engagements and CLE programs, and a regular column for the ABA’s eReport. His next gig will be the NHBA Annual Meeting, where he will entertain as dinner speaker on Thursday, June 22, and conduct a special, interactive CLE on Friday morning, June 23. In his CLE program, “The Supreme Court 2004-2005 Term: The Real ‘Shock and Awe’ Campaign,”  Carter will humorously review key cases decided by the nation’s highest court and conduct a competition, having attendees compete on guessing the actual outcome of the cases. (For NHMCLE credit!)


Carter says he has parlayed his comedy writing into a new career that enables him to earn a lawyers’ salary without working as hard.


His humor springs from his legal career; his humor is inspired by his knowledge of the profession, rather than from a disregard for it. As an example of his lawyerly take on the world, Carter recently wrote about a recent medical scare he experienced. After visiting the emergency room, he was checked for a potential heart attack with a battery of tests. It inspired a suggestion that the legal profession could learn from the medical profession: “Perhaps this is something we should try with our clients: ‘Jim, we’re going to keep pressing forward on this litigation, just as a precautionary matter. I’ll run up several thousand more in fees and get back to you tomorrow as to whether I think we have a case.’ ”


And more – “Within minutes after entering the emergency room, I had to indicate whether I was an organ donor and declare if I had a living will,” Carter recently wrote. “That meant I had to get comfortable with the possibility I had just eaten my last bag of chili fries. As a result, I left the hospital just happy to be alive despite the fact that I will be paying for that emergency room visit for the better part of this century.”


(To find out more about Carter, visit his Web site at Carter’s quotes were drawn from a DeKalb Bar Association Bar News article.) 


There are two options for attending Carter’s presentations. If you are commuting to the Annual Meeting, fill out the NHBA CLE form on page 15; or see page 9 to register for the 2006 NHBA Annual Meeting.

If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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