Bar News - March 9, 2007
New Lawyers’ Column: “Anonymous Lawyer” By Jeremy Blachman
By: A book review by Jessica Storey
Why should you read this novel? To laugh.
Anonymous Lawyer is composed of the collected blog entries and e-mails, of a fictional hiring partner at a large firm in a major American city. Generally, it tells the satirical story of the title character’s rise to become chairman of the firm. What makes the book great reading, however, is Anonymous Lawyer’s skewed perspective on life (questions about the work/life balance are a red flag during recruitment season) and people (I include paralegals and associates, but Anonymous Lawyer does not).
The author, Jeremy Blachman, a 2005 graduate of Harvard Law School, is not a hiring partner at a law firm. He has, however, written a hilarious book about the profession of law and the personality types that make every attorney across the nation the butt of lawyer jokes. His book has received wide acclaim since its publication in 2006, and has itself been the subject of many blogs.
Easy to read in an afternoon’s sitting, the book is light and entertaining. It is composed of brief blogs by Anonymous Lawyer and e-mails to and from Anonymous Niece, an idealistic senior at Stanford who has been accepted at Yale Law School. It is ideally suited to being picked up and put down at a moment’s notice—for those who only have time for, or prefer, just a quick shot of humor in their day.
Whether you are a new lawyer or an experienced lawyer, a big firm lawyer or a solo practitioner, a lawyer down in the trenches and at the top of your game, or a recovering lawyer, you’ll find something to laugh out loud about in this book. Amidst the insults and busy work heaped on everyone he works with, everyone he wouldn’t work with, and his family, Anonymous Lawyer caustically points out how a legal career can “squeeze that ‘helping people’ crap right out” and that the rest of your life equals thousands and thousands of billable hours.
And, if you are in the market, Anonymous Lawyer provides creative ideas for torturing associates (and partners)—ideas which are pretty funny, unless they have happened to you. He also provides useful advice for climbing the law firm ladder, such as synchronizing your bathroom habits with those of the chairman of the firm.
Anonymous Lawyer is available in print and on CD and tape (so if you don’t have time to read it, you can enjoy listening to it). If you can’t get enough of the book, or don’t want to fork over the $34.95 to buy it, you can get a taste of Blachman’s humor and writing style by checking out the Anonymous Lawyer blog at http://anonymouslawyer.blogspot.com/.
Attorney Jessica E. Storey of Orr & Reno, a NH Bar member since 2005, is a member of the New Lawyers’ Committee.