Monday, February 1, 2010

This Week on Bad Lawyer

An anonymous comment left at the Bad Lawyer post relating to Douglas Robinson, the Cincy drug addict arrested 74 times in two years-- made me think that the commentator was reading my mind. 

The Bad Lawyer Blawg was actually created as a forum to enable a Bad Lawyer to get some sleep and deal with intrusive dreams in the wake of cascading professional disaster.  This is my struggle to objectively look at who I am and what I became, and document the past and present.

The frenzied legal commentary that ensued since August, particularly in the month of January is nothing but self portraiture--the Bad Lawyer is a little bit of somebody or someone in all the stories that I've cast my focus on especially those tales of lawyers and judges gone horrible wrong.  There is a tremendous poignancy for me in relating the stories of lawyers marched into court to plead in disgrace to charges of schemes and scams even in the case  the POS lawyer who goes to jail after stealing from widower's estates to give his girlfriend breast enhancements.  I feel pain in a sharp pain in my gut, because, I see the criminal under my own hat in these stories.  The Bad Lawyer's outrage at guns and tasers, police and public officials, child molesters and the church,  tells me that beneath my own corruption and denial there beats the heart of the young guy who wanted to be a good lawyer. 

But the anonymous comment caught something that I recognize and which I alluded to the other day that in order to find even a penitent's path back to my profession this Blawg can not continue at the pace and with the focus of this last month.   It will change and while I intend to keep drawing on the news stories that interest me and motivate me as a human being and as a lawyer, this week and for the foreseeable future I begin to cope daily with the struggle to begin to put it back together, professionally.  I don't know what the future holds, further humiliation and disaster are possible if not probable--but, this blawg will narrate it all.

I will post at greater length, about the agonies of this Saturday and the scramble to timely comply with requirements set out in a letter the Supremes sent me on December 29, which I did not open until Saturday, mistakenly believing it to be a "hard copy" of what was published online.   In fact the letter the Supremes sent was a multi-page set of instructions and prohibitions upon me that layered on further humiliations and retrictions.  Amazingly, a little piece of paper fluttered out of the envelope which said in effect if you want to know what we said in our opinion finding you a Bad Lawyer log on to our website: and read it for yourself.  Consequently, Saturday was a further nadir in my psychological and emotional life.  By Sunday I felt like a piece of fruit that had been pummeled by one of those Louisville Slugger Baseball Bats--this, after I saw some sort of light ahead. 

There is a great saying among spiritual seekers that resonates with me, on the path to enlightment when you are approached by someone claiing to be the Buddha, kill the Buddha, because the first person you meet claiming to be the Buddha is always a "false Buddha."  The guy in my mirror in the morning, who thought he saw some light, was a false Buddha.   So I begin again.

Last week, I met with my accountant and a bankruptcy attorney to explore my/those options.  That was a good meeting, in the sense that for now at least I was able to exclude an easy way out of the abyss.  Sometimes, the abyss is so deep that there is no exit;  it is possible, the abyss is so deep that it works to your advantage--just a possibility, not a probability.  This week, I plan to labor in the coal mines of my tattered financial records and rummage through the bankers boxes of canceled checks tyring to bring myself in compliance with filing requirements that everyone else in America seems capable of dealing with, but that I have spectacularly failed to attend to at my very real peril.  So this will be a quiet week on the Bad Lawyer Blawg.  While I already have some posts written and "scheduled" I will see what I have left over in terms of energy or the ability to focus--to add to the portrait of the Bad Lawyer.

That is after all what this Blawg is--it is a self portrait of the Bad Lawyer. 


  1. I find anonymous comments that seek only to disparage, gratuitously and personally criticize, and generally let one know that "I anonymous, find you to be unworthy simply because I can" to be utterly dishonorable. I realize that honor is an archaic vestige of some paleozoic era when people knew how to behave, and, more important, had the courage to stand behind their words. Nevertheless I think the Bad Lawyer is trying to find and thereby restore his own lost honor. I find this to be a noble undertaking. "Anonymous" and all his/her invisible brethren, should be ignored until he/she has the honor and (self-) respect to offer both a name and a constructive comment. In other words, sometimes the Internet sucks.

  2. You are so kind, Gayle--but that anonymous comment was right on. I didn't take offense and it was a spur to speak frankly about what I need to tell, as I promised that I would, the full Hell of disgrace and dishonor, and is there anything left afterwards. In the last 72 hours my life has been a wild roller coaster with much love and much pain--and if I can hang a story to tell. How rare is it that someone goes what I may go through and can relate the quotidian sensations? I lived to advocate and it has been taken away from me, my pride, and we shall see maybe more.

    But thanks for sticking up for me, I'm honored to have you as a friend.


  3. I am sticking up for you, yes. But I also lament what this kind of comment symptomatizes, culturally. A collective (because this kind of thing is ubiquitous) refusal to take responsibility for one's own discourse, to back up one's opinions with ideas or constructive thoughts. We've become a society of opinions with precious few ideas. Opinions are cheap--they are rotgut whiskey in a paper bag. Ideas are, by contrast, the water of life. So I guess I have a personal aversion to this kind of thing.
    But you should cut yourself some slack, too. I've seen a lot of evil sh** in this world, and you, my friend, are not it.

  4. This is the poster whose comment spurred this entry by BL. I am fascinated by, and greatly helped by, what BL has offered in the past: showing how a solo/small practice litigator in an American city can end up totally twisted around without seemingly even expecting that he was headed that way. I myself am ten years or so into a practice that is no so dissimilar, and the cautionary tale that BL offers is truly valuable to me. Personally and professionally, I am helped by BL's exposition of how he got where he is and I respect him very much for his efforts.

    I have re-read my comment from this weekend and agree that its tone is overly harsh, but I stand by the message contained in it. And I take him at his word that BL found that comment to be useful, even if not comforting.

    Younger, Hopefully Not-Too-Bad-Lawyer

  5. Bad Lawyer, or BL as we've come to know him, regularly presents examples of how easily bad can develop in almost all of us. The challenge is transforming the bad into good. It's also interesting to observe how many of us have difficuly finding the good within.

    To anon above, your orig post sounded pretty cranky. Must've been having a bad day. Good for you.