General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division

Be Careful Where You Look For Inspiration

By W. Charles Bailey, Jr.

Want ideas on how to practice law? Don’t look to lawyer movies, lawyer TV, or lawyer thrillers. It will cause nothing but pain and heartache for you and those you love.

My wife is a wise woman. She has banned me from viewing or reading any of them.

Why? Because I was impossible to be around when I watched or read the stuff.

For example, in one of his books, John Grisham referred to the 11 Federal Circuits.

I told my wife. "He’s not a real lawyer," I said, "he doesn’t know how many Federal Circuits there are!"

"You’re uptight," she replied. Then, paraphrasing one of our presidents, she pointed out that, "It’s the story, stupid."

"Yeah, honey, but he holds himself out as a lawyer. He should know this stuff!"

"I’m not sure you should read these books," she replied.

Then there were the lawyer movies. These led to my virtual ban from movie theaters during the trial scenes because I yelled out objections.

During one recent movie, after shouting five objections and moving for a mistrial, I asked my wife, "Is it too much to ask for them to simply follow the rules of evidence?"

She rolled her eyes. And threw Milk Duds at me. "I told you not to come," she said.

Finally, the TV shows. Ally McBeal was the final straw.

Seeing the show, I suggested that a co-ed bathroom might be a good idea for our law firm.

My wife’s response: "Come on!"

First she gave me a history lesson. Apparently, the real reason the Equal Rights Amendment was defeated was not because of the underlying issue of equality. It was defeated because of the rumor started by its opponents that the ERA would result in unisex bathrooms! No one wanted that, even feminists.

Then she pointed out the reality of the situation. Sure you could have a co-ed bathroom if your law firm was made up of a lot of people who look (and eat) like Ally McBeal and her pals. But life isn’t like that. My firm has five people. Included among the happy throng are two men who weigh in excess of 200 pounds and who eat A LOT of fried food. There isn’t a woman in the world who wants to share a bathroom with us!

W. Charles Bailey, Jr. sneaks an occasional legal thriller in his office with Greber & Simms in Baltimore.

Back to Top