Anonymous Lawyer by Jeremy Blachman

Anonymous Lawyer by   Jeremy Blachman

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Hardcover (available in trade), 272 pages, 2006

Rating: 8/10

Reason for Reading: A portable, fictional blog? Sounded intriguing.

Synopsis: Anonymous Lawyer is a hiring partner at a huge law firm, and he didn’t get where he is playing nice. He decides to start up a blog, where he chronicles life as a lawyer – the pettiness, vindictiveness, and razor-tongued attitude with which he deals with his colleagues and the victims that are known as law school interns. He’s plotting and scheming his way to the top, confidently burning bridges as he goes, but it’s bad business when the popularity of his blog means he might not be anonymous for much longer…

Why you should read this book: Anonymous Lawyer is like every lawyer joke ever written come to life in book-blog form, and that’s a good thing if you like outrageous humour. Anonymous lawyer tries to convince his niece to come work with him and abandon all dreams of doing good; gloats over the fact that his office space is oh-so-slightly bigger than his closest competitor’s space; sucks up to the chosen few and backstabs all the little folk (if he bothers to even note their existence, that is; and just generally gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘superiority complex.’ Just when you think you can officially give him the title of World’s Biggest Monster, Anonymous Lawyer comes up with another plot that takes things to a whole new level. Vicious and delicious, you’ll find it a guilty pleasure to read about this Anonymous Lawyer – you would just never, ever want to work for him.

Why you should avoid this book: A dark sense of humour is mandatory, because Anonymous Lawyer is not exactly a loveable character otherwise – the utter lack of humanity is what makes the book funny, if you’re so inclined. The only problem with the book is the problem that would plague many blogs – the short and sweet entries, misdirection, and exaggeration all mean that you’re likely to go away feeling like you don’t really know the person behind the keyboard.

Opening paragraph:

Monday, May 8
I see you. I see you walking by my office, trying to look like you have a reason to be there. But you don’t. I see the guilty look on your face. You try not to make eye contact. You try to rush past me as if you’re going to the bathroom. But the bathroom is at the other end of the hall. You think I’m naïve, but I know what you’re doing. Everyone knows. But she’s my secretary, not yours, and her candy belongs to me, not you. And if I have a say in whether or not you ever become partner at this firm – and trust me, I do – I’m not going to forget this. My secretary. My candy. Go back to your office and finish reading the addendum to the lease agreement. I don’t want to see you in the hall for at least another sixteen hours. AND STOP STEALING MY CANDY.

Fabulous quotes:

My secretary takes care of my billing for me. There’s an online system I haven’t bothered to figure out how to use. An hour on matter #97034, a quarter hour on the phone with client #43651, two hours writing a memo for #71273. All day you keep a running tally. Apparently some people don’t like doing this. I don’t see what the big deal is.
People cheat, of course. They don’t cheat maliciously, at least not in most cases. The consequences are too high if you’re caught, either by a colleague or by the client. But a half hour becomes an hour, and that break to read some movie reviews for a movie you’ll never get the chance to see suddenly ends up absorbed into the hour you spent doing work. The hour at two in the morning becomes two hours, just to penalize the client, the hour on vacation becomes three hours, and the hour spent making a paper clip chain with the client’s file open on your desk – well, you were thinking about the client, so that counts. And the hour you spent on the flight to client #43651, doing work for client #43652, gets billed to both of them. Because why shouldn’t it? You have to take the hours where you can get them. I get billed out to clients at six hundred and seventy-five dollars an hour. That’s a lot of money. This blog post is costing a client a couple hundred dollars. I take hundred-dollar shits in the bathroom. I think I feel another one coming on.

The Jerk offered up a weekend at his beach house. I enjoyed the look on his face when The Mail Guy started bidding. None of us would ever want a member of the support staff trampling around our house. We don’t even let the summer associates inside when we host a barbecue; there’s no way any of us want a junior, a secretary, or even a paralegal sitting on the couch or touching our things. Or sleeping in our bed. That one’s the worst. It ends up costing a couple thousand dollars just to get everything fumigated.
The Jerk started to panic and wanted to ratchet the price out of The Mail Guy’s range. He started throwing in some bonuses. ‘I’ll cater in all your meals. You can use the pool. I’ll include a bottle of wine from my private collection.’
What he didn’t know is that I was funding The Mail Guy’s bid, just to watch The Jerk squirm. ‘Go as high as you need to,’ I pulled The Mail Guy aside and told him before the auction started. ‘It’s my gift to you and your family. But if you tell anyone, I’m going to make sure your wife gets deported.’

Also recommended: Money by Martin Amis; 47 Rules of Highly Effective Bank Robbers by Troy Cook; Belle du Jour: Diary of an Unlikely Call Girl by Anonymous.

Also by this author: Anonymous Lawyer is Blachman’s first novel.

Author’s website:

Fun tidbit: In addition to Blachman’s blog listed above, be sure to visit the blog of Anonymous Lawyer, as well.

Would I read more by this author? Yes. I’ll be checking out the blogs on a regular basis, too.

© Lisa Yanaky 2003-2007

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