John G. Browning 2018-01-23 08:21:41
Love Is in the Air— Even for Lawyers Ah, Valentine’s Day. With Cupid’s arrows zinging their way to their marks and people everywhere celebrating love— to the delight of florists, candy makers, and greeting card companies worldwide— it’s a holiday that brings out the romantic in everyone. Yes, even us lawyers. After all, lawyer jokes aside, aren’t we just as deserving of the chance to love and be loved as any other profession? Sure, perhaps the concept of “Lawyers in Love” doesn’t set everybody’s heart aflutter; even the Jackson Browne song found the topic somewhat disquieting. But attorneys are as romantic as anyone else—we just have nerdy ways of showing it. For example, last year the Florida Bar, the American Bar Association, and other bar groups decided to mark the day by tweeting legal valentine hashtags. One homemade card featured a drawing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a heartshaped word bubble that read “You violated the Fifth Amendment when you took my heart without due process.” Another tweet said, “I’ve read @BryanAGarner’s Redbook/ Searched the #Bluebook, too/ I can’t find the format/ To properly say I love you.” In keeping with that nerdy vein, another went “Roses are red/ the Book is Blue/ I’ve cited my love/ see supra n. 2.” Even Texas’ “Tweeter Laureate,” Judge Don Willett, got into the spirit, tweeting a photo of him dancing with his wife on their wedding day with the geeky-but-sweet caption “Hold me in contempt, but just hold me.” Not to be outdone, the hashtag #AppellateValentines was also trending on Twitter, resulting in a cascade of inside jokes and questionable puns that only a lawyer could appreciate. They included such tweets as “You had me at petition granted,” and “I cannot stay the beating of my heart because of your appeal.” One mixed Shakespeare, asking “Shall I compare thee to an error reversed?” while another preferred verse to sonnets, saying “The decision I sought/ Did not at first come to fruition/ Now open your heart/ And grant my cert petition.” Still others put it more bluntly, stating “You can intervene in my heart any day,” and “It may be a mistake/ To ask you to stay/ If it’s invited error/ Let’s consider it waived.” Then there were the contributions by lawyers from other specialties, like the litigator who wrote “Roses are red/ Violets are plenty/ Please don’t summarily dismiss my affections/ Under Rule 20.” Constitutional scholars contributed such gems as “My heart doesn’t need a rational basis to love you,” “Are you from New London, Connecticut? Because you’ve taken my heart,” and “Roses are red/ Chocolate is decadent/ My love for you/ Is more binding than precedent.” A trademark lawyer even chimed in with “Devoid of all guile/ Without any remorse/ I find your beauty/ An indicator of source.” Law schools even jumped on the bandwagon, with the University of California Hastings College of the Law sharing a series of law-themed Valentine’s Day cards (by Someecards). This line featured such memorable law-inspiring sentiments as “I love you and the Parol Evidence Rule bars me from providing extrinsic evidence that I don’t;” “I love you more than a reasonable person;” “The M’Naghten test establishes that I’m insanely in love with you;” and “This valentine ensures our love now satisfies the Statute of Frauds.” So, yes, love is for lawyers, too. Maybe you’ve already found that special person who loves you because of—or in spite of—the fact that your mind was warped by three years of law school and a career spent “thinking like a lawyer.” Or maybe you haven’t, and are still searching for the one (or at least someone to whom you can murmur suggestively “Want to watch oral argument and chill?”). At least now you have some legally themed Valentine’s Day sayings to share with your significant other. JOHN G. BROWNING is a partner in Passman & Jones in Dallas, where he handles commercial litigation, employment, health care, and personal injury defense matters in state and federal courts. He is an award-winning legal journalist for his syndicated column, “Legally Speaking,” and is the author of the Social Media and Litigation Practice Guide and a forthcoming casebook on social media and the law. He is an adjunct professor at SMU Dedman School of Law. THINK YOU’RE FUNNY TOO? PROVE IT! Send your humorous articles of 600 words to firstname.lastname@example.org. Send deposition and trial excerpts to email@example.com.
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