Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Friday, June 27, 2003

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a bit about an ad I saw on the subway for a law firm with a Fighting Irish Leprechaun as its mascot. I don't think I beat the subject to death enough in that post, so here's more on Seamus. If you read that other post, the first 30% of this or so will look mostly (but not entirely) familiar. But the rest , I assure you, is brand new from the dark corners of my mind...

"Seamus, The Fighting Irish Leprechaun"

Throughout the New York City subway system (slogan: “we’re cleaner than the New York City sewer system, sometimes”), there’s an advertisement I often see for a certain law firm. I won’t name them again (you'll have to scroll down about 2 weeks for that), just in case I end up working for them. The ad lists a bunch of cases they’ve won regarding lead poisoning, hospital errors, and other highly-respected tort issues (not included, but probably coming soon: supermarket slip-and-fall, the rare-but-dangerous asbestos-fried chicken incident at an Applebee’s in Detroit (yes, I’m making that up), and alien abduction), along with huge dollar figures (that look even huger when expressed in pesetas or lira). And a slogan, in quotes: “We fight for kids with brain damage.” (As opposed to “we fight against kids without brain damage, but our powerful blows to the head give them brain damage”) The ad includes a silhouette of a man with a top hat and boxing gloves – “fight[ing],” I suppose, “for kids with brain damage.” And it gets better. On their web site (yes, I made it a point to remember the address so I could check it out when I got to work – it was not, as one might guess, www.I’vefallen,Ican’tgetup,, they explain the top hat / boxing glove man:

“We’re proud of being known as fighters for our clients’ rights, and the [firm’s] fighting spirit is embodied in our logo and our mascot, Seamus, our Fighting Irish Leprechaun.”

Seamus, the Fighting Irish Leprechaun. Could I make this up? Does this really help them get clients?

“Hello, law firm? I’m on the floor of the subway after being left there by aliens, and I saw your ad. I know you must be a reputable firm because you’ve got a fighting Irish leprechaun named Seamus. And leprechauns, of course, are known for their great client advocacy skills and mastery of the complicated details of tort law. I also think you’re a reputable firm because you advertise on the subway. Like with those magic brain enlargement pills I took a few weeks ago (before my lead poisoning caused it to shrink back to its normal size), I’ve learned that businesses that advertise on the subway are often best in their class.”

But it’s actually a bait-and-switch tactic. At the first client meeting:

“Wait a minute, Mr. O’Leary. I’m sure you’re a wonderful attorney – the law degree from the University of Phoenix Online notwithstanding, but I thought Seamus the Fighting Leprechaun was going to be my attorney. That’s who I signed up for.”

“You mean Seamus isn’t actually a lawyer? Not actually a real person? What are you talking about? He’s your mascot. And he fights for kids with brain damage. My kid has brain damage! Not from any specific incident, just from my genetic pool, but still – I wanted Seamus!”

Fortunately, they keep a leprechaun costume in the back closet, and can have first-year associates pretend to be Seamus at a moment’s notice, popping into client meetings and ensuring that the lawyer assigned to each case has Seamus’s seal of approval – a four-leaf clover, if I’m not mistaken.

“Oh, Seamus, thank goodness you’re here today. I know you must be very busy fighting for kids with brain damage. But Mr. O’Leary said you didn’t really exist, and that you couldn’t be my lawyer.”

“Don’t worry, ma’am. That’s just Mr. O’Leary’s brain damage talking. Every so often he loses his grip on reality and thinks I’m an imaginary character. But we’ll get him back on the psychotropic drugs, and he’ll be just fine at trial. You know, Mr. O’Leary is one of our best attorneys. He actually almost passed the bar exam!”

“Thanks, Seamus! I knew I could count on you to fight for me. Now that I know Mr. O’Leary is usually mentally competent, I’m confident that you guys can help me win my case against the people of the third moon of Neptune.”

“That’s what I’m here for. Now I’m off to a special business lunch with Guido the Fighting Mobster, Ugubu the Fighting Marathon Runner, and Shlomo the Fighting Rabbi. We’ve got an animated series coming to UPN in the fall and we’ve got to go find a script writer. I think Aaron Sorkin may be interested.”

“I used to watch the West Wing. But they talk too fast. Mr. O’Leary doesn’t talk too fast.”

“No. Like I said, Mr. O’Leary has brain damage. And he went to the University of Phoenix Online law school. Those two things are not merely a random coincidence.”

“Have fun at lunch, Seamus.”

“Thanks. Enjoy the rest of your pre-trial meeting.”

I think this is why people make lawyer jokes, and probably why lawyers suffer from higher rates of depression than people in virtually any other profession. After all, I can’t think of anything more depressing than being someone’s distant second choice for a lawyer, after a Fighting Leprechaun. Except perhaps being their third choice, after a Fighting Leprechaun, and a Complete Moron. The mascot of another law firm that advertises on the subway, actually. It’s Mikey the Complete Moron, “fighting for people who can’t afford a lawyer” with a variety of form contracts he found lying in a puddle outside Grand Central Station and a diploma from Yail University Law Schoool he bought on the Internet.

But at least he saved the tuition money.