Saturday, July 28, 2007

Batman, Robin, Batgirl and ... The Joker

There's one particular firm in the area that stands out in so many ways. They are clearly the best at what they do. They exemplify what it means to be good lawyers. They are passionate about their work, ethical to the extreme, decent and polite to all they deal with, diligent in researching the law, and to top it all off, they're interesting.

I struggled with this for a while -- what to call them, how to describe them. It came together for me recently and it starts with the guy at the top. He's Batman. I struggled with other names -- The Guru stuck with me for a while -- but I think Batman works best, and the other names follow well from it.

Batman is a living legend, known far and wide for his prowess in the field of battle ... um ... I mean the courtroom. He is a legend locally as well. Many are jealous of his fees, rumors of which border on the mythical. I have heard it said that he charges as much as $25,000 up front to take a case that some would take for less than $2500. From somewhat reliable sources (but not inside the firm) I have heard that he charges $6500-7500 for a simple local case that may require only one appearance.

Others are jealous of his reputation, thinking they are just as good as he is. I've also seen judges who think they're smarter than Batman. Both groups are wrong. I have seen Batman in action. When an opposing witness testifies, Batman fixes his eyes upon that person with a stare that penetrates into the soul. His victim ... I mean the witness ... is intimidated by a guy in a suit sitting dozens of feet away. And Batman knows the finer points of his field of law as well as anyone, not only in our state but in many others.

I first encountered Batman when he spoke at a CLE years ago, before I started my own practice. He was an inspiration then and remains so today.

Batman is not alone. Robin, his understudy, is rapidly developing a reputation of his own. He is razor-sharp. Some who know them say he is actually smarter and knows more than Batman himself, though Robin makes no such claims.

Next we have Batgirl. Batman is cloaked in an aura of mystery and seems unapproachable. In stark contrast, Batgirl is friendly and loved by all. This, however, should not be construed as weakness. Indeed, she is also well respected for her knowledge and skill as a lawyer. Somehow she easily manages to handle something that escapes many great women. She is outstanding at what she does but still well liked.

Last, and certainly not least, is my personal favorite - The Joker. As you might guess from the name, he has a sense of humor and he's not afraid to share it. Along with the brains, he brings wisdom and something lacking in most lawyers - he's got style. The Joker can deliver a line with timing and flair. He can develop a personal connection, even with hostile witnesses. He can entertain a jury without offending them. I can picture him shredding a witness on the stand, and then taking the guy out for a beer afterward. Also going along with his name, there is this subtle hint of a dark side. Maybe I'm imagining it.

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