Denver Bar Association
September 2007
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Anonymous Lawyer

by Christine Nierenz

Reviewed by Christine Nierenz

From the entry dated, Thursday, May 18: "There’s an associate in the office today who has the flu, or the avian flu, or something pretty terrible. She spent the morning coughing loudly enough you can hear her down the hall. I’ve told her twice now to try and be a little more considerate. She asked if she should go home. I told her that clearly wasn’t an option given her workload, but she should definitely try and cut down on the coughing. That might even make it easier for her to get the work done."

Anonymous Lawyer is a fictional exposé detailing the absurd inner-workings of a megasize law firm on the West Coast. "Anonymous Lawyer" is a high-powered hiring attorney who keeps an anonymous blog about life at the law firm, from the antics of summer associates to partners and chairpersons of the firm. Anonymous Lawyer makes no secret from the beginning that his ultimate goal is to beat out The Jerk to become Chairman of the firm. Anonymous Lawyer thinks he’s got the inside track, given that he snuck into and measured The Jerk’s corner office with a paper clip chain and discovered his own corner office is exactly seven square feet larger. That’s 52 paper clips in each direction.

As the story proceeds, we learn about characters such as The Tax Guy, The One Who Missed Her Kid’s Funeral, The Suck Up, The Bombshell and The Musician. We also learn about practical things like using Brokeback Mountain and March of the Penguins as inspirational movies for new associates, as well as ways to torture associates, such as requesting that all papers be unstapled and restapled at a 45-degree angle instead of parallel to the margin. Other useful information includes novel ways to make charitable contributions (in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, donating a day’s worth of binder clips and Post-it flags — after all, the media failed to mention all of the office supplies destroyed by the storm, and one can never underestimate the importance of office supplies).

Anonymous Lawyer continues to blog, increasingly becomes more paranoid that his true identity has been discovered, and ultimately takes "appropriate actions." The novel closes with scandals, cover-ups, blackmail and a power struggle over a bagel.

Says Anonymous Lawyer: "Normal kids grow up wanting to be firemen and astronauts and baseball players. One kid I interviewed this past fall told me he had a book of Supreme Court justices paper dolls when he was a kid, and played with them every day. This isn’t normal."

Neither is this book. It’s an addicting, funny and entertaining read that makes light of the law firm lifestyle and the silly office games inherent in any workplace.

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