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Anonymous Lawyer


Anonymous Lawyer

America's love affair with the legal profession is perhaps as old
as our Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Our citizens
are obsessed with law to an extent unknown in any other country in
the world. The reasons for this obsession, as well as the benefit
or harm it causes, are subject for debate for another time and
place. But no one can deny the importance of law in our social,
economic and cultural life. Law is America's civic religion whose
practice is portrayed regularly in our movie theaters, on
television sets and in bookstores. Americans may hate lawyers, but
they love the law and its depiction on stage, screen and in

It should come as no surprise that there is a wide range of ongoing
legal discussion and exchange of information on the Internet. For
years a website known as "Anonymous Lawyer" served as a vehicle for
insights into the world of the large law firm. More than 100,000
individuals a month enjoyed reading and commenting on the exploits
of a fictional law partner in a large Los Angeles, California law
firm. In December 2004, an article in the New York Times
revealed that Harvard law student Jeremy Blachman was the creator
of the web page. The news of Anonymous Lawyer's true identity set
literary agents and publishers into action. Blachman's web page
became the foundation for ANONYMOUS LAWYER, a hilarious novel that
takes readers inside the fictional Los Angeles firm during a summer
of intrigue, back-biting and treachery, all presented in a manner
consistent with outright merriment.

ANONYMOUS LAWYER is written in the form of a blog complete with
entries listed by date, time and author. The main author is
Anonymous Lawyer himself, the hiring partner of a major Los Angeles
law firm. Anonymous is a man who readers will love and hate and
often find impossible to fathom. How else can one attempt to
characterize a man who says about the legal profession, "Kids waste
too much time in law school thinking about justice and fairness and
not enough time learning what's important." His obsession with
billable hours manifests itself in his observation, "I understand
if an associate wants an hour off on Thanksgiving to go home and
carve a turkey, or a few minutes to open the presents on Christmas.
But what are people celebrating on Memorial Day, and why can't they
do it at work?" Any reader who has ever worked for an insensitive
employer will find something in Anonymous's obsession with the
company bottom line to remind them of that experience in their

In the fast-paced eight-week period that encompasses ANONYMOUS
LAWYER, a battle is fought over who will be the heir apparent as
chairman of the firm. Legal issues take a back seat to the battle
over who has the larger office with the better view, who gets
slighted at office functions and who can humiliate secretaries,
paralegals and young associates. Anonymous is a master of those
talents but on occasion he also can be an endearing fellow. Many of
his email communications are directed to his niece, a young law
student. It is clear that he cares for her and attempts to offer
her helpful advice. At the same time, though, he does have ulterior
motives for his counsel. Anonymous is a complex man and nothing he
does is without motives.

ANONYMOUS LAWYER has many laugh-out-loud moments, though there are
times when readers will shake their heads in sorrow or anger. If
Anonymous was a real person, I don't know if my first reaction upon
meeting him would be to punch him or to invite him out for a drink.
But Anonymous would be an unforgettable character to meet.
ANONYMOUS LAWYER promises to be a summer sensation for readers,
regardless of whether or not they practice law. One thing for
certain is that people will be talking about it on various legal
web pages across the land. I don't think we have heard the last of
Anonymous Lawyer or Jeremy Blachman, and I can hardly wait for
either to return in print.


Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman on December 22, 2010

Anonymous Lawyer
by Jeremy Blachman

  • Publication Date: April 17, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Picador
  • ISBN-10: 0312425554
  • ISBN-13: 9780312425555