23&me

I took a clerkship the first summer of law school at a swanky firm in Tucson, mostly on the feeling that it was the snobbiest place I could make my mark. The whole firm prided itself on being snobby. It was really their forte.

There’s not much legal stuff you can expect out of a first year clerk. They’re so green they’ve got chlorophyll running through their veins. But some questions are easy enough, or low tolerance enough, that you can throw them at a first year.

I got asked by a senior parter to see if there was anyway to toss a judge based on the judge’s relationship to an attorney in a case pending before her. But I heard “party” instead of “attorney” and went with it.

In about two hours I knew the following things: 1. The class action case involved treating employees as independent contractors to avoid paying them what they deserved;

2. The employees were strippers;

3. The employers were the biggest strip joint owners in the United States;

4. The case took place in Nevada;

5. Nevada has the most corrupt judges in the country;

6. After the casinos, the strip joints are the biggest prolific contributors to judges; and

7. The judge on the case was friends…personal friends…with the big-time owner of the Crazy Horse Too, the main offender and defendant in the case.

And now you know these things, and you probably are coming to the same conclusion I did when I learned them. This case was fucked.

The whole state of Nevada was invented for grift and exploitation. Of course this was going to be the case! It was as obvious as the lyrics to any country song, you don’t go to Vegas and bet against the house. The house always wins.

But Mick, the partner didn’t know. He was out of town, so I went to Cindy for information on how to proceed. I told her what I knew and I asked how we’d (house slaves always say “we” and so did I) gotten this rotten case to start with. It turned out that one of Mick’s slime ball buddies had read about a case in Ohio or somewhere where lawyers were successful with helping strippers get their due. So he just started a class action in Nevada to do the same.

I was perplexed. The stuff I learned was all laid out all over the internet like mosaic tile, spelling out why this case would never work. And that was just the stuff I knew about. How could this have gotten to be a years’ long case in which actually money had been spent?

That was dumb of me. As Vito told Sonny, you don’t tell anyone outside of the family what you’re thinking.

Cindy spun it to make it sound like I was calling the partner dumb when really I was trying to see what I was missing.

That kind of stuff happened all the time at that firm. I know a lot better now. Like how these guys were such letches they probably didn’t care about the money poured into the suit, they just probably wanted any chance they could get to fly to Nevada on a private jet for “depositions” and “hearings.”

But, like I said, I was green. In some ways, I was wise to the world, and in others, specifically realpolitik, I was gravely naive.

The person who I am now only came about out of seeing people do underhanded things and masking them with words and motives of good intent. Only on the back end would I discover what they were really trying to do. It caused me a lot of pain to realize never to take anyone at their word and to get everything in writing. And even then to expect people to breach agreements and inflict tortious damage unto others.

None of that did I learn in law school. Just in everyday dealings with human beings who say one thing but mean another. And they will swear up and down that they’re not good liars. Parse it out. Diagram that sentence. They’re not *good* liars in about four different ways. But nonetheless they lie. It’s up to me now to decide whether to let them in once I know the truth.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: