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Occasionally, one of our blog posts is a two-fer: It addresses simultaneously two topics that we care about.

Today’s post is an oh-fer: It addresses two topics, neither of which matters to us.

(The “us” is actually a “royal us” today. Since this post does not speak to drug or device law, Bexis bowed out of participating in this one, leaving Herrmann alone at the keyboard.)

Here’s the first issue we don’t care about: We got a free book in the mail!

Actually, we do care about this: We love free books. We’re avid readers! We bribe easily! We’ll write just about anything on our blog — even a book review — if you’ll send us a free book! Keep ’em coming!

It’s the related legal issue we don’t care about: As Walter Olson has reported (here and here, among other places) at Overlawyered, new FTC guidelines require bloggers to disclose freebies they’ve received when they endorse products. In the words of the FTC’s press release: “The revised Guides specify that while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.”


We’re lawyers, and we’re just barely aware of those new rules. The FTC had better launch a pretty big publicity campaign to let ma-and-pa bloggers know what’s up.

(For the record: We do a lot of legal work for drug and device companies. Would we have sinned it we hadn’t disclosed that? They never send us free samples.)

And what of the book that came in the mail?

That’s the second thing we don’t care about: We don’t write book reviews on this blog. Reviews wouldn’t typically have anything to do with drug and device law. And writing a review is so hard: You have to read. And think. And gin up something worth saying.

What a pain.

So we’re not actually going to review David Schmahmann’s new book, Nibble & Kuhn (which we received free in the mail, because some publisher foolishly thought we could do him some good).
Instead, we’re just going to steal Schmahmann’s good lines.

The book is actually a novel about a senior associate up for partner at a big law firm. He’s saddled with an unwinnable case going to trial, falling in love, blah, blah, blah.

But enough of that. We actually just wanted to share with you a couple of Schmahmann’s observations about law firms and judges.

Mind you, we don’t think any of this stuff is funny. To the contrary: It’s insulting to say these things about law firms and libelous to say them about judges.

We just wanted to share, so that you could, er, join our outrage. First, Schmahmann has this to say about Nibble & Kuhn:

“I did not know then that for firms like Nibble, courtrooms are mythic and abstract places. Nibble lawyers do not try cases. Nibble lawyers threaten to try cases, and then they settle.”

“What matters at the firm really isn’t how good a lawyer you are, though I suppose it does count for something, nor how hard you work. Rather, the determinant of success at Nibble, which means, as it does everywhere, money and power, is whether you have your own clients.”

And about judges:

“Margaret Kelly is leaving to become, God help the poor people of Massachusetts, a judge. The only real beneficiaries of this . . . are the lawyers at Nibble & Kuhn. Conflict of interest rules require that we never appear before her in court.”

“I suppose . . .that if you aren’t a lawyer and know very little about the system, Margaret may seem to be someone you would go to with a [legal problem]. I mean, if lawyering skills were somehow a function of how many panels you sit on and how many charities you support, Margaret would be at the front of the line.”

As we said, we’re not amused; we’re outraged.

And we promise that our next post will discuss an issue that actually matters to us.