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Barman: Ping-Pong, Pathos, and Passing the Bar

Barman: Ping-Pong, Pathos, and Passing the Bar

by Alex Wellen


Alex Wellen is an excited, ambitious, and overwhelmed twenty-something law student




Alex Wellen is an excited, ambitious, and overwhelmed twenty-something law student trying to integrate into one of the most powerful and promise-filled cities in the world�New York. As he moves from graduating student to licensed lawyer�the second most important nine months he ever spent �gestating��Alex fantasizes about the glitzy, high-powered lifestyle of a Manhattan attorney. He imagines hobnobbing with the elite, eating at the best restaurants, and being a guest at the most coveted social events�but in this city of overachievers, he is reminded every step of the way that he did not go to Harvard. Can he overcome the profession�s snobbery by wearing overpriced ties from Barneys, seat-filling at the VH1 fashion awards, cavorting with B-list celebrities, and throwing TriBeCa loft parties?

Is it enough for him to look and play the part?

Along the way, we meet his fellow sufferers in the dread-inducing bar exam cram courses, his girlfriends and roommate, the law firm recruiters interested in hiring him (and those who aren�t), and the new associates who work with him at a high-profile law firm, some of whom, the odds are, won�t pass the bar.

Savvy and entertaining, Wellen�s story is The Paper Chase meets Sex and the City�a career memoir for anyone who has discovered his or her life�s goal, yet must overcome tremendous obstacles to attain it.

Barman is an honest, revealing, and hilarious portrait of a lawyer as a young man.



About the Author:

ALEX WELLEN co-created, executive-produced, and co-hosted the award-winning high-tech crime newsmagazine program CyberCrime on the TechTV cable television network. His columns, breaking news stories, and contributions appear in print and on radio and television, including NBC News, ABC News, CNN, and MSNBC. He is currently an independent producer and freelance writer living in San Francisco.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Although this volume expounds on the tribulations of those seeking to enter the legal profession from "second tier" law schools, it is nothing more than a self-congratulatory rant about how young Wellen overcame the stigma of a degree from Temple Law School to pass the New York bar exam and join a prestigious Manhattan law firm. As he banally puts it, "I was the bicoastal, high-powered New York attorney that I'd always dreamt of becoming." Of course the reality of the litigation life proves less glamorous than an episode of L.A. Law. Wellen spends his first year as an attorney poring over thousands of documents related to a patent dispute involving ink-jet printers. Small wonder that he quits after a year. All this would be tolerable-maybe even entertaining-if Wellen's writing were witty or insightful. Wellen seems to derive no intellectual pleasure from the law; instead it is all about punching the ego ticket. Perhaps because his insights into the law are so minimal, Wellen pads his book with digressions that have nothing to do with its legal premise. Readers accompany him and a friend on a whirlwind backpacking tour of Europe, which consists of worrying about trains and "speed-seeing" sites like the Parthenon. His lack of preparation, not to mention sophistication, is constantly on display, such as when he and his friend disembark on the Greek island of Naxos and he blithely confesses, "Neither of us had ever heard of it." Other digressions include the saga of finding a loft in lower Manhattan, which no one outside of New York will care about and New Yorkers themselves will find dull. In the end, Wellen cares only about spending money on things that validate him, whether hanging out at Au Bar or buying a $3,000 chair. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Newcomer Wellen describes simultaneously cocky and paranoid progress toward life as a lawyer. Young Wellen nurtured aspirations to be a kick-ass New York attorney. (To him, "attorney" sounds better than "lawyer," by the way.) He wanted the image and he wanted the money. But though dressed in great suits and square-toed black shoes, he had one handicap: he was attending a second-tier law school, not one of top 50 according to an annual survey. (Every other lawyer Wellen encountered is labeled "Tier 1.") After year two at Tier 2, engineering-school grad Alex, inventor of a unique table tennis paddle, was ready to endure law-firm recruitment rituals. It was chitchat hell, of course-"you should be Mirandized before a lunch interview." Then, after he finally landed a good job offer, came the real rite of passage: the bar exam. Wellen itemizes the requisite preparatory cram course's tribulations-charts, codes, notes, hornbooks, outlines, flash cards; all the law in nutshells-which pale in comparison to the abiding terror prompted by the exam itself. Probability of failure, degradation, and ruin was precisely calculated during the months of waiting through ailments, European backpacking, and securing a Tribeca loft. Of course, he passed. Thence to work at a major intellectual-property firm, lugging the ubiquitous litigation bag on trips to the Northwest, where inkjet cartridge arcana were disclosed to him. (He now kindly passes it on to us.) Also shared in imaginative detail are his relations with family (kid brother, parents "Oracle" and "Optimist"), friends, colleagues, and many comely women (the tone smacks occasionally of singles-bar wit). Though happy to keep his bar membership, Wellen nolonger practices law. He has fallen into the TV business, where the image and money may be even better. At once clever and shallow, glib and entertaining: legal studies lite, pretty close to Tier 1.

Product Details

Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.36(w) x 9.28(h) x 1.05(d)

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