The Handbook of Law Firm Mismanagement


With humor in the tradition of Robert Benchley and S. J. Perelman, this collection of three previous works reveals the absurdities of life in a law firm through the mythically inept firm of Fairweather, Winters & Sommers. In Advanced Law Firm Mismanagement, the firm's founder, Stanley Fairweather, discusses the good—and not-so-good—old days and looks ahead with a bit of trepidation at where the profession is going. In The Ins & Outs of Law Firm Mismanagement, lawyers are viewed through...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (30) from $1.99   
  • New (3) from $3.49   
  • Used (27) from $1.99   
Sending request ...


With humor in the tradition of Robert Benchley and S. J. Perelman, this collection of three previous works reveals the absurdities of life in a law firm through the mythically inept firm of Fairweather, Winters & Sommers. In Advanced Law Firm Mismanagement, the firm's founder, Stanley Fairweather, discusses the good—and not-so-good—old days and looks ahead with a bit of trepidation at where the profession is going. In The Ins & Outs of Law Firm Mismanagement, lawyers are viewed through the eyes of the firm's non-lawyers—secretaries, paralegals, the computer geek—who know better than anyone else how ridiculous lawyers can be. And in Was That a Tax Lawyer Who Just Flew Over? the lawyers are shown from the point of view of their clients and other outsiders.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The Handbook of Law Firm MisManagement is to the law firm experience what M*A*S*H* was to the Korean conflict.” —Chicago Bar Association Record
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780945774129
  • Publisher: Catbird Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/1990
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Arnold B. Kanter is the author of The Essential Book of Interviewing: Everything You Need to Know from Both Sides of the Table.

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

The Future Is Ours The one committee at Fairweather, Winters & Sommers for whom the question "Is there any new business?" is more than a platitude is the Committee on New Business.

The committee was formed some years ago at a session of the Long-Range Planning Committee, chaired by Herbert Gander. Here is how it all came about.

The Long-Range Planning Committee met in a weekend retreat session at the Moosetoe Lodge on the outskirts of a little town not far away from another village not far away from another little town. Members of the committee were given detailed directions on h ow to get to the lodge by Herbert Gander, himself a founding Moosetoe. The meeting was delayed a day when five of the seven committee members phoned the lodge to say that they had followed Herb's directions and they had all wound up at the same Holiday Inn , some 240 miles from the Moosetoe.

When the throng had finally arrived, Herb suggested that the committee focus its attention on what the firm would need if it were to be in existence say ten or fifteen years from now. Hiram Miltoast offered that they would certainly need a supply of legal pads. Though electronics was taking over the place, he could not see the legal pad disappearing within the decade. But Helen Laser thought that stockpiling legal pads for the next ten or fifteen years was not what the people who created the Long-Range Planning Committee had had in mind as its function.

Sheldon Horvitz thought that for the firm to be in existence, the world would have to be a different place, and therefore suggested that the firm start a Committee on Disarmament. The committee tabled the suggestion, opting to give the superpowers a tad more time to see what kind of progress they could make.

"We are going to need the ability to change with the times," said Hiram Miltoast. "We know the law is going to change, but we don't know how it will change. New laws will be passed and old laws will be repealed. Cases will be overruled and cases will be followed. Some will be distinguished and some will be cited as authority for another proposition altogether. New areas of the law will emerge, though hopefully nothing as boring as ERISA--but who knows for sure? The point is that if our firm is to survive, we've got to roll with the punches, to ride the waves, to bend but not break, to be big enough to admit our mistakes--because two wrongs don't make a right--but not so big that we can't see our mistakes because they're too tiny. Nobody is going to do it for us, we've got to walk that lonely valley by ourselves and climb every mountain. I, for one, don't favor hiding this from our partners. I think we ought to come right out and say it to them."

The Chair thanked Hiram for his remarks and motioned to the bartender not to serve him any more drinks.

Harriet Akers said she was concerned about what work the firm would have ten or fifteen years from now. "I don't think that we can assume there is going to be work here ten or fifteen years from now just because there happens to be work here today. Hell, e ven some of our largest class action suits may be over by then. We have got to be thinking of where our work will be coming from."

James Freeport agreed with Harriet Akers, saying, "I agree with Harriet Akers."

Harriet thanked James Freeport for agreeing with her, noting that she often agreed with what James said, too.

The Chair agreed with both Harriet and James, but that, to him, the question was how we could assure there would be work for the firm fifteen years from now.

James said that the key was to attract new clients, and that he had a few ideas as to how to attract them. "Clients are, after all, just people with money who don't pay bills and so should be able to be attracted by means similar to the way other people are attracted. We ought to get a chemist to work on developing a cologne that would attract clients. Since many of them seem to smoke smelly cigars, perhaps some sort of essence of cigar smoke would work. We might also start work on some type of call that th ey would respond to like 'suee suee,' though that might attract only defendants. Of course, there is also the possibility of a creative advertising campaign offering specials for the month and using a catchy new firm jingle, as our public relations firm, K eepum Fortha Public, has suggested. But I think that we should just start a Committee on New Clients."

Harriet said that, unfortunately, she had to disagree with James this time, though, as she'd said earlier, often she agreed with him. "There isn't a firm in the country that isn’t thinking about how to court new clients to get business for the firm, both s hort and long term. Our committee is supposed to be a creative one, seeking new solutions to problems. We all know that the reason we liked law school so much was that we didn't have to deal with clients. We should see whether we can come up with a way of returning to that blissful state of innocence: clientlessness. Our new committee ought to be called the Committee on New Business, not the Committee on New Clients. If we dream up a way to create business without clients, think what it will do for our recruiting efforts."

The Committee on New Business is still working on the problem.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)