man ready to write

Of Blustering, Bayonets and Stamps

Our profession is one of writing.  Letters, pleadings, briefs, memos, notes, calendar entries, blog entries, emails, notations on exhibits, notations on drafts, notations on notations - our world is filled with words and their use and effect.

Every lawyer has his own style of writing, and they vary in every way under the sun.  It is a pleasure to get letters from certain lawyers that take their writing seriously, and treat it as an art form.

A distinguished colleague of mine (who shall remain nameless) is one such lawyer.  He is a lover of history and is quite adept at recalling specific facts and stories and applying them to current scenarios.  At one settlement conference that involved division of personal property, he scolded his client, as well as mine, and launched into a poem.  The gist of the poem was the pettiness of spending inordinate amounts of time dividing "baubles".  He stormed out of the room.  We settled the case not long thereafter.

Today I received a letter from him advising that visitation with a child is a right but not an obligation.  And that his client cannot have visitation "compelled upon him by you or by the government by force of bayonet."  In my reply letter I will assure him that bayonets are not in the arsenal that we plan to use.

A couple of years ago I sent (what I felt) was a good and scathing letter to him.  He responded with a letter that described my posture as mere "blusters" and "blowings."


There is also the persistent story of a lawyer from a few decades ago that had an infamous stamp or two in his desk drawer.  As he would peruse his mail he would stamp certain letters and send them back to the lawyer that had sent him the letter in the first place.

One stamp had one word on it..."Bulls**t".  The other had an expletive and then the word "you."  And then the ominous final words..."Strong Letter to Follow."

The stamping came to an end when the lawyer sent a letter out not to the intended recipient, but mistakenly to the local judge.  The judge called and advised the lawyer to come to his office forthwith..."And bring that damn stamp with you."

To the best of anyone's recollection, the stamp was never seen again after that day.