While I’m a big fan of a few of the folks writing over at Above the Law, like Elie Mystal, Mark Herrmann, Keith Lee, Tamara Tabo, and even Staci Zaretsky, when she isn’t obsessed with lady parts, the relatively new third-string assistant editor in charge, Joe Patrice, isn’t a favorite of mine.
It’s not that Patrice, of whom I knew nothing, did anything to me. It started when he was given charge of Non-Sequitors, my favorite daily feature at ATL under Elie as it highlighted funny or interesting posts in the blawgosphere that I never would have seen otherwise. But Elie used to search out those posts, find the good stuff, and then offer it with a heaping helping of Elie snark.
Patrice handled it differently. You see, blawgers get emails daily from people who want us to see and, in their dreams, promote their posts. Most are utterly gawd-awful, which is why they have to beg for eyeballs. We not only ignored these pleas because the posts sucked, but because we didn’t want to encourage the behavior, which became a favorite of SEO marketers.
Joe, on the other hand, found a way to do NS that required no effort on his part. What the rest of us deleted, Joe promoted. There they were, the core of his NS posts, with his flavor of snark to try to drum up interest in posts that were so vapid that they couldn’t get interest otherwise. Even the snark failed to measure up to Elie’s, who was incisive where Joe was insipid. So NS turned from a fun read to worthlessness.
But when Patrice started offering his deep thoughts in the interwebz, things got ugly. Just the other day, he wrote about a federal judge going off on a criminal defense lawyer trying to preserve the record when the judge sought to shut him down.
Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV, presiding over a hearing in the upcoming corruption trial of former Probation Commissioner John O’Brien and his alleged accomplices, wasn’t a happy camper yesterday when he launched into a tirade against the defense attorneys in his Boston courtroom:
When soft-spoken defense attorney Stellio Sinnis quietly objected, interrupting the judge, Saylor snapped.
“Mr. Sinnis,” Saylor screamed, “do not interrupt me!”
Responding to Saylor’s conduct Monday, defense attorney John Amabile rose, saying, “Your Honor is so entwined in this, you have lost your ability to conduct these proceedings in a fair manner.”
He continued briefly until the judge snapped.
“Mr. Amabile, I said I did not want to hear about this,” he said. “Sit down.”
Amabile requested he be heard on the facts.
“Thank you,” the judge said. “Sit down.”
“I will sit down,” Amabile said. “But I want the record to reflect I haven’t been allowed to make my argument.”
“Sit down,” the judge said.
Is this a breach of decorum? Sure. But even without hearing Judge Saylor’s side of the story, it seems like the defense counsel deserved what they got.
From what I can tell, Patrice was a lawyer, at least for a few minutes, and yet he thinks the lawyers “deserved what they got” for doing what lawyers are supposed to do? Nice. It’s not that Patrice isn’t allowed to voice his opinion. This is America. Everyone can voice their opinion, no matter how stupid it is. But on a soapbox the size of ATL’s, is it really necessary to let such ignorance be heard? Apparently so.
There’s something to be said for cultivating the ethos of a professional and there is support for the theory that clothing choices actually impact the individual’s performance. But Gross doesn’t really sell those points. Lawyers already dress up when meeting with clients in a business casual setting, so the argument that business attire fills clients with confidence is moot. Once you get beyond that claim, there’s basically no argument for dressing up in this profile other than “look at how awesome I look,” which would be a better sell if the profile wasn’t totally goofy.
The grave face staring into the middle distance while clutching reading glasses? It’s just too funny. And that hilarious pocket square! I support the Don Draper white, flat pocket square… beyond that looks goofy in a professional setting. A bunch of points just makes me think of a personal injury lawyer appealing to clients who want someone wearing more of a “lawyer costume.”
The diatribe about watches is just comedy gold. I even like watches for business attire, but pretending that smartphones aren’t the modern pocket watch is just being a curmudgeon.
Don’t want to wear suits? Who cares. Wear whatever floats your boat. But the fact that Wayne Gross wears “that hilarious pocket square” that doesn’t rise to the level of Joe Patrice’s sartorial splendor neither makes Gross “comedy gold” nor a target for infantile snark. It’s not that Patrice is just petty and mean-spirited in his use of ATL to attack Gross for having a different preference in lawyer dress, but that he calls Gross “a tool,” as is any lawyer who agrees with Gross. Better that lawyers should take their style cues from Patrice?
It’s one thing to call out a lawyer for dodging ethical duties or breaking the law, but for some pimple of a failed lawyer to use a platform like ATL to ridicule a lawyer with an accomplished career because he doesn’t like the color of his pocket square is beyond the pale. Nice tie, Joe.
That David Lat isn’t bothered enough by the way Patrice has ruined NS to send him back to his assistant manager job at Dairy Queen is up to him. But that doesn’t mean his laziness, nastiness and ignorance should pass unnoticed. And the worst part is that Patrice is a lousy writer and not funny.
Update: For those who wondered why Patrice was so wrong about the efforts to make a record before Judge Saylor despite the judge’s “annoyance,” this is why. Real lawyers, even those who claim to be “white collar defense lawyers” based upon their carrying someone else’s briefcase, know this stuff, but then, real white collar criminal defense lawyers go to court and try cases. That would seem to explain much of the problem here.