I Was Born This Way

     All right. I admit it.
     I like to nitpick. I was born that way.
     So when I see an odd phrase in a lawsuit, I can’t help but wonder what it means.
     The other day a lawsuit was filed in New York on behalf of one Lady Gaga over trademark rights. It contained this sentence:
     “Time and Forbes magazines have recognized Lady Gaga as one of the most recognized and ‘influential celebrities’ and one of the most ‘powerful women’ in the world.”
     Powerful woman? Really?
     What does that mean? (And, for that matter, why is it mentioned in a lawsuit?)
     I like Lady Gaga, but look at her. She’s a skinny little thing. Even I, a crotchety old guy who got picked last for teams in school, could probably beat her at arm wrestling.
     What sort of power does she have?
     Is it some insidious, secret power that only her lawyers know about? Should I be checking the reactions of people around me when one of her songs starts playing?
     Come on. It’s not as if she’s Oprah. Gaga can’t get presidents elected.
     Wait … nerd fantasy coming over me. Remember how much fun it used to be to debate whether, say, Superman could defeat The Mighty Thor?
     Gaga vs. Oprah! Two out of three falls.
     I really need to find a new hobby….
     
     DEFINING PRACTICE. Here’s another esoteric semantic question for you: how do you define a law firm? What makes it a firm?
     If you’re referring clients to individual lawyers who don’t share an office or staff, isn’t that a referral service?
     Or is it Law Firm 2.0 (which apparently is a registered trademark).
     I asked these questions of myself after spotting a press release last week from an Atlanta-based firm called FSB FisherBroyles. The headline was “The Next Generation Law Firm”! Expands Its Federal Government Contracts Practice.”
     What does that mean?
     Well, first off, apparently expanding the federal contracts practice consists of adding one lawyer to the roster who, at least as far as I can tell, can work in her underwear in her basement. It doesn’t look like she’s moving to Atlanta.
     And the Next Generation?
     Well, according to the firm website, “FSB put the traditional law firm structure in a clean room and dismantled it. This new law firm 2.0 model discards costly inefficiencies such as expensive overhead, inexperienced attorneys, and the multi-layered approach to delivery of services.”
     So the clean room is a big mess now?
     I’ve been trying for days to picture this. How do you fit a law firm structure into a room? Why would you want to? Who’s going to clean it up after all that dismantling?
     There is further explanation in the press release: “FSB is the first national, cloud-based law firm that has integrated the concepts of ‘cloud computing’ and ‘cloud commuting’ to create unparalleled economy and efficiency in the practice of law and the delivery of legal services.”
     Yes, there are lawyers up in the clouds. It’s not raining men, it’s raining lawyers.
     And what it really means is that they can work from home and not have to pay for furniture and secretaries and rooms with views.
     It’s a perfectly reasonable idea.
     Everything old is translated into computer-speak and put into press releases.
     I wonder how Lady Gaga feels about this….

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