The Maryland Personal Injury Lawyer Blog moves back to Florida again this week where a partner at McDermott Will & Emery, and the head of its bankruptcy department, told a federal judge she was “a few french fries short of a Happy Meal.” I have now received an email on this story from 5 different attorneys, including my brother-in-law in Arizona.
Actually, the full quote is “I suggest to you with respect, Your Honor, that you’re a few French fries short of a Happy Meal in terms of what’s likely to take place.” This is probably directed to the way the details of the bankruptcy plan would unfold. Although she later su sponte calls for a show cause hearing why the lawyer should be permitted to continue to practice before her, the judge did not stop the hearing to address the issue. She asked the counsel to proceed. When reading a transcript, the tone is lost. We do not know how this really happened.
The way to avoid this issue in the first place is for lawyers to remember there is a trancript being generated. It is also a wonderful idea for lawyers, particularly in this kind of venue, to save Jerry Seinfeld-like efforts. Every time you get a laugh or someone thinks you are witty, someone else thinks you are silly or disrespectful. For the latter, this is Exhibit A.
This is a story is being tossed around the Internet like the dorm slut freshman year (see, I told you how hard it is to be funny without offending anyone), tarnishing the reputation of a guy who is probably a fine lawyer. The Internet is making heroes (albeit rarely) and idiots (more often the case) out of people every single day. Sometimes it is warranted, I’m sure. But more often than not, it is a decent person who either made an isolated mistake or the quote or action is offered completely out of context, as some emails I received already have in this case. It is an unfortunate byproduct of the Internet age.