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. Moreover, although she later su sponte calls for a show cause hearing as to why the lawyer should be permitted to continue to practice before her, the judge did not stop the hearing to address the issue. She simply asked counsel to proceed. Obviously, tone is lost when you are reading a transcript. We have no idea how this really happened.
The way to avoid this issue in the first place is for lawyers to bear in mind that there is trancript being generated. It is also a good idea for lawyers, particularly in this kind of venue, to save Jerry Seinfeldlike efforts. For every time you get a laugh or someone thinks you a witty, someone else thinks you are silly or disrespectful. For the latter, this is certainly Exhibit A.
Of course, this is story is being tossed around the Internet like the dorm slut freshman year (see, I told you how hard it is to actually be funny without offending anyone), tarnishing the reputation of a guy who is probably a fine lawyer. The Internet is making heros (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 of the emails I received already have in this case. It is an unfortunate byproduct of the Internet age.