Hollywood and the rest of us all love films featuring lawyers and their ethical dilemmas. To Kill a Mockingbird

Hollywood and the rest of us all love films featuring lawyers and their ethical dilemmas.

If you’re at all like me (and why wouldn’t you be), a full week of work following the short Thanksgiving week seems almost cruel. Perhaps you’re seeking a way to lessen the strain of five days of nonstop labor.

If that’s the case, consider going to the movies.

This Friday, December 2, the State Bar offers a favorite program that examines the intersection of great films and ethical choices that face attorneys.

See how I just used $5 words to describe a theater-screening?

The event is titled “A New Ethical Morning at the Movies,” which would only be improved by being in the evening and having less ethics. But if that were the case, no CLE credit would be available, so I see their point.

All the detail is here.


Larry Cohen is a great presenter, and he heads a panel of other talented speakers who all know legal ethics inside-out—and who like a great flick.

Here’s hoping they have popcorn.

In the meantime, enjoy yourself a little Jackie Chiles, the great lawyer character from Seinfeld. I know it’s the small screen, not the silver screen, but it speaks loudly to lawyer ethics—and hot coffee.

Do you know what’s sexy in business? Understanding and addressing complexity. Schwing! (Image: Wikimedia Commons, which is all about the sexiness of sharing)

Do you know what’s sexy in business? Understanding and addressing complexity. Schwing! (Image: Wikimedia Commons, which is all about the sexiness of sharing)

Regular readers of this blog know that on Fridays, I sometimes seek an item that is lighter than my usual legal fare. Why have a heavy lawyerly meal when you’d really prefer a lighter snack?

Well, there are lighter days, and then there’s this. Under the strictures of the International Guild of Blog Creators and Purveyors (Local 4201), I am obligated to share with you the following news: In a highly unscientific manner, a human occupation has been deemed the … wait for it … world’s sexiest job.

Lawyers clock in at no. 4 on the got-it-going-ohhhnnn scale. But that’s not what is troubling here. Not even close.

First, head over to the interwebs for the story. It’s everywhere, so why don’t you try the Phoenix Business Journal? They provide a slideshow of those oh-so-sexy jobs in a hot-hot-hot top 10 list. And they manage to lead off with some stock art that I would guess they located by using search terms like “male, white, glasses, inappropriate office attire, pecs.” (You’re welcome, Biz Journal, for the SEO-service I’m offering here.)

If you like the beefcake but are simply too tired to click through, here is the list, from ice-cube chilly to steamin’ hot:

Engineer, architect, marketing/advertising executive, real estate developer, physician, business consultant, attorney, software developer, financial adviser, and … CEO/entrepreneur.

Where do we begin to unpack this unsexiness sandwich?

First, you really should look at what I believed was the stock art used for “attorney.” In fact, here it is (drawn, I guessed at first, from search terms like white, suit and powerful).

The Phoenix Business Journal's photo to exemplify its "attorney" category.

The Phoenix Business Journal’s photo to exemplify its “attorney” category.

Of course, why spend money on stock art when lawyer websites are filled with the real thing? And hey, that’s the identical photo on the website of Fennemore Craig! Don’t believe me?! Say hi to attorney John Balitis. A screenshot of his firm’s web page is below, along with the Business Journal’s slideshow.

I really hope John doesn’t take it personally. I mean, if national rankers had seen his toothsome photo, lawyers’ ranking would be much higher than 4!

So that takes me to the obvious issue—no, not the “interesting” state of business journalism, but the question of where this occupational ranking came from in the first place.

It came from here, the What’s Your Price website, where people pay for dates; more attractive people garner higher payouts. You can set your fee and (perhaps) get taken out. Hmmm. That sounds familiar. In fact, their business model sounds a lot like the world’s oldest profession.

screenshot what's your price

Yes, do read the small print on the bottom.

So it was “data” from this site that yielded the sexiness assessments. I mean. I can’t. I can’t even.

Adding to my skepticism is the fact that a few of these jobs must have been as amorphous and unclear to those who are willing to “date for dollars” as they are to the rest of us. I mean, “business consultant”? “Financial adviser”? Why don’t we just tell people we’re an importer/exporter and watch the dating dollars flow in?

OK, here is a final point that may salvage this Change of Venue Friday from what appear to be the dregs of a declining civilization: I wondered: Why do business publications care so much about the sexiest occupations?

It’s true; they do. As (more) evidence, here is none other than the Harvard Business Review examining the sexiest job in the 21st century. In case you were wondering (and I know you were) that job is not CEO/entrepreneur, or attorney. That job is … data scientist.

What is a data scientist? No one knows. But in 3,600 words or so, two educated fellows clue us in.

Bored? Between paid dates? Take some time to read their opus and let me know what they say. I simply couldn’t.

But I did zip down to the end to read their bios. And uh-huh, you’re right. One of the authors is a data scientist. The hot one, I assume.

Have a great—and data-driven—weekend. I’ll be importing/exporting, in case anyone wants to buy me a drink.

I would like to tell you that when I read a news story about rancid meat and jails, I did not immediately think of Arizona.

Of course, I have a commitment to honesty to readers, so I cannot do that.

But as I scanned this story out of New York City, I did find reason—small—to cheer. But first, the story.

I have never visited the jail at Rikers Island, but I have watched a lot of Law & Orders, so I can’t say I was surprised when I saw that facility connected to 65,000 pounds of spoiled meat.

As the story says, jail officials realized that the refrigeration had been off for days. So the contents were “off” too. But at least one of the leaders thought the problem could be solved with some spices.

(Hint to the wise: Do NOT search Google for “Rikers Island meat.”)

How many of us immediately think of the Seinfeld episode where a character remembers with horror his hubris as a young Army cook? Thinking he could salvage meat that was turning, he spiced and spiced—and made his entire unit sick.

Apparently, he has a future in corrections kitchens.

And of course, Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s green bologna came to mind too. Because serving past-its-prime meat to jail inmates is not just something that happens in the Bronx. They have a lot to learn from the Grand Canyon State and Maricopa County.

Enough of that. I had promised you news that cheered me. Well, here it is:

In 115 comments that followed the story, not one—NOT ONE!—mentions Arizona and Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s notorious bologna.

In what passes for progress in Arizona’s national reputation, that fact cheers me.

And on an even more more uplifting note, I steer you toward another story, this one about the bread-baking inmates at Rikers.

As the article opens:

“Each morning, and again in the afternoon, the blades of three bread-slicing machines are counted carefully. Only then does the bakery let workers go home — to their jail cells on Rikers Island.

“Twenty inmates at one of the largest jail complexes in the United States are part of a team that bakes 36,000 loaves of bread a week to feed the city’s entire prison population — about 13,000 people. Employees in orange-and-white-striped jumpsuits and surgical caps earn $31 a week churning out whole-wheat bread. There’s not an apron in sight.”

Freshly made bread leaves the oven along a conveyer belt at the Rikers Island bakery. (Bebeto Matthews/AP)

Skip the protein, stick to the carbs.