Bill Domnarski has been writing about the law and lawyers for decades, and has been published widely in such periodicals as the LA Bar Daily and ALM Publications. He has collected many of his essays, and written several new ones, presented for the first time in this thought-provoking book. He's a tough guy and he pulls no punches, especially when it comes to judges, successful trial lawyers, and large firm lawyers. The essays are extensively researched and are more eclectic than idiosyncratic. In 40 essays he covers perhaps not all the waterfront of practicing law and the legal profession, but quite a bit of it. The 40 essays are organized into ten topics:
- The profession as organized
- Lawyerly tasks
- Lawyer civility
- Legal fees
- Lawyer clothes and offices
- Reading and writing
- Thinking like a lawyer
- Lawyer arrogance
- The nature of lawyering, and
- Lawyers and judicial unpleasantness
In addition, you'll then find ten essays on judicial opinions, as the engaged lawyer both derives from reading judicial opinions the various pleasures of reading and secures his place in the profession by that act of reading. The judicial essays are a by-product of reading through about two hundred volumes of the Federal Reporter for a five year period. Some essays are organized around themes like:
- Commentary on the work of lawyers that was so bad the courts felt compelled to discuss it
- A recent trend in federal circuit opinion to invoke references to popular culture
- The recent phenomenon of judges feeling compelled to add bits of information in their opinions that do not qualify as even digressions
- The well-established practice of distilling the subject, meaning, and sometimes sensibility of a case into an opening paragraph, and much more.
If you're looking for a brutal, raw and honest commentary on judges, lawyers, and the law, look no further. Written by a witty and engaging personal essayist, this book will make you laugh, but also provide valuable perspective and insight on the legal profession.
Listen to Elizabeth Kelley interview William Domnarski on AuthorChats Radio!
Read this Stellar Review!
[Excerpt] There are fifty essays alphabetically listed by title. There are forty-one essays about lawyers, which include three about the effect of certain judges on lawyers. They can be arranged into ten groups for the reader looking to pursue a particular theme or subject: (1) the profession as organized, (2) law-yerly tasks, (3) lawyer civility, (4) legal fees, (5) lawyer clothes and offices, (6) reading and writing, (7) thinking like a lawyer, (8) lawyer arrogance, (9) the nature of lawyering, and (10) lawyers and judicial unpleasantness. There is even an essay on “Dressing for Success” discussing the way lawyers dress and what signals they are sending with their sartorial choices. Bill tells me that he wishes I would have written my post on women and courtroom attire earlier so he could have referred to it, but he holds his cards close to the vest on whether I would have liked his discussion of my failed attempt at humor. Bill is a tough guy, and he pulls no punches. Importantly, there are also essays on judges. Domnarski does not shrink from skewering judges. I like that about the book. In one essay on judges entitled I am right because I say I am, the author introduces the subject of “black robe-itis...
Praise for Swimming in Deep Water and William Domnarski:
"In a delectable collection of essays about the legal profession, Swimming in Deep Water serves up generous portions of wit, wisdom and insight. An old advertising slogan is apt: ''I'll bet you can't eat just one!'"
-- Steven J. Harper, author of The Lawyer Bubble—A Profession in Crisis, and other books
"In this wide-ranging collection of elegant and erudite essays, Domnarski draws on his extensive knowledge of law and literature to shed light on the modern legal profession during a time of great challenges. Whether you agree or disagree with his particular conclusions, you will enjoy reading his insightful and thought-provoking takes on what it means to live a life in the law."
--David Lat, Founder and Managing Editor, Above The Law
“In fifty highly readable essays, Domnarski expertly ranges over many of the most significant matters affecting the bar, the judiciary, and legal education today. Swimming in Deep Water deftly captures this unique moment in our profession’s history, and is sure to prompt reflection in readers at any stage of their careers.”
--Chad Oldfather, Professor of Law, Marquette University School of Law
“For anyone interested in the current state of the legal profession, this elegant collection of essays is going to prove a delight. Covering topics ranging from whiny law firm associates to the arrogance of those in black robes, Domnarski manages to combine humor, insight and elegant prose in every one of his essays.”
--Mitu Gulati, Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law