In The Devil’s Advocate, Al Pacino’s character wins the medal for “best unintentionally funny lawyer spoof of all time.” He plays John Milton (which makes me think that both director Taylor Hackford and Spike Lee took the same “How to Name Your Character” class in film school), who’s a big shot partner at a big time New York City firm, who also happens to be Satan.
Pretty funny, right? Except that this movie with this premise that’s spawned hundreds of bad lawyer-soul-selling jokes isn’t a comedy. It’s a thriller. And Keanu Reeves is in it, too. Even funnier, right?
Anyway, Al Pacino as a lawyer who’s also Satan (wait, is that redundant? Ha!) is tough entertainment to beat in the world of jurisprudence, but Rick Eid may have topped it with Living the Dream.
Debuting on Bitter Lawyer – a new site built for big firm burnouts when Above the Law is no longer relevant – the series watches Nick Conley (played by John T. Woods) find his bearings as a first year at the country’s most prestigious law firm, from awkward interview to awkward partner interactions to more awkward partner interactions.
Like gym rats, lawyers haven’t been given enough comedic due dilligence. But with seven years experience as an associate at Skadden in a former life and 100 days of unpaid vacation earlier this year in his current life, Eid makes sure they get their proper judgement:
“Before I became a writer, I was an associate at a large New York law firm. I hated it. Drove me insane. But like a good New England solider, I practiced for seven years…To this day, whenever I hang out with ex-lawyer friends, we can’t help but talk for hours about our lives as big-firm tools. Though the stories are laced with bitterness and rage, they’re definitely more funny than sad.
So during a long and unproductive writers’ strike this past year, I decided to shoot a comedy series about the experiences of a middle class, second-tier law school graduate who lands the job of his dreams at the world’s most prestigious law firm. (As they say, write what you know.)…The stories came from everywhere – my life as a lawyer, a student, and yes, every once in a while, my imagination.”
The production’s a little unpolished, the scripts a little loose, some characters a little off (Nick’s boss would feel better placed in a series satirizing investment bankers or big business) but the results are still funny. Insider humor that’s accessible to all but especially enjoyable to anyone who is, was, or knows a low-level associate at a fancy pants law firm.
My favorite scene so far (Spoiler Alert) is when Nick finds out he gets an offer from Sullivan & Moore and then gets advice not to take it from a guy who worked Mergers and Acquisitions there for four years. And the guy is wearing a baseball cap backwards. And a red sequin dress. Talk about burnout!