Jeremy Blachman: Author, Anonymous Lawyer by LawCrossing


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   LAW STAR                                                                                     1. 800.973.1177

                            Jeremy Blachman: Author, Anonymous Lawyer
                            [By Charisse Dengler]
                            Jeremy Blachman, the brains behind the hit Blogspot blog Anonymous Lawyer , recently went a step further in
                            documenting the exploits of his mysteriously anonymous main character. In his brand-new book, Anonymous Lawyer ,
                            Blachman elaborates on the life and times of Anonymous Lawyer, bringing in new characters and events while
                            throwing in plenty of the sarcastic humor that has made his blog both wildly popular and endlessly entertaining.

Blachman, who started his Anonymous                 experiences and by imagining “the harshest,      was already fairly well-developed; and a lot
Lawyer blog after watching a variety of             most wicked hiring partner” that he could.       of the ideas were already there, even though
parody blogs crop up on the Internet, started                                                        90 percent of the material was new,” he said.
out blogging about his law school experience        “I thought about the kinds of stupid things I
under his own name. However, once he                did in my interviews—asking dumb questions       “The biggest difference between blog and
noticed a shortage of blogs being written by        about work-life balance, worrying about          book is that the blog didn’t have a story,” he
partners in law firms, he decided to go where       whether I was using the right knife to butter    said. “There was no dramatic arc, no cast
no blawger had gone before.                         my bread at lunch, not knowing enough about      of characters beyond Anonymous Lawyer,
                                                    the firm—and what I could imagine was going      no forward motion. So, I had to start from
“I started the Anonymous Lawyer blog mostly         through the partner’s mind,” he said.            scratch and figure out what kinds of stories
on a whim, just to see what would happen                                                             I could tell with this character, what his
                                                    Once he started his summer associate             motivations were, what goal could drive an
if I tried to write funny entries from the
                                                    position, he began to use his experiences at     entire novel.”
perspective of a hiring partner,” Blachman
                                                    the firm for inspiration.
said. “I expected the blog would last maybe
                                                                                                     Blachman finally decided he would build the
a week and then I’d run out of things to say,
                                                    “When the summer started, getting ideas          plot around Anonymous Lawyer’s quest for
or no one would be reading and I’d forget
                                                    for entries was pretty easy. I would notice      the position of chairman of his firm, and he
about it. But the readership built up fairly
                                                    little things throughout the day and then        began creating other characters (not found
quickly, and I found that I did have things
                                                    exaggerate them or flip them around              in the blog) and events that would help move
to say in the voice of this character, even
                                                    to create posts. Oftentimes, emails or           the plot toward that goal.
though at the time the blog started, I hadn’t
                                                    comments from readers have helped inspire
worked at a firm at all and was basing it all
                                                    entries. And now that the character is           “I spent about four months revising and
on the interviews and things I’d heard and
                                                    pretty well-developed and his voice is fairly    revising and revising—rewriting the ending
my imagination. But very quickly, before my
                                                    consistent, I can develop a post out of pretty   a few times until it felt right, swapping some
summer associate job even started, I had
                                                    much anything in the news or things I hear       characters out and putting new ones in,
about 700 readers a day.”
                                                    when talking to friends.”                        changing a bunch of the blog posts—until it
                                                                                                     felt like it was a satisfying book from start to
The main character in Blachman’s
                                                    It was after an article about his Anonymous      finish,” he said.
Anonymous Lawyer blog is based on a                 Lawyer blog appeared in the New York
combination of the attorneys he met while
                                                    Times in December 2004 that Blachman             In the book, Anonymous Lawyer, described
interviewing for a job after his 2L year.
                                                    was approached by publishers about a book        by Publisher’s Weekly as “ill-humored” and
                                                    deal. At first, he was a bit overwhelmed and     “ill-tempered,” is a hiring partner at a large
“I think I did 20 first-round interviews and
                                                    nervous at the thought of turning the blog       corporate firm in Los Angeles who starts a
then seven or eight callbacks—so I’d met
                                                    into a book. He said there were times when       weblog to chronicle his frustrations with big-
maybe 50 attorneys; and they all seemed sort
                                                    he wasn’t sure the blog format would work        firm life. Written as a collection of blog posts
of the same,” he said. “There was definitely
                                                    over the course of an entire book, but he kept   and emails, the book has been described by
one character I felt like I could create from
                                                    at it. A mere eight months later, he turned in   USA Today as “wickedly amusing” and by
all of them together.”
                                                    his final draft.                                 Publisher’s Weekly as “side-achingly funny.”

At first, Blachman got most of his ideas            “I was building off of almost 60,000 words of    Blachman first became interested in
for the blog entries from his own interview         source material on the blog. So the character    pursuing a professional writing career while

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   LAW STAR                                                                                     1. 800.973.1177

writing songs and sketches for Princeton’s         blogging about his law school experience          And maybe nothing will happen, but at least
Triangle Club as an undergraduate, and the         and started writing for whatever projects he      give yourself the chance for good fortune to
Triangle Club was also where he met Robert         could find, including the school’s a cappella     strike.”
Duke and Jay Kerr, whom he lists among his         group and parody show.
mentors.                                                                                             In his own life, Blachman is grateful for one
                                                   “While most of my classmates were looking         of his law professors, Elizabeth Warren. She
“They taught me how to write—and especially        for law firm jobs for the summer after            encouraged him to do what he wanted and
how to rewrite—how to find a punch line;           L year, I ended up splitting my summer           not what was expected of him.
how to structure a piece of writing with a         interning for a publishing company and a
                                                                                                     “She gave a talk to our section [during] L
beginning, middle, and an end—and they             political advertising firm,” he said. “So, my
                                                                                                     year about how the way to find passion in
awakened in me a passion for writing that I        goal was always to use the three years at law
                                                                                                     what you do for a living is to do it, to pursue
never knew I had,” he said.                        school to find a path to becoming a writer.”
                                                                                                     what you love, and hopefully find that you can
                                                                                                     make that intersect with a career,” he said.
Upon graduation from Princeton, he got a job       Blachman, who is 27 years old, graduated
                                                                                                     “[She] definitely inspired me to realize it’s
working for a software company and began           from Harvard Law School in 2005 and
                                                                                                     okay to go to law school and then use the law
writing on the side. However, after a while,       currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, where he’s
                                                                                                     degree in whatever way would help me find
Blachman became dissatisfied with the work,        working on various writing projects, including
                                                                                                     the career I want to have, even if it’s not the
feeling like it wasn’t getting him any closer to   another book. At this point in his life, he has
                                                                                                     traditional path.”
his dreams; and that’s when he decided to go       no intention of practicing law.
to law school.
                                                   “If I need to practice law at some point down     Anonymous Lawyer hit bookstore shelves
                                                   the road, I will; but for now, I’m hoping to      on July 25. For more information, visit
“I figured that law school would buy
                                                   continue to pursue writing opportunities,”        Blachman’s blog at
me—albeit at an expensive cost—three years
                                                   he said.                                
to figure out how to be a writer and time to
write; but at the same time, I’d end up with a
                                                   When asked if he had any advice for law           ON THE NET
degree that had real value and would give me
                                                   students, Blachman responded, “If you
a pretty solid backup plan if the writing didn’t
                                                   have passions, if there are things you wish       Anonymous Lawyer
work out,” he said.
                                                   you could pursue after law school, don’t
                                                   necessarily be resigned to ending up at a
Blachman admits that he went to law school
                                                   firm because that’s what everyone does.           Anonymous Law Firm
to figure out how to be a writer, not a lawyer;
                                                   Think about what you can be doing to pursue
and the first thing he did when he got there
                                                   your passions while at law school, and take
was email the Harvard Lampoon and the
                                                   steps to meet people who can help—to get          Princeton Triangle Club
law school newspaper. He went on to begin
                                                   your product out there and to get noticed.


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