I have finally arrived. The big time is here. A am finally up for the recognition I have craved for so long. A really ,really major award. But not one like the silly leg lamp won by The Old Man in the 1984 film A Christmas Story. This one is the Real Deal. How do I know? Because I was notified in a recent email.
I (I will have you know) have been nominated for membership in an organization created for the sole purpose of recognizing lawyers of distinction. What is this organization? I should have been embarrassed to ask such a question. How could I, a practicing attorney for many years, not know anything about this group? It is only the “fastest growing legal organization in the United States”. With the implied “you idiot” that the text invites the reader to add at the end of the description.
Yes, Yours Truly has made the big time. The nomination process must be secret because they will only say that it was “a peer”. Or it could have been a “Selection Committee”. A read through the small print on the organizations website indicates that they use a patented selection process! As near as I can tell, the criteria is that a nominee must be a licensed attorney and not subject to a state bar disciplinary action in the previous ten years. Well, I like to think that there must be more to the patented process than this, because these things alone would not be much of a distinction. That would narrow the pool of lawyers up for recognition to, what, maybe 98%?
But enough of these nit-picky issues – let’s move on to the honors to which I am clearly due! What do I receive? Only a listing of my name and state in the Sunday New York Times! Not only that, I get a listing in the organization’s directory! No doubt it will include the “Esq.” designation after my name as shown in the email I received. No, silly reader, this is not the puffer of fragile egos for those who need to announce to the world that they managed to squeak through school a law degree. No sir, “Esq.” signifies that I am worthy of adoration and recognition by all the rest of you mortal slobs who have not received the distinct honor for which I am being recognized.
But wait! There’s more! There is also the genuine plaque and the genuine customized crystal statue. That statute is eleven inches tall, I’ll have you know. And it is made of the highest quality translucent crystal. Wait – the one shown in the picture is clear. Doesn’t that actually mean transparent? Oh well – this is nitpicking again, not the kind of thing expected of one who as reached this level of distinction. And my personal information is etched into it “with painstaking precision”. It certainly isn’t their fault that my last name is long enough that they break it into two lines as was shown in the email. I am sure it was indeed painstaking to decide where to divide that name for maximum aesthetic value.
It is a bit of a downer to see in more of the small print that the terms “excellent”, “excellence” and “distinguished” actually refer to this august organization and not to me or any of the other
excellent and distinguished members. Oh well, I guess there is great merit in being a member so that any excellence and distinction impliedly rubs off once I accept the membership. Yes, that must be it – didn’t our Mothers tell us that we are known by the company we keep? Being part of an Excellent and Distinguished organization would certainly put an added bounce in my step.
And so many other benefits! Like, I get to use their logo! And I get little brochures made to promote little old moi. By now you are probably wondering whether there is some kind of catch. Oh, no – how suspicious of you to ask! No sir, all I need to do to be allowed to associate with the excellence and distinguishment of this august group is to pay them a mere $475 to $775 (depending on whether I want the crystal statute with my name on two lines – See, I told you it was high quality!)
Sure, you may question the fact that this fee is required to be paid every year, but then each year I would get a new award (at least I think so) and could soon have a shelf-full of top-quality crystal plaques with my last name spelled out in two lines. So no, I do not believe for even a second that this organization exists purely to massage the fragile egos of insecure attorneys in order to turn a quick buck. (Or, depending on the fragility of such egos, multiple years of quick bucks.) Furthermore, it is absolutely not a really expensive online marketing scam disguised as a recognition of the esteem in which I am held by peers in my profession. And finally, it is absolutely not a kind of reverse intelligence test that would better serve as a directory of professionals to NOT call if one is trying to avoid hiring a lawyer whose ego’s size is matched only by his level of gullibility. As I say, absolutely not. This is exactly what I said up front – a Major Award.
As a final matter, you may have noticed that I have not shared the name of this most “excellent” and “distinguished” organization. This is absolutely not so that it can never be said that I have failed to not treat this organization with the utmost respect and lack of derision. (I normally charge extra for that bonanza of negatives thrown into a sentence so that only the most patient of readers can discern what has actually just been said – but we are friends, so no charge. And NOW can you see why I have been nominated?) No, I want to prevent the stampede of the unqualified from trying to get nominated too so that they will mislead people about their qualifications with their genuine crystal plaques that are both transparent and translucent at the same time, on which they can have their last names stretched out to cover two lines.
It is selfless actions like this that get a fellow nominated for major awards.
Image – Creative Commons license via email@example.com