People sometimes (infrequently, slightly more often than “not ever”) ask how I got started writing legal humor.
It was a steaming summer afternoon back in 1995. I sat in my law school office sweating footnotes. Frustrated by the strictures of law review writing requiring that every sentence be documented in a–preferably lengthy–footnote, I snapped. Exiting the article, I dashed off The World’s Greatest Law Review Article, a heavily footnoted parody of real law review articles.
Not knowing what to do with it, I sent it to the American Bar Association Journal. They published it (Oct. 1995, pp. 84-85) and The World’s Greatest Law Review Article struck a chord. Someone spotted it posted on the wall of a law school in Hong Kong. A law review editor wrote to say, “Thank you for helping me make it through life.” A managing partner at the law firm I worked at before joining academia wrote, “I never realized you were mentally ill.”
The parody led to Harmless Error, my monthly column in the A.B.A. Journal.
Here’s how it all got started: The World’s Greatest Law Review Article (art by Wayne Slezak).