Occasionally My Timing Is Less Than Optimal

Perhaps there is no perfect day to explain to your wife why dozens of strange women are talking about jumping your bones. However, some days are distinctly worse than others. Take, for instance, today, our fifteenth wedding anniversary. I remain astounded that such a smart, funny, and attractive person would be slumming with me. I keep worrying that she'll come to her senses. Thank God for the hot girl/goofy guy phenomenon.

You can find the satirical aspirations to pluck my virtue over here at Regretsy, in the comments to a post showing a letter I wrote in response to a legal threat to a pro-bono client. The underlying legal threat — which I have now learned was sent to some 42 people — is here. BoingBoing and Instapundit have picked it up, so it's getting some attention.

This is a good thing. Frivolous legal threats chill free expression. They work because the legal system is expensive and imperfect. The best way to fight them — and to fight for the First Amendment — is for all of us to band together to confront and defy legal threats. It's the reason I join with other lawyers (like the formidable Marc Randazza) in providing pro bono help to threatened bloggers, the reason I put up the Popehat signal to look for local counsel and others to help, and the reason that I choose to mix it up with the threateners.

Will you help? You can, you know. If you're a lawyer, you can be part of the pro bono network of lawyers stepping up to defy frivolous legal threats. If you're a blogger, you can write about them, and help expose thuggish attempts to chill speech. If you're just someone who reads stuff on the internet, you can tip off lawbloggers when you spot legal threats, and you can educate yourself about — and support — anti-SLAPP laws and the efforts of organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Pick up the banner, fight the good fight.

By the way — if any of the other 41 people who got this threatening email are out there, I'd be happy to try to connect you with pro bono counsel.

Reminder: though the links reveal my Seekrit Identity and the letterhead of my firm, this blog is run only by me and my friends and co-bloggers. My firm has no involvement in its content.

Last 5 posts by Ken White


  1. Andrew S. says

    This is the kind of thing that makes me wish I had gone into litigation instead of transactional corporate/securities. Fewer chances to help out like this with that kind of experience.

  2. says

    I agree wholeheartedly!! Ken, I'm just another transactional attorney, but seriously, if you ever need someone to schlep your litigation back to court for you, I would so drive up to Los Angeles to do it. You are my hero.

  3. Jeff says

    Based on the truly impressive number of "dainty lady boners" created by that letter, Ken officially wins the internet!

  4. says

    When I read the requests for naked pictures of you, I was deeply concerned. Happy anniversary, and please (really, please) no naked pictures. None.

  5. manybellsdown says

    On behalf of the Fat Jealous Losers of Regretsy, I wish you a very happy anniversary.

    And also, I think I was the one who first dropped your name into that conversation, so … uh … tell your wife I'm sorry.

  6. says

    You win the internets. That was the best thing I've read in quite some time. It's damn nice of you to help out the people who got that drivel.

    I hope you had a nice anniversary.

  7. inklets says

    I'm one of the Regretsy girls and yes, there are some drooling boys too. How ironic that you got all this attention on your wedding anniversary! May you and the Missus have many more years together!

  8. Chris says

    It lacked the "snort my taint" line that I was expecting. That might have driven off the throngs of amorous females.

  9. says

    Ken, you rock. Seriously.
    There are literally thousands of people following the goings on of this case, and your letter is making them all stand up and applaud. If you're ever near St Louis, stop by and I'll buy you a beer.

  10. says

    I'm 33 credits from a BS in Business/HR and have been considering a legal career (constitutional law) off and on for a few year – I went for the soft option because at the time we (the family) were an active duty military family.

    Now my spouse is looking at getting medically discharged and we will have a permanent residence… My current law professor is encouraging me to become a constitutional law professional; family and friends are stating that I couldn't handle the frustration and heartbreak.

    Would you be willing to e-mail me and discuss this with me?


  11. Bibbledy says

    Just stopping by to say that your Regretsy-featured letter is a beautiful example of how legal language should be. You do the Plain English movement credit, Sir!

  12. Robert says

    You really made a lot of friends over at regretsy…and the reply letter was great as always.

  13. Anna says

    Reading through that awesome letter, I was thinking, "Forget Fifty Shades of Gray. THIS is what women are looking for." And the comments section bear me out.

    You know, you can compile your legal correspondence and publish them. With the reaction at Regretsy, you just might outsell Fifty Shades of Gray. Heh.

  14. Dawn says

    Happy anniversary to both of you. I trust that the woman awesome enough to have married you will understand and appreciate that fawning throngs of women (and yes, probably a few men) want what she has. After all, if there is anything more gratifying than being desired, it is being envied.

  15. says

    Now, now, not all of the Fat Jealous Losers of Regretsy (one of whom is me) were shameless enough to offer to jump your bones on your wedding anniversary. At least one of us was shameless enough to beg you for a job on your wedding anniversary. Just gainful employment. AND NOTHING ELSE, I SWEAR.

    Seriously, though, that was a beautiful, beautiful letter you wrote. It's what I will now show to people who ask me why I went to law school. Thank you for fighting the good fight. Happy anniversary to you and your excellent wife.

  16. says

    Also, the news that 42 people received that letter astonishes me, although considering the source, it really shouldn't. I deeply hope they contact you. I want so much sunlight to be shone on this nastiness.

  17. Cjohn says

    As a Fed. clerk, I saw my share of weird, pro se lawyer written documents. Even still, there is something particularly weird about how bad that letter was, especially since Schechter apparently went to a decent/accredited school (St. Johns; plus GW for undergrad) and actually practices. 

    Then I saw the picture of his wife (young, pretty), noticed his age (65 or so), and now have a guess as to why the precipitous IQ drop.

  18. nlp says

    I think the reaction to the letter is because this is what people want lawyers to be. They are looking for someone who will fight for the little guy, who will show anger when appropriate, and who can write a letter that people can read and understand. Also, funny is good, and there are few lawyers who display that trait. Your letter let them know that the lawyers they want to believe in are still out there.

    Also, the vocabulary stunned them.

    PS There is some question, apparently, as to whether Schechter actually wrote the letter, or whether his wife logged onto his email account and sent it herself.

  19. kittyn says

    I didn't offer anything indecent, but I am a regretsy member. We are very likely to 'retire to our bunks' for well written bits of awesome, and you, Sir, did not provide a well written bit of awesome, you provided three pages of the best lawyer-ly put downs and insults known to man.

    I will extend a happy anniversary and general apology to your wife for the obscene amount of interest this generated, though :)

  20. NonnyMus says

    It was all in good fun – at least mine was – and I hope your wife got some chuckles out of it all. You have to admit it is a seriously awesome letter. I especially liked the "freakishly unprofessional" bit.

    But 42 people got that crazy threatening letter?!?! That is just wrong.

    On another note, have you received any bedazzled bajingos or one-ear blue elephants at your office yet? You may have yet more explaining to do!

    Happy Anniversary!!

  21. Rliyen says

    Congratulations on your wedding anniversary. I celebrated my 9th on the 23rd. Too true about the hot girl/goofy guy phenomenon.

  22. Rliyen says

    Also, that C&D response letter? A thing of beauty. It was the legal equivalent of the Hyaku Retsu Ken from Fist of the North Star.

    "Mudada yo. Omae wamo shinde iru."

  23. Tinkerjenn @ Regretsy says

    You made us all quiveringly happy! I hope your wife got a case of the giggles like we did!

    By the way, your use of the English language is, well, hot.

  24. Matthew Cline says

    From your response:

    does not specify even a single false statement of fact you accuse your our clients of making

    Well, after having read the original letter, it seems they did specify the claim that their products aren't handmade is false. Or at least the letter claims that your client made that claim.

    From the C&D letter:

    fools but the burden of proof is on the person making the comment each of which may be sued individually requiring separate counsel or at our election in such group as we decide.

    Can a lawyer be sanctioned for lying about the law like that?

  25. b says

    This raises a question about the marketplace of ideas. If the Regretsy folks are willing to lavish this sort of adulation on Ken, might they woo him away from his Popehattery?
    Must we compete in kind, bid for his attention? I admit I have yet to offer any blogger on this excellent site any form of carnal knowledge, just the occasional heartfelt kudos. (And pointing many of my friends to Popehat, of course.)

  26. says

    It's all just wordplay.

    The ladies at Etsy would be horrified if they saw (and smelled) Ken's urostomy bag. Not to mention the prominent facial birthmark. And don't get me started on the residual tail that requires him to wear XXXL pants.

    At least, I know I was horrified when I met Ken, and I'd been warned.

  27. Al V says

    Nicely done.

    I thought I would never hear the term "lawyer groupies" but there it is.

    Way to go all "Equalizer-ish"

  28. GeekChick says

    Ken's letter was 'teh awesome", but I still reserve my internet fan gurl lust for Clark.

  29. NoTouchy says

    First, Happy Anniversary!
    Second, your letter is a beautiful piece of art.
    Seriously. I hope one of my fellow FJLs will make a suitably bedazzled frame to display it for all to worship.
    Third, thank you for being awesome!

  30. marybean says

    About to start 2L finals. I had the amazing opportunity to work in an IP clinic with EFF on their chilling effects project and work with the amazing Susan Freiwald (though EFF turned me down for an internship :() . Your work here led me to your blog. Your work also made the daunting task ahead of me for the next two weeks seem less fruitless. Thank you! My five minutes of me time per day is up. Couldn't have spent it better!

  31. Chris says

    I wish there were a traffic complaint version of the Pro Bono First Amendment (un)caped hero. If I do something wrong in traffic, and I'm seen by a cop, I pay, and move on. If I have not, I go to court and argue my case. I cannot afford a lawyer, and the State of Arizona has found a way, to somehow circumvent the Constitutional requirement to provide one for me. And, it seems, all of the legal assistance available answers the same way, "Traffic? No, we can't help you".
    So, it's Pro Se for me. And I can argue well. I've seen enough lawyers work to know how to comport myself, but when it comes down to a cops word against yours, Judges just have a prejudice that they cannot seem to overcome. And Appellate Judges seem to be overwhelmed, or under-qualified, as I cannot get one to adequately read my memorandum for content, or apply the statutes.
    It is similar to the threat of a SLAPP suit in that it's the threat of all of the mind-numbing paperwork and time consuming standing at windows in addition to your regular life, the stress, and the sheer ineptitude of the clerks that inhabit the Courts, at least here in Tucson.
    At last count, I am approaching forty-six hours and three hundred dollars for tuning right at a 'No Left Turn' sign, and subsequently making a safe and legal (according to the lower court judge) U-turn at an intersection un-marked with a 'No U-Turn' sign.
    The judgment of the appellate court was such a mis-reading of not only my testimony in the lower court, but also my memorandum, and if it weren't tragic, would make a great comedy routine.
    I just wanted to say that this kind of injustice is happening every day, dozens of times a day in this jurisdiction, and probably uncountable times across the country.
    I am very happy that you have taken your portion of the turf on which Justice stands and defended it.
    When we do finally take the Bard's advice, I'll couch for you.

  32. Turk says

    It isn't always easy finding just the right language to tell another lawyer to go shit in a hat and pull it down over his ears, but you seemed to have nailed it.

    Good luck with the female feeding frenzy…which might have been nice 16 years ago.

  33. louise says

    I bet KH, aka the hot girl bride, spent her anniversary holding her sides in laughter, reading those entries. You are nothing if not an entertaining husband.

  34. SarahW says

    By the time I got to "bumptious" I did have the vapors. My that was remarkably well done.

  35. David says

    Ken, if you hadn't already disclosed your Sekrit Identity, we'd know it now, because the only major difference between that entirely cogent, 100% legally-grounded letter and a Popehat column is an overt invitation to taint-snorting. And that's why you're ten times the writer I'll ever be.

  36. Joe says

    When I saw the "Govern yourself accordingly." at the bottom of Schechter's letter it brought back shades of Marc Stephens and I knew we were in for witnessing a good fisking of the first order.

  37. AlphaCentauri says

    Any chance they'll write a guest column on "The Road to Regretsy" after that blog and its comments?

  38. says

    Then again, if you buy the Roissy/Citizen Renegade argument about female preselection, having it known that lots of women want to jump you may be a good thing from your wife's perspective, albeit probably not on a conscious level. As you don't, you know, act on this (new-found?) option.

  39. Felicia Herman says

    Actually, I think your wife is a lucky woman – it can be a lot of fun going along for the ride with a brilliant, principled person.

    Mazel tov on 15 years together.

  40. says

    Loved the letter you wrote back to the Schneckters, Shisters. Whatever their last name was.

    I am not one who propositioned you. I'm happily married. But I do appreciate you taking a stand for the little guys just commenting on a store (hardly illegal. LOL)

    Happy Anniversary!! I hope you got your wife a nice present and went somewhere to enjoy time away from all the buffoons on the internet and off. :)

  41. says

    Ken, you are an American hero once again. We're all proud to be your readers for this.

    I was under the impression that online comments could be considered slander and not libel, as libel was defined as written in a world where written words had to go through a publishing process, where internet posts can be off the cuff, and thus closer to slander. Is there a precedent here?

  42. Lara says

    Ken, I came across your masterpiece on Regretsy, and while I will not join the panties-flinging mob, I would like to get involved in the pro bono effort. I'm a patent attorney with my own practice, and I've responded to a few frivolous C&D letters myself; I'd love to donate my efforts to your noble cause. Please let me know how I can do that.

  43. says

    Thanks, Lara. Shoot me an email any time at ken at popehat dot com and I'll put you on the list of potential pro bono troops.