Having trouble keeping track of the myriad lawyers involved in the Mueller investigation?
Now you can color your way to clarity.
University of La Verne law professor Diane Klein and two artist friends have published a coloring book for adults focused on the many attorneys who have played a role in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump administration’s Russia connections, depicting the likes of household names such as Michael Cohen and Jeff Sessions alongside less prominent figures such as Alex van der Zwaan and Andrew Weissmann. (Van der Zwaan is the ex-Skadden associate who was the first to be convicted during the investigation, while Weissman was one of Mueller’s top assistants.)
The book, called “The Lawyers of Trump-Russia: And Their Problems” is intended as both a lighthearted and fun exercise for lawyers, law students and political junkies who have been captivated by the investigation, as well as a learning tool for professional responsibility classes, according to Klein. It’s selling on Amazon right now.
“I often teach professional responsibility with a ‘ripped from the headlines’ approach, when possible, because there are high-profile lawyers doing various things that students should be paying attention to in order to understand the real-life challenges of professional responsibility and behaving ethically,” she said. “Obviously, this is intended to be fun. But from a more serious point of view, I really do think the lawyers who are involved in this investigation on all sides are absolutely the foot soldiers in the rule of law battle that we are engaged in.”
Klein didn’t set out to create an adult coloring book—she’s more of a puzzle person, she said. Rather, the illustrations grew out of her occasional blog posts about the Mueller investigation on Dorf on Law. She approached her longtime illustrator friend Andrea McHale to make some drawings depicting the lawyers discussed which she embedded in the blog posts. Another friend, graphic artist Alex Mannos, contributed detailed lettering to the pictures. (The lettering for Cohen, for example, evokes the iconic movie poster for “The Godfather.”)
Over time, the trio realized that they had enough illustrations to compile into a coloring book. Initial research showed that there were a few Trump-themed coloring books on the market, but nothing that zeroed in on the lawyers involved in the Mueller investigation, which Klein readily admits is a niche focus. There are plenty of big names in the book, such as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (and Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch). The much discussed Conways—Trump defender Kellyanne and Trump critic George—are in there. (The trio illustrated the picture before the Conways became the most dissected couple in Washington.) Former FBI director James Comey makes an appearance, as does Neal Katyal, who wrote the special counsel regulations when he was the acting solicitor general during the Obama administration.
Still, the timing of the book’s release was complicated. It hit the market March 25, three days after Mueller delivered the report to Attorney General Bill Barr. But Klein doesn’t see the apparent lack of a smoking gun in the report as stealing the coloring book’s thunder.
“The timing of this was always going to be tricky, because we were worried about how events might overtake us. When would it be irrelevant?” Klein said. “But until we really have our hands on the Mueller report, the truth is we really don’t know what it says. I hope for people who find the involvement of the lawyers interesting, [the book] will still be relevant.”