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Litigator Ray Bilbeaux likes to make lawyers laugh. So the associate at Cooley Godward in Palo Alto, Calif., recently launched an online newsletter, dubbed Scaldingcoffee.com, to poke fun at the legal profession. The debut issue includes a send-up of the infamous suit against McDonald’s, in which a woman won a multimillion verdict for injuries incurred from spilling a cup of hot coffee on herself. This case “is emblematic of what many perceive is wrong with the law,” says Bilbeaux. Mocking the verdict, Bilbeaux reports about a fictional $2.3 million jury award to a man who suffered “freezer burns” from spilling a McDonald’s soda in his lap. In another article, Bilbeaux describes a suit brought by the tap dancing industry’s “Big Three” against a Web site that allows consumers to download dance steps for free. Bilbeaux may have found his comedic niche. “I’ve gotten tons of e-mail” from hundreds of people around the country, Bilbeaux says. “They either find it funny, or the stories ring true for them.” Bilbeaux initially e-mailed the newsletter to friends and acquaintances, who forwarded it along to others. He sent out a press release about the online publication last month to drum up more readers. The writing biz is not new for Bilbeaux. He wrote a humorous column for his law school newspaper and more recently crafted a series of limericks about the O.J. Simpson trial. In addition, Bilbeaux wrote an as yet unpublished account of his experiences as a tour guide for Universal Studios. “I had a lot of encounters with celebrities,” Bilbeaux says, noting that George Michael once stepped on his sunglasses. Bilbeaux got the tour guide gig through Hollywood connections. His father created special effects, such as building the sharks in Jaws, for Universal Studios. Bilbeaux wants to entertain people in a different way. “I don’t expect Scaldingcoffee to set the world on fire,” Bilbeaux says, “but if it changes one person’s mood from melancholy to mirthful, or makes them think about the law, I’ll be satisfied.”

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