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“Gig” is the book we should have read before applying to law school. Subtitled “Americans Talk About Work at the Turn of the Millennium,” it is a self-conscious updating of Studs Terkel’s classic collection of oral histories, “Working.” It establishes once and for all that our mothers were wrong: There do exist jobs other than “lawyer.” And virtually all of them can be more fulfilling. The poor schmuck who wrote the entry on “corporate securities lawyer” is cursed with neurotic self-knowledge. “Every day is full of extreme, extreme stress,” he says. “It’s a deal with the devil.” And in case we hadn’t yet caught on: “I’m not a happy guy.” Of the 125 other folks featured in “Gig,” more than 90 percent are either happy or blissfully delusional. This includes not just the obviously nice gigs, like being supermodel Heidi Klum, but any number of anonymous and bizarre or drudgelike jobs: workfare sweeper, Kinko’s “co-worker,” crime-scene cleaner, taxidermist, adhesives salesman, lawn pimp, long-haul trucker, heavy-metal roadie, snowboarder, porn star, medicine woman, food stylist and Elvis Presley interpreter. I count exactly 10 unhappy campers in this montage of the American job market. Our young J.D. keeps company with a motley collection of the physically overwhelmed and ethically compromised: highway flagger, poultry worker, feminist stripper, sociopathic Buddhist UPS driver, well-meaning human-resources manager at a Dickensian slaughterhouse, prisoner who spends his time fending off rapists, burnt-out nurse, burnt-out minister and cynical phone psychic (as opposed to the true believer Gypsy psychic, who feels fulfilled). I’d say the associate falls somewhere in the middle of the pack. Lists like these hold two advantages for a columnist. First, they sound vaguely Whitmanesque, pleasing the amateur poets who staff our copy desk. Second, they help me meet my word limit before I hop on a flight to London. Yes, dear readers, only a few columns after ending “Associates” and beginning “Life of the Law,” my company has again asked me to change direction. “Life of the Law” will be suspended indefinitely because I’ve moved to London to cover Europe for The National Law Journal and its sister The American Lawyer. Not having earned the right to look back and pontificate about life and the law, I will instead dip into my unused files and offer up three parting awards. Having long suspected the terrible truth revealed in “Gig” — that many lawyers hate their day jobs — I have amassed a file on fun, alternative lives of lawyers, which I like to call my “Foofy” file. Maybe it’ll give you some ideas. � Coolest First Career. Winner: Christopher Dorr, eyeball harvester. Dorr, a medical malpractice defense lawyer at Lindsay, Hart, Neil & Weigler in Portland, Ore., worked his way through Lewis & Clark Northwestern School of Law by plucking eyeballs from cadavers for use in cornea surgery. Say what you will, but eyeball harvesting meets the Sherman McCoy-”Bonfire of the Vanities” test for a good job: It can be easily understood and admired by a toddler. The same can’t be said for med-mal. The runner-up is a former Miss Texas, who practices in Houston. The identity of her law firm will be disclosed to the reader who e-mails me the best European story tip. � Coolest Sideline. Winner: Lee Garner, brewmeister. Garner, a project finance specialist in Milbank, Tweed Hadley & McCloy’s Los Angeles office, has won several blue ribbons for his ales at home-brew competitions in California. He is a home-brew club founder, a certified home-brewing judge and an occasional guest on public-access cable TV. This is a sure way to win the respect of summer associates. � Second Career. Winner: Josh Needle, political cartoon gallery curator. In a crowded field of candidates, Needle edged out Jeffrey Glassberg of Morristown, N.J., founder of the North American Butterfly Association. Needle left his criminal defense practice in 1999 to open Impolitic, the world’s first gallery of editorial cartoons. Located physically in Santa Monica, Calif., it can be found in cyberspace at www.Impolitic.com. The collection of this self-dubbed “recovering lawyer” features a heavy mix of law parodies by Pulitzer Prize winners and New Yorker artists. Cartoonist Leo Cullum has a partner order his associate to “round off each billable to the nearest week.” Sidney Harris depicts “The Exciting World of Depositions” with a disquisition on halibut. Paul Conrad illustrates “Washington’s Latest Plague” with a rain of lawyers over the mall. But my favorite legal cartoon features a jury foreman delivering a verdict: “We the jury find the media guilty as charged.” Guilty of irreverence? Of course. Guilty of imperfectly capturing the breadth of life and law? Certainly. I’ll leave it to my readers to complete the indictment. For now, my gig is up. Michael Goldhaber, poor dear, is in Italy just now, reporting. But he’ll be back in London presently. If you have a story idea for him about litigation in Europe, e-mail him at [email protected]

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