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Mel Evans likes to joke with friends that NBC’s new comedy “Ed” is based on his life. It is not exactly true, but it could be. Just like the show’s star, Evans is living the life of a bowling alley lawyer, managing the lanes and the legal profession with equal aplomb. Evans, 62, has been involved in the bowling business for some time. While working as a private practice litigator in the late 1980s, he operated a side business, selling stickers out of vending machines in bowling alleys. In 1989, he was offered a chance to invest in a bowling alley, and in 1994 he became co-owner of Jefferson Valley Bowl in Yorktown, N.Y. When managing the lanes and working for a sole practitioner in White Plains became too stressful to handle at the same time, Evans chose against more hours in court. Unlike television’s Ed, Evans does not have a law office at the lanes, but acts as the alley’s in-house counsel, and occasionally answers employees’ and customers’ legal queries. It may seem like a novelty on NBC, but Evans never thought anything was odd about his new career. “People say to me, ‘You’re a lawyer! Why are you in the bowling business?’ “I say, ‘Hey, it’s a business! You have to deal with people either way. You have to deal with their foibles as well as their follies, their niceties and their not-so-niceties. That’s what you have to do as a lawyer, too. You just have to go to school for a long time to be a lawyer.’ “ The family-oriented nature of the bowling center also appealed to Evans. Instead of angling for a better spot on a judge’s docket, he splits a civilized schedule with his two partners so that someone is always around to tend to the 20 parties per week, the bowling leagues, and the snack bar. “I still get lots of lawyer jokes told to me,” he added. “Lawyers’ reputations have preceded them, and they’re not always good reputations. But you’re able to get past that by how you treat people.” Though he plans to branch out to a new alley in the Bronx, he does not consider himself a stellar bowler.

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