Billable horrors.

The law, lawyers, and the court.
Dec. 13 2005 3:59 PM

Billable Horrors

ASlatereader contest for wicked lawyers.

So, here's a class they don't teach in law school: screwing over your opponent just in time for the holidays. They probably should. For anyone with even a lick of evil in their soul and a filament of creativity in their brain, the law offers a whole host of opportunities for wrecking the lives of others.

Consider the perfectly timed restraining order, or the spontaneous motion for an order to show cause—or in fact anything that could bury the other side in research and paperwork the day before Christmas. Think about the possibilities for 11th-hour changes in the visitation schedule for the children—requiring canceled plane tickets and Christmas Eve court appearances. Or the last-minute effort to have a local crèche or tree deemed unconstitutional.

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Sure, we'd all like to pretend this stuff doesn't happen. Until they get a few drinks in us and we start to brag about all the vile and devious tricks we've pulled to wreck the other side's holidays. And for any lawyer reading this column who is shocked, shocked to learn that some attorneys deliberately file motions and pleadings in order to trash the Christmas season for others, well, just go back to saving the Mediterranean Monk Seal or whatever it is you do.

So, not only does Slate want to hear the meanest thing you've ever done to an opponent on the holidays, but we want to reward the most contemptuously awful stunt we unearth with lovely swag. Let us know whether we can print your name. (As if.) Please send your most evil pre-holiday shenanigans to grinchesq@hotmail.com. The best stories will be reprinted here shortly, and the Most Evil Attorney in the World will be showered with Slateparaphernalia. This contest is also open to anyone, anywhere with stories of hideous pre-holiday lawyer shenanigans, whether they were perpetrated upon you by counsel on the other side, by bosses in your law firm, or you merely heard about them from some sad-sack lawyer in a bar on Christmas morning. Still, Slatereserves the right to limit showers of swag to those brave enough to turn themselves in for being the worst holiday cretins of all time.

'Tis the season to be Grinchly. I look forward to your responses.

Dahlia Lithwick writes about the courts and the law for Slate. Follow her on Twitter.