The Defender is Guilded

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“I am a very good lawyer”, she said.

Emmy was nine and riding in the front seat of my car. The seat was sufficiently sensitive to realize that she weighed under 80 pounds and therefore the airbag was off. It was the subject of some debate whether it was safe for Emmy to ride in the front seat with the airbag off. Her brother Ajax thought that it was unsafe, probably criminally so. But AJax wasn’t here now and we could ride in peace.

“What makes you think you would be a good lawyer,” I said, “You are only nine. You can hardly spell yet.”

“Lawyers don’t need to know how to spell.”

She paused for a moment. “I will show you,” she said, and then waved her hands as if summoning a case in front of her.

“So there’s this actor guy named Diablo in a play and his mother got sick and he had to be gone for three weeks while they were rehearsing, but he got back before the show and he knew his lines. But the guy running the play, he got another actor. So I’ll be Diego’s lawyer.”

“Diego, I thought you said ‘Diablo?’”

“Fine, Diablo.”

I said. “What am I supposed to do?”

“Oh. You can talk for the play guy.”

“You mean that I should be the producer’s lawyer.”


“Do you want to go first?”

“Yes, I most certainly do. “She cleared her throat. “Now ladies and gentlemen of the, what do you call it?”


“Jury. Let me tell you what happened here. My client, Diego, had to go to visit his sick mother and he told this man.” She pointed vaguely but accusatorially at me, “He told Diego that he should go and be with his sick mother. But when Diego came back there was another actor, Deajio or something like that in the part even though Diego had learned all his lines. And that means that he didn’t do what he said he was going to do.” She smiled triumphantly at the jury, apparently now seated in the back seat, and waved me to proceed.

“Members of the jury,” I said, “It is an honor to appear before you and I appreciate you letting me say a few words on behalf of my client, who has been unfairly attacked by Ms. Duret. There are three reasons why my client has no responsibility for the matters Ms. Duret complains of. First, Ms. Duret has failed to provide the court with a contract showing that my client ever hired her client. Two, not only has she no contract but she’s failed even to allege that there was consideration given for the promise she describes. Her client is just a volunteer and, of course, the law does not protect a volunteer from the consequences of volunteering. Third, and finally, my client was unable to keep Diablo in the play because, among other things, HE WAS NOT THERE FOR REHEARSAL!” I smiled at Emmy.

“People on the Jury, do not listen to the things that this man says to you. He makes his living by lying to people just like you. It is very well known that the producer could have easily made other arrangements for rehearsal. And I don’t need any contract because I have something better. I have a videotape right here and it shows his client saying Diego could go home!”

Emmy made a show out of brandishing a hypothetical videotape. She gave me a big smile but wasn’t going to let me have the last word.

She pronounced: “I find, what do you call him?”

“The defendant,” I said.

“The defender is guilded.”

“The defender is guilded?” I repeated.

“Yes, he’s guilded. I told you I was a good lawyer; you should tell your clients to hire me.”

“Yes, I’ll definitely do that.”

The Defender is Guilded was first published in The Philadelphia Lawyer