Fine print lawyers have all the fun...

fine print lawyersOver at Big Legal Brain (3 words which rarely go together my experience) I stumbled across a question and answer session with Greg Coughlin, who’s styled as “America’s Foremost Fine Print Lawyer”.

For those of you who are a little puzzled, it is a genuine niche; it’s a kind of ‘what-it-says-on-the-tin’ thing. Remember: we’re talking American law here – it’s best to go with it and not ask too many questions to begin with.

Q: You fine print lawyers must be a boring lot.

A: Not so much, really. Believe it or not, fine print lawyers are a pretty rowdy bunch. We take our work and craft very seriously but we party hard. There’s a guy—he used to be in-house counsel for Monsanto—who had a 120-page seed distribution contract tattooed on his ass. Except it was in fine print and it fit on a one-inch square portion of his right cheek. It was a tattoo in the shape of a Roundup Ready soybean seed. Wait, it was his left cheek. It was actually done very tastefully.

I’m not convinced the act in question is capable of being done tastefully, but there you go.

Q: You’re joking.

A: I’m dead serious. In fact, Monsanto got into a dispute with a farm cooperative about the seed distribution contract, which involved interpretation issues. The attorney literally got his ass hauled into court. They had him face down on counsel table with about fourteen big firm attorneys around him, staring at his ass through high-powered jeweler’s monoculars. The case ultimately settled, but I still think it’s the only case in which a court admitted an attorney’s ass into evidence.

I think English law needs more of this approach when it comes to adducing evidence. It would certainly liven things up and make the process of allowing inspection a bit more painful (or at least embarrassing) I should imagine.


  1. Excellent! Perhaps I should get a tattoo of the Matrimonial Causes Act, in the shape of a heart...

  2. There are some lawyers that I know that would probably quite like to be bent over a table in court and bare their ass.

  3. Fine print. Not the Crown Prosecution Service.

    You should see half the bundles that cross my desk, more typos, inaccuracies than you can shake a stick at.

    Even the schoolkids excuse that my dog ate it would not cover the state some of the files are in.

  4. John - hehe.. good one! It might always come in handy as a talking point at dinner parties, too.

    Richard - I don't doubt it! ;-)

    Legally Advisor - have I just been spammed by DirectGov? :-$ I'm not sure what to make of it. I take your point tho' :p


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