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Associate’s Foulmouthed Voicemail Makes the Rounds on the Internet and other funny stories


Some humorous emails from my legal blog:

Professional Courtesy

August 20, 2004

According to the attorney who sent it to me: this was a voicemail message “that an associate at Winston & Strawn left for an associate at Latham. Latham is representing a borrower in a real estate transaction and W&S; represents the lender. I don’t know what correspondence preceded the voicemail but as I understand it, W&S; asked Latham to make some cosmetic changes to mortgages a day before closing and Latham responded by email that they thought the changes were unnecessary. The response from W&S; is pretty unbelievable–a pretty abusive voicemail. This is soon to be part of law firm urban legend along with that summer associate from Skadden [I earlier guessed–wrongly–that they meant here Tucker Max’s hilarious story, “The Now Infamous Tucker Max Charity Auction Debacle”, about how Max got fired when he was a summer associate at the California law firm Fenwick & West during the dot-com boom times –SK]–it’s already making it’s way around the email circuit. Enjoy!”

And along those lines, an oldie but a goodie: Voicemail message [audio], with increasingly frustrated obscenities, purportedly left by trademark applicant/appellant with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB); resulting Final Order concerning disciplinary action of the attorney (linked here).

Update: Here is an official Response from an Examiner at the patent office employing obscenity.

Associate’s Foulmouthed Voicemail Makes the Rounds on the Internet

August 24, 2004

Re my previous post–this article appeared today in New York Lawyer, listing my blog as a source of the voicemail left by Winston & Strawn associate Ankur Gupta [voicemail here]. I despise incompetence so actually tend to side with Gupta.

Some excerpts from the article:

An expletive-laden voice-mail message, reproduced on blog KinsellaLaw.com, left by an associate at one law firm for a colleague at another is making the rounds in cyberspace, with young lawyers seizing on the message as a symbol of declining civility within the profession.

In the message, Winston & Strawn associate Ankur Gupta in Chicago berates an associate in the New York office of Latham & Watkins for apparently complaining about changes Mr. Gupta and his colleagues requested on a mortgage document. Mr. Gupta tells his fellow lawyer that he should save his “[f**king] breath” and that if he continues to complain about the changes, Mr. Gupta will make his “life on this deal very unpleasant” by involving his client. The Winston & Strawn associate concludes by advising the Latham associate that if he will not act as a “monkey [f**king] scribe,” his work will be given to a secretary at Winston & Strawn.

Forwarded to lawyers across the nation, the message has unleashed a firestorm of Internet message board commentary.

In my view, all this noise about “the decline in civility” is part and parcel of lawyers’ attempt to keep their profession licensed so as to keep out competition. It is arrogance to believe civility is more the domain of attorneys than “normal” people.

Re: Associate’s Foulmouthed Voicemail Makes the Rounds on the Internet

August 25, 2004

Re my previous post, Chicago Sun-Times reporter Eric Herman has picked this up story and is running with it, in F-bomb-dropping attorney gets worldwide notoriety [alternative link].

Coda: others have picked it up too, including this one from The Chicagoist, Lawyers Drop F-Bombs?, which includes some decent gossip about the “victim” and interestingly, some off the cuff defenses of the angry attorney. Another discussion forum is on MyShingle.

Lawyers and Summer Associates

August 25, 2004

Re recent posts about humorous lawyer voicemails, I was reminded of this story: Elite Firm Summer Associate Sends E-Mail Boasting Of Laziness to Partners.

More on humorous voicemails

August 27, 2004

Following up on recent posts about humorous voicemails and emails, here’s another humorous voicemail. The story behind the voicemail is explained here, and in the letter below.

Mr. Kinsella:

I stumbled over this website courtesy of an article about the

recent humorous voicemail and couldn’t resist writing you to share something amusing that happened to our company.

Our Austin-based company, Despair Inc., produces cynical humor products- including parodies of motivational posters

called Demotivators.

Anyway, our logo features the :-( emoticon–which we

obviously did not invent but nevertheless submitted a trademark request for to the USPTO.

To our surprise (and our IP lawyer’s amazement), we received a

trademark for the symbol in printed matter class of goods.

As a joke, we wrote a fake press release about how–in light of our trademark on the :-( symbol–we planned to sue several million individuals who had used the symbol in email of late.

It was mostly meant as a rip on frivolous IP lawsuits. But

because of some clumsy reporting and overzealous netizens, it ended up becoming a gigantic outrage to many thousands of people who missed the joke.

The most amusing contact we received came in the form of a late-night voicemail from someone who sounded very drunk.

http://www.despair.com/frownies.html The voicemail is linked in the page above. It is expletive-laden and frequently incoherent–but provoked gales of laughter and ultimately, the desire to share the joke with others.

We bleeped out the expletives–as we’re a pretty family-friendly

website–but even without them, it’s a very amusing and

confusing listen, though admittedly, for a somewhat select audience.

Hope you enjoy it.


Justin Sewell

Despair, Inc.


Cold Callers

December 2, 2004

I hate cold callers and people who waste my time. My employer’s web site does not list my phone number. That’s on purpose. People whom I have not given my direct dial number have to call the main number and ask the receptionist for me. So when the receptionist wants to patch a call through, I know it’s almost always a cold caller.

Today she says a guy named “Mo” is calling for me. Red flag#1. I know no Mo, so red flag #2. Usually I tell her to put them to my voicemail, but the name “Mo” intrigued me and I was feeling in a mood to mess with a cold coller. I tell her to patch him through.

Mo–he does not give his last name, red flag #3–is some broker for some “patent technology acquisition” group (I forget the name). He wants to know if we have an interest in buying a patent on photonic integrated circuits. Now we make lasers, not PICs. Another red flag.

Curious, I ask him how much they are selling the patent for. He says it has 61 claims and that there is an offer on it already–setting me up for a high number–then says probably only $120K or so, which is not really that high.

I say, well, what’s the patent number? He says he does not have it and I can hear him flipping papers looking for it. He asks me if that’s public information. I.e., if he can find the number is it okay to give it to me. This loser is asking me for legal advice. So I’m already getting irritated. Why would you call someone to offer to sell a patent but not know the patent number. So it’s clear to me that Arab-accented Mo (probably Mohammed) is just trying to put a deal together. Some stupid broker. Probably unknown to the seller as well as me.

My time already wasted, I decide to mess with him. I ask him why he thinks this would be useful for us. He says he knows we bought an external-cavity laser patent recently, from a press release, so thought we might want this. This makes no sense. I ask, is there an existing infringer? Do we infringe? Does it cover some practical invention?

He says yes, it covers a practical application and can “help us.” I say, “help us how? We make lasers.” He says, “yeah, it does that.”

“Does what?” I ask. “Makes lasers,” he replies.

“I don’t think so,” I say. “How does an integrated circuit make a laser?”

“Well, the laser goes in it,” he tries to clarify.

I say, “I don’t think you understand this technology. That’s okay if you don’t, but just say so.”

He gets pissed saying, his Arab accent getting thicker, “You are being rude sir. I have an engineering degree from CalTech and have been in this field for 25 years!”

I say, “Well, a photonic integrated circuit does not make lasers, I know that,” and he says, “I went to CalTech” and I reply, “Well, that’s certainly very impressive, but you don’t know the patent number, you don’t know how this applies to our business, you seem to think PICs ‘make’ lasers, which they don’t–all you seem to know is we make lasers and recently bought a laser patent.”

He finally loses his patience, and proclaims, “You are rude sir! Rude rude rude! You are a f***ing a**hole!”

Well, at least I didn’t call him to waste his time.

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