Young New York lawyer has a 'Jerry Maguire' moment

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Young New York lawyer has a 'Jerry Maguire' moment

Wed May 20, 2009 @ 11:42PM PST

By Eriq Gardner 

Jerry_maguire_tosh_2 Remember the scene in "Jerry Maguire" when the title character sends out a mission statement titled "The Things We Think and Do Not Say: The Future of Our Business" to the rest of his sports agency? Well, get ready for the real-life version.

Late last week, the DC Appeals Circuit upheld a lower court's dismissal of complaints by a class of Native Americans who challenged the nickname of football's Washington Redskins on grounds that U.S. trademark law doesn't allow anybody to register a mark that is offensive to a substantial segment of the population. Here's the decision and the article from the Washington Post that recapped the development.

In the case, the NFL and the Redskins were represented by Robert Raskopf and Sanford Weisburst from the Quinn Emanuel law firm. As anybody can imagine, spirits at the firm were high after the ruling, and Raskopf sent out an e-mail to the rest of his firm that celebrated the ruling and congratulated those who played a part.

One first year associate at the firm, however, channeled Tom Cruise upon seeing Raskopf's e-mail, hit Reply All, and opined:

this email is meant neither to rouse some rabble or down some debbies or outcrunch some crunchies. quite the opposite - i get excited whenever i get victory emails...but i feel compelled to the point i'm willing to write (and i'm from iowa so imposition is a slow, agonizing death) with a request that we might take a moment (water fountain break, going to nelly and claire's shop downstairs, getting printouts) to think about how many people (native americans, americans, non-native americans, non-american natives) are bummed today because a mascot they find offensive remains on the second column of the sports page and on a kid's hat and on espn's score ticker (and, to a lesser extent, on cnn headline sport's score ticker)....

Above the Law has the full e-mail in its entirety.

The associate's conscientious objection brought a tongue-lashing from another partner at the firm, who reminded the young lawyer that the firm represented "clients, not causes." The associate then sent out more messages defending his stance and saying he realized that Quinn Emanuel was not "1. a dating service, 2. a family, and 3. a commune."

"I get it," he wrote. "We're a business. Specifically, we're a law firm, as such, our charge, at its most basic, is to make money..."

The associate is sticking to his guns. We wish him best in whatever he decides to do next in his career.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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