Bugs Bunny might be one of the most popular cartoon characters of all time, but you wouldn’t want him as a client.
He’s a cocky, brash, know-it-all. He has an annoying habit of showing up at inopportune moments without an appointment. He’s addicted to carrots.
Worst of all, he doesn’t carry cash, credit cards or a wallet. He doesn’t even wear pants, for that matter.
What’s up, doc? Bad news for anyone unlucky enough to represent him, that’s what.
See You in the Funny Pages
You probably have some experience with Looney Tunes types like Bugs Bunny (named here as the number one animated figure ever). If so, condolences.
But the wascally wabbit is a dream compared to some of his colleagues like the Tasmanian Devil – who has serious anger issues – or Elmer Fudd, whose obsessive-compulsive disorder is compounded by a gun fixation and lack of impulse control.
And heaven forbid Daffy Duck ever seeks your counsel.
“This whining, overbearing, insecure creature must surely be more pitied than blamed,” says Canadian physician/writer George Burden, who performed psychiatric evaluations of popular comic strip characters. “Daffy thinks the world is out to get him. He is suspicious of everyone’s motives, bears grudges and trusts no one. This behavior consistently alienates him from others, only further aggravating his paranoid ideation. Clearly he has had some bad experiences as a duckling. Label him paranoid personality disorder, cluster A, diagnostic code 301.0.”
Sound like any client you know?
7 Cartoon Clients To Avoid
Pepe Le Pew. Family lawyers know to watch out for this guy. He’s a hopeless – and dangerous – romantic who doesn’t understand that no means no. He terrorizes the feline object of his ardor despite her persistent and unequivocal rejection of his advances. You may start out in District Court, but you will almost certainly end up defending him in Superior Court on criminal charges of stalking, assault and communicating threats.
Homer Simpson. He seems nice enough at first. But his bumbling nature, grandiose plans – which are rarely tethered to reality – and inherent laziness will surely cause trouble down the road. And he drinks way too much beer.
Yosemite Sam. Ask any criminal lawyer and they will tell you to run, don’t walk away from this gun-totin’ hothead. “He fails to respect the law, is unable to delay gratification and is deceitful in his dealings with others,” writes Dr. Burden. “[I]rritable and aggressive, resulting in frequent fights or assaults.” In other words, just the sort of client to steer clear of.
SpongeBob SquarePants. He lives underwater. What more do you need to know?
Tweety and Sylvester. These two appear to be mortal enemies, but you’d better think twice before representing one in court against the other. Theirs is actually a twisted, co-dependent relationship. What keeps both going is the thrill of the chase, so you can kiss any chance of settlement goodbye.
Wile E. Coyote. This is the sort of client who shows up in your office with a brilliant, can’t-miss, elaborate scheme (usually involving Acme rockets, fuses and explosive devices) and offers you a chance to get in on the ground floor. Can you say “conflict of interest?” Before you know it, you’ll be plummeting off a cliff.
Yogi Bear. He may be smarter than your average bear, but he’s also a kleptomaniac (prone to filching picnic baskets in national parks) who tends to wildly overestimate his own cleverness. He has also been dogged by accusations that he plagiarized the name of baseball great Yogi Berra. In 1960, Berra said in an interview that he had considered legal action but decided against it. “[T]elevision is big enough for both me and Yogi Bear,” said the Yankee Hall of Famer. “I was going to sue the Yogi Bear program for using my name, until somebody reminded me Yogi isn’t my real name—it’s Lawrence.”
Sometimes, practicing law can seem like a Saturday morning cartoon. That’s okay. A bit of comic relief is a good thing.
Just beware of cartoon clients, or else you might be saying “That’s all, folks!”
Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina and is author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World. He runs Your Law Life LLC, which helps lawyers and firms improve their well-being and create saner, more successful law lives. He is available for talks, presentations and confidential consultations.