Presenting Mina the Cat's Guide to Lawyering
My daddy goes to law school, which is a place humans spend a lot of money to go so that they can work for free, do a lot of homework, and eventually not find jobs as lawyers. I’m unclear why any human would want to do this.
But humans and their foolish obsessions with clothes, work, money, and political candidates who aren’t me (vote Mina in 2012), all seem pretty silly to me anyway. There is one upside of Daddy going to law school. When he studies at home he talks to me about what he’s reading, and I help him with his essays and multiple-choice answers.
So while Daddy spends lots of money and time to become a lawyer and not find a job, I get to learn all that stuff for free. And, while Daddy spends a lot of time saying, “I’m not a lawyer, and I am neither qualified nor licensed to provide legal advice,” I never say anything like that. He also tells people they should find a real lawyer.
Well, my readers. You have all found the world’s greatest feline provider of legal advice. I will gladly take questions, assist people with their legal problems, and otherwise do stuff lawyers do, like make lots of money, suck down gravy, and drink scotch. I don’t know what scotch is, but Daddy says lawyers drink it, so there you are.
But I wouldn’t expect you to just come to me, so I’ll provide a free description of how the law works in less than 1,000 words, so you can finish it before nap time, understand my obvious brilliance, and start sending me your retainers.
The law is divided into a bunch of subjects. The biggest ones out there are Criminal, Civil, Administrative, and Ethics.
Criminal law is the stuff Mommy and Daddy watch on shows like Law & Order. It’s the way humans punish other humans who do bad things. There are two sides: the prosecution, who want to punish bad guys, and the defense, who want to force the people to recognize silly things like the Constitution. Cats don’t need criminal law. We just use our claws to punish anything that bothers us. We also wouldn’t have it to protect property, because we own all the property, and anyone who messed with it would get a claw to the face.
Civil law has many smaller fields inside it, most notably Tort, Contract, Constitutional, and Property.
Torts are little pies humans eat. If you hit someone with a tort, or if you make one so hot that the person who orders it burns himself, or if you let one sit out until whoever eats it gets sick, you’re responsible for that tort. Tort law can get you. Humans sometimes apply tort law to closely related fields like coffee, which you drink with torts; cars, which you use to transport torts; and big appliances like ovens, which you use to make the torts. Only one thing matters with tort law: Does the person who committed the tort have money or insurance? Because if they don’t have either, they’re called “judgment proof” and immune to tort law. That’s why cats don’t have tort law. We prefer to claw people in the face.
Contracts are agreements to do things in exchange for other things. Every time you buy cat food, you’ve made a little contract and you probably didn’t even notice. Contracts obligate people to throw parties; that’s why people in contracts are called “parties to a contract.” I don’t like parties, so I don’t like contracts, but I do like that I’m judgment proof because I’m a cat, so if we make an agreement, you can’t sue me but I can sue you. Daddy insists that I might stop being judgment proof when you give me retainers, though, so you should give me big retainers so you can sue me under contract law and we can throw parties.
Constitutional law stops the government from clawing people in the face, and Property law has to do with property. Because cats already own all the property, humans needn’t concern themselves with the latter, and because the former is boring and prevents face-clawing, we’re going to skip it.
Administrative law is all about hearings. Administrative law is really important if you’re a banker, or a securities broker, or anything else that answers to an administrative body. The IRS and taxes -- that stuff is mostly administrative, too. Daddy says that administrative law isn’t on the bar, so I don’t have to know anything about it. Fortunately, once you’re a lawyer, total lack of knowledge doesn’t stop you from taking a case. WHAM! Advantage, Mina!
Ethics tells lawyers what they’re supposed to do and not do. It also prevents conflicts of interest. Because I’m not really interested in humans, there’s no need to worry about conflicts of interest. Because I ignore what anyone tells me to do, this one should be a snap. But seriously, everything Daddy thinks I should know about ethics is contained in the following piece of boilerplate:
Attention: Readers, Mina is a cat. She is not now nor will she ever be licensed to practice law anywhere. Legal advice from Mina is for entertainment purposes only. No amount of discussion or advice can form an attorney-client relationship with Mina, so nothing you tell her is protected by attorney-client privilege, nor is any representation by her adequate for anything.
Boilerplate is text that other people write that attorneys use without reading, but, as a journalist, I have a higher standard, so I actually read that boilerplate and all I have to say is that I don’t think Daddy is paying me my due respect.
I might have to go claw him in the face.
Need more Mina? Of course you do. Browse the Mina archives for some high-grade feline contempt.