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Why I Hate Norm Pattis

Jamison KoehlerCriminal Law Bloggers


I first learned Norm Pattis’ lousy, stinking name through Scott Greenfield, who often uses something Pattis has written as the launching point for one of his own entries.  And Greenfield writes about Pattis in reverential terms you don’t often see on Simple Justice.

So what does Scott Greenfield know anyway?

Mirriam Seddiq is more effusive in her praise.  She talks about Norm as her latest blog crush.  And she devotes a whole entry to Pattis, entitled “Thank You, Norm Pattis.”

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.  I knew I never liked that Mirriam Seddiq.

Also putting him in the “do not like” category is the fact that he tends to occupy the field on any topic he chooses to write about.  He was one of the first people to write about Elena Kagan’s nomination for the Supreme Court.  After Pattis had written on the subject with such insight and eloquence, there didn’t seem to be anything left to say.

“I was trying to put together my thoughts on this nominee,” writes Brian Tannebaum, “when I ran across them on Norm Pattis’ blog.”  Tannebaum reproduces a long quote from Pattis’ entry on the Kagan nomination.  Tannebaum himself is no slacker when it comes to this type of thing. Yet the sum total of what he could think to add to Pattis’ analysis came at the end of his entry: “Yeah,” Tannebaum writes. “What he said.”

Damn you, Norm Pattis.

I was planning to do an entry on the difficulty in cross-examining a child witness. I was thinking in particular about a sexual assault case I tried a few years ago in juvenile court. The entry would have been moving, powerful, gripping.  There wouldn’t have been a dry eye on the Internet.  Just around that time, almost as if he had stolen the idea from me, Pattis came out with two entries of this own, both of which were far better than anything I could have written.

Damn you to hell, Norm Pattis.

Then came Mother’s Day.  You would think that no one would be able to occupy the field on such an individual and personal topic.  You would be wrong again.  It seemed as though no one could write a Mother’s day post without starting with – or at least paying homage to – the two posts Pattis had written. The posts ended up being referred to and reproduced all over the Internet.

Jerk.  Loser.  Momma’s boy.

I would say I bet he doesn’t even have a mother.  But I’m afraid my own mother would read that and try to adopt him herself.  Just what I need:  Norm Pattis this. Norm Pattis that. Norm Pattis showing me up at every family dinner.

Okay, then, so he knows how to write. He writes about wishing trial lawyers could interact with juries more directly, and he does it in such a way that you find yourself thinking he would be the only lawyer you would ever want to hire should you find yourself facing criminal charges. He comes up with the term “smurfing” to describe the passing along of bad clients from one lawyer to another, a term I have no doubt will soon be bandied about among lawyers all over the country with an affectionate and respectful nod to Pattis.

I hate your lousy, stinking guts, Norm Pattis.

Big deal, you think.  He’s probably some nebbish hiding behind his laptop, writing about what he has gleaned from watching T.V. without ever having seen the inside of a courtroom. Then he posts a video (with a “Look, Mom, I’m finally on YouTube”) in which he expertly handles an idiot witness from the chiropractic industry who can’t bring himself to answer a simple question with a “yes” or “no.”

Sometimes you just want to pick up your ball and go home.

With Pattis having occupied the field on virtually everything else, I am left with no subject other than Pattis himself. But, even then, I have no doubt he will come out with an entry of his own that will put mine to shame. He’ll be charming, humorous, self-deprecating. I’ll be left with nothing to write but, yeah, what he said.

And I’ll hate the guy even more.

Post Script to Norm Pattis:  My mother called.  She read this post.  She checked out your blog. Dinner on Sunday at 7:00 pm?