If you are under 30, have kids who are under 5, or are a puppeteer, Mr. Johnson is a familiar figure. No? Here’s the scoop. Mr. Johnson is dogged by bad service and bad luck. He’s blue, balding, and wears a rumpled suit. And, though this is not true, he is also a lawyer. Which gets me to my point. With all the bad luck and bad service Mr. Johnson receives, there are lessons for lawyers. Big Legal Brain’s Chank Peters sat down with Mr. Johnson recently to get his unique perspective on the law.
Johnson: I’ve dabbled a lot so that makes me one of the few remaining general practice attorneys out there. I’m adaptable.
BLB: I’m sure you would have to be, given your luck. Have you ever thought about suing Grover for what he does?
Johnson: Sure, numerous times. But if you look at things carefully, there are very few actionable claims. For problems with my soup at Charlie’s, what are the damages? A bowl of soup? Five dollars? Even the giant hamburger injured Grover, not me.
BLB: But in Outrageous Makeover, Home Addition, Grover invades your house and puts four doors on the wall, then removes all the doors that would allow you to get out.
Johnson: That case settled pretty quickly, actually. It was one of the few that did. I did get a new bespoke suit, though, after the fiasco with Grover when I tried to buy one.
BLB: That was hilarious.
Johnson: It would seem that way.
BLB: You were one of the initial trial lawyers on the AT&T v. Concepcion case, which just got decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. How did you get involved with that?
Johnson: Interesting story. I was having lunch with Big Bird, who knows a lot of people over at AT&T, including its GC. He said that they were looking for a distinguished-looking, short, bald, blue, older puppet attorney to make some strategic trial appearances. I immediately volunteered and was fortunate to get the work.
BLB: Being blue, round, and short, do you find it hard to fit in with colleagues or connect with juries?
Johnson: Not really. Like anything, jurors respect reality and facts. As long as I maintain my credibility with them, they respond well. It also doesn’t hurt sometimes to have Elmo second chair. I don’t let him speak, but his mere presence there seems to relax the courtroom.
BLB: Is it true that Big Bird failed the New York bar exam twice before passing it the third time?
Johnson: True. But so did a lot of other people. Big Bird gets a bad rap for that, and the first time he took it he had the avian flu. People forget to mention that.
BLB: Why do you think you have such bad luck? I mean, you’re dogged by Grover at the gym, movies, park, baseball game, bakery, even a car rental agency. And he shows up at your door trying to sell you wigs or singing telegrams. How can that be?
Johnson. I don’t know. Some people call it bad luck. But I look forward, not back. And it’s not as if I can get a restraining order, which some friends have advised me to do. He’s not stalking me. Grover’s just a slacker working slacker jobs. He just can’t hold one for very long and I happen to show up at the wrong time.
BLB: Are those nose hairs or an actual moustache?
Johnson: Moustache. It took me five years to grow it. And it’s not ranch nylon.