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Dershowitz Envy

I have Dershowitz envy.

What's that?

Let me tell you.

The other day I was invited to be one among a group of speakers at a seminar on appellate advocacy. My sense is that I was invited to be the odd duck. A related organization once invited me to speak on trial advocacy. The title of my presentation? "Trying cases outside the box." I think I was sort of like a freak show.

One of the organizers on the appellate seminar had me on the phone the other day. I was hesitant to accept. Oh, I am vain and egotistical, all right, but despite scores of appellate court arguments I still consider myself a novice. I agreed when told my role was simply to give one of several perspectives on oral argument. I figured it was safe. I do argue well.

I asked who else was speaking. I heard the names of friends and colleagues.

"We asked Al Dershowitz if he would speak," the caller told me. "Someone sent us an email back quoting his appearance fee."

"How much?" I asked.

There was a pause.

"Thirty-five thousand dollars," I was told.

Needless to say, Big Al ain't making the trip.

It was at that moment that I developed Dershowitz envy. Just imagine the size of the cojones required to quote such a fee.