In the latest issue of The Champion magazine, the President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers exhorts the membership to follow the mandate of Bambi’s mother, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” At least when talking about other criminal defense lawyers. Since we only read The Champion for the centerfold, we might never have gotten the word if we hadn’t heard about it from that Paul Revere of legal blogs, Simple Justice.
Despite not being a card-carrying member of the NACDL, we felt constrained to comply with its dictates. We accordingly resolved that henceforth our practice would be guided by asking, “What would Bambi’s mother do?”
It changed our life. The clerk of the court called up:
Clerk: This is Sam from the Appellate Division. What are all these blank pages in your brief?
A-S: That’s the ineffective assistance of counsel argument.
Clerk: Oh, a Bambi’s Mother brief. You should have said so.
A-S: Bambi’s mother wouldn’t have said anything at all.
The oral argument was awkward. We asked for 5 minutes, stated the Bambi’s Mother rule and said nothing at all for the remaining 4 minutes and 45 seconds. Typically, the Appellate Division completely failed to grasp our nuanced argument and spent the time pelting us with orange peels.
Meanwhile, Champion magazine has been renamed Thumper.