Publishers Weekly Review: Asshole Attorney

Posted December 24, 2018

Asshole Attorney: Musings, Memories, and Missteps in a 40 Year Career

Wood (Please Be Ad-Vised: A Legal Reference Guide for the Advertising Executive) delivers an entertaining account of his adventures in media and entertainment law, where, he writes, he had to be tough but fair: “Maybe to some I was acting like an asshole attorney, but it felt right.” After graduating from NYU law school in 1977, Wood landed a job with a firm that specialized in groundbreaking entertainment cases such as the Monty Python’s Flying Circus lawsuit in 1975 against the ABC network after the show’s producers argued that the American network “butchered their work” by putting “commercial breaks at all the wrong moments.” In representing Earl Wilson Jr. and defending his satirical version of the popular song “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (of Company B)” in his play Let My People Come, Wood writes that the case “is considered by many to be the pivotal case establishing the principles of a valid parody defense.” Other anecdotes include his involvement in introducing the Belvedere vodka company to the U.S. market in 1998, which begins as a simple legal affair and turns into an international adventure, with Wood surviving a helicopter crash in Poland. The narrative moves at a good pace, and Wood is a straightforward, candid writer (“those who are unhappy about something I wrote, I offer no apology. Feel free to write about me. I have a thick skin”). Wood’s memoir is a refreshing look at an unusual legal career. (BookLife)

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