I’ll have the Law on You: The Selected Letters of John Fytit by Paul Brennan

I’ll Have the Law on You is a politely amusing compilation of ‘legal’ and ‘life’ advice provided by fictitious lawyer, John Fytit, in response to legal questions received from judges, prosecutors, politicians, lawyers and the odd wife. I must confess I am not familiar with Brennan’s other works, including Hang on to It Girl: The Wily Woman’s Guide to Wills, though for US$5 on Amazon, I could be tempted.

For some, the creative advice of John Fytit may be a traumatising self-reflection narrative. Others may see his advice as safe ‘Golden Gavel’ material – the secret is out! And others may just enjoy looking at the cartoon illustrations and consider a career change.

The book is divided into eight parts, including Career Advice and Self-Help and Advice on Issues Raised by People with Nothing to Do (the former part perhaps written by people mentioned in the latter part).

A few take home messages worth highlighting:

  • “It is not the lawyer who puts you on hold, it is the legal receptionist over whom lawyers have little control.”
  • Public Servant Query: “As a reward for long service, I have been offered a job of Ombudsman. However, it sounds a little bit too challenging so near to my retirement. I am concerned that it may be too taxing and argumentative” … John Fytit’s response: “The Ombudsman is not an advocate for complaints nor is he there to stick up for government departments. He is somewhere in the politically correct but potentially ineffective middle.”

You have all now been warned!

Perhaps the hardest thing to swallow is the disturbing truth about Brennan’s observations. Fytit’s responses are at times witty, cringe-worthy, a scary mirror to reality and a refreshing reminder that it cannot always be this bad. I must admit a few chuckles and smirks escaped as I read. At least Fytit’s receptionist has the nous to tell the clients that their lawyer is ‘currently unavailable’ rather than ‘Yes, your lawyer is in today but told me he/she doesn’t want to talk to you,’ a true story from a local Darwin firm.

Brennan is also the author of the following notable titles:

  • 101 Reasons to Kill all the Lawyers: That Part which Laws or Lawyers can Cause or Cure; and
  • How to Make a Funny Legal Presentation: And other Things that They Didn’t Teach You at Law School.

True, they did not teach this in law school.

Rating: 3 out of 5 laughs.

Senior Project Officer

Community Corrections / Department of Correctional Services