It was a lazy Thursday when I got the call from Ruby to meet. These things never went well on my end. She was a crazy dame, and I didn't know what to expect when I walked into Doug's on 62nd Street and put my hat on the rack and my eyes on hers. Made-up and juiced-up like it was two am instead of two in the afternoon, she couldn't contain her smile.
"Oh, Snoop," she beamed, "I've decided I'm going to law school."
"And I'm going pitch for the Yankees tomorrow night."
"I'm serious, Snoop!"
Told you the bitch was crazy. I hadn't even gotten my coffee yet and she was already laying the wackjob on thick. And sure enough, she had some legwork for me, bought with batting eyelashes and a low-cut shirt. Fuck me...
"I've heard a lot of stories about the bar exam getting tougher or law students getting dumber. Would you mind looking into it?"
Let's face it: I was done when I got on the subway to see her. It would be a challenging mystery requiring all my keen skills of hard-nosed investigation. The type of thing a law degree would surely aid, you know. I stopped by the office and had Petunia pull some files on suspects while I grabbed my six-shooter and dogeared copy of Black's. These thugs liked to use the jargon, after all.
My first stop was to see Nicky. He was dressed up in a "pinstriped charcoal suit and purple tie." I had to wait for the customers to clear out of the deli, but once they did he cold-cocked me with the bitter truth.
"The height of arrogance," he said. He resisted even uttering the name of his tormentor directly. "Who is she to say what the standard is? Who is she? The person who is the czarina, who determines more and more every
year what Americans have to learn to pass the bar to become licensed
lawyers … never took the bar."
A clue. We talked a bit more - it felt like three fucking days I had so many awesome quotes - and at the end he was clear about the ramifications of letting "her" control the bar. "[T]here are too few lawyers being produced."
I called back to Petunia and learned he was talking about Moeser, this hot-shot dame in the numbers racket. Nicky sent me to one of his chums, Ferruolo. He was out back elbow-deep in grease, and he doubled-up what his friend said. "Where’s the accountability? I’m not looking to find more information so I
can attack the NCBE. I am looking for more information so I can do my
job as a dean."
And Snoop Versatile had to his job as a private eye. It was time to confront this Moeser woman. Conrasting Nicky's pinstripes and purple, she was wearing motherfucking denim. Already this was a bad sign. Then she went on the defensive immediately.
She thought Nicky's argument was like a clay pigeon she kept shooting down. "You can squawk loud and long about what’s happening,” Moeser says, “but you’ve got to look at who your student body is." Her finger landed on a chart showing Nicky'd been letting in steadily lower quality. His profits started getting cut so he started peddling cheaper dope.
"Who are you to say what the standard is?" I asked her.
"Would most people say, ‘Oh, we ought to lower the standards so we can
have more pediatricians?’ You’d say, ‘Not with my baby, you can’t."
I tried to probe further about various arguments, but she was quick to scram from such discussions like a rat fleeing a sinking ship. "I am not in a position to spend time analyzing results for which I lack respect."
Bitch. She's got this "science" shit. I got intuition. After she confirmed that she never ever passed a single bar exam, I thought it was all pretty clear and I could close out the file. But I decided to make one more brief stop. I'd heard Pauly knew everything about this racket.
I told Pauly about Nicky's claim that there were not enough lawyers and he started laughing like a mad clown on a bender. "Look, Snoop," he said, "There’s a shortage of lawyers in this country the same way that there’s a shortage of Mercedes-Benzes."
For me, the fat lady was a-singin'. I had Ruby come to my office to break the news.
"Kiddo, I'm sorry," I said. "I was totally wrong on law school. You're not going to find a better option. Go fly, snowflake."
"You mean it? What about the bar exam? Will I fail?"
I spelled it out for her on my chalkboard. "This Moeser chick's got a pretty sweet racket. She wants people to fail the bar so she can collect on more retakes. She never even passed the bar and she can't answer a question straight."
"But Snoop, aren't those irrelevant issues?"
"Look at you!" I said, "thinkin' like a lawyer and all that shit!"
"But what about Moeser?"
"With kingpins like Nicky on the prowl, won't be long before the gig is up."
"But what about Pauly?"
"Pauly's nuts, babblin' about cars and shit. Look, Sweetheart, I'm the best private eye in the business, and I have to say that the culprit of the bar exam blues is Moeser. Law students ain't gettin' dumber. The test has just gotten way more unfair. It's not like Nicky or Ferruolo would just make this shit up to cover their asses because they're bringing in less capable students to compensate for the law bubble's deflation."
"But what's the evidence?"
"There you go, thinkin' like a lawyer again!" I pinched her on the cheek. "Just go to a school like Brooklyn; you'll do great!"
"Snoop," she said, "you're the best!"
Yes, I am.