Authors’ Commentary on “The Register”

Lawyers in Hell Authors’ Commentary on
»The Register,«
 a story in Lawyers in Hell

Alistair Chrysler-Smith is a Field Agent for the Ratings Department for The Hell Register of Preeminently Damned Lawyers.

What does this mean?

Why, he’s one of the very few damned souls allowed to leave the confines of Hell itself, to roam the Earth, and take extensive notes on all living lawyers, guaranteeing that said sinners will be met with a well-written biographical listing in Hell’s premiere desk reference for the most deserving of Hell’s denizens.

Lawyers in Hell Rest assured, however, that Alistair’s freewheeling status is fraught with the most dangerous and terrifying roadblocks that can be thrown at a member of Hell’s legal bureaucracy. There isn’t a day, above or below ground, that his miserable existence isn’t challenged or threatened by the promise of an even worse fate.  Alistair spends the majority of this story, weaving a tapestry of alliances, trades, and promises in a desperate effort to both forestall, and anticipate, an upcoming employee review that may spell his ultimate doom. Challenged as he had never been while alive, Alistair must now shed the last vestiges of dignity and honor within his damned soul in an effort to survive an unimaginable and horrifying fate.

Taking place in the infernal city of Pandemonium (if New Hell is the NYC of Hell, then Pandemonium is its Chicago, even seedier, but a lot less two-faced about its hypocrisies) Alistair Chrysler Smith travels through the bizarre inner circle of Hell’s most powerful governing entity.  Will Alistair’s desperate plans succeed? And if they do, will he, or Hell itself, be any better off? I leave that to you, the reader, to judge.

As a former staff editor of the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory (I worked there for four and one-half years in the early to mid 1990’s), I thought I might bring an interesting slant to this tale of one-upsmanship, paranoia, and infernal office politics.  Hubris is a most detestable sin, and I just had to imagine that those Clubs and Periodical Directories which extol the virtues of society’s overachievers had their counterparts in the afterlife.  The Hell Register felt like a perfect fit.

Michael H. HansonThough I never actually worked for the Ratings Department at Martindale-Hubbell, I did come across my share of documentation (questionnaires) that are part of the screening process used to grant lawyers and law firms their A, B, and C ratings. At face value I can state that it is a discrete (though internally transparent) procedure designed to grant lawyers and their entities the fairest possible grade acquirable.

I would like to finish this by taking the opportunity to state that the fictional character of Alistair (and the illegal shenanigans he plays while still a living human being who was in charge of the very real Ratings Department at Martindale-Hubbell) are all products of my imagination, and NOT actions I ever witnessed or even suspected any of my former co-workers of committing.

  My fellow employees at my former workplace were honest, scrupulous, and hardworking individuals striving daily to maintain the high standards of one of this world’s most well known periodicals and desk references.

The Register, © Michael H. Hanson; Perseid Publishing,
2011© Lawyers in Hell (Janet Morris), 2011, all rights reserved

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