Sometimes It All Comes Together…But First, A Song!

As those who have read here for a while know, among my fondest passions, virtually life-long, are baseball,  theater and ethics. Today, I have the pleasure of seeing them all come together in a single event. How often does that happen?

At noon, I will be giving my most recent musical Continuing Legal Education ethics seminar, “Ethics Cabaret,” at Nationals Park in D.C. prior to the Mets-Nats game. “Ethics Cabaret,” like its six predecessors, presents legal ethics hypotheticals  as parodies of pop, rock, Broadway or country-western standards, presented by a professional performer. In this case, the performer is American Century Theater veteran Esther Covington, who accompanies herself on the keyboard. I write the songs that make the young lawyers cry, but she sings them, beautifully and often hilariously.

Speaking of Barry Manilow, my favorite segment of the seminar is the parody of one of his signature songs, which you can hear above—it’s an ear-worm, so be careful. The legal ethics version is about “Bridge of Spies” and the many quandaries raised in the film, which I examined in this post earlier this year. The parody is called “Who is the Client?,” lyrics-only copyrighted by ProEthics. Here they are….you can sing them along with Barry’s version!

His name was Abel, he was caught spying

Arrested by the FBI, Abel was one endangered guy,
To represent him, his zealous lawyer

Saved him with “Abel is a chip, his execution we should skip!”

When the U2 came down, the CIA came ‘round:
“Hey, trade Abel for Gary Powers  

And be East Berlin-bound!


Who’s the client? The lawyer’s client?

Is the lawyer 1.9 compliant?

Is he adverse to

His former client?

Negotiations with communist nations

But no client?

 (He took the case….)

His name was Pryor, a US student,

Locked up in an East German jail, the lawyer said the deal would fail

Unless it’s Abel, for Pow’rs and Pryor
The spooks said “Powers is enough!”
But the Reds took the lawyer’s bluff
So we would get the pair; send Abel over there
But were the Russians going to shoot Abel

And should the lawyer care?


Who’s the client? This conflict’s giant!

Is this lawyer (beat) a rogue defiant?

Does the CIA speak for his client?

Client objectives, not lawyer electives


(Head for the bridge…).

His name was Powers, and they could see him.
Across the bridge he stood right there, but student Pryor was nowhere

The CIA said,

“Send Abel over!”

The lawyer said, “I’m no schlemiel; they must show Pryor or no deal”
And Abel said he’d wait. They brought the student: Great!

So the U.S. recovered Powers
It was worth the wait!


Who’s the client? Was there a client?

Was Abel still on him reliant?

Was the USA  paying for this spy-hunt?

How could the lawyer defy his employer

And his client?….

 ( I love Tom Hanks…)


8 thoughts on “Sometimes It All Comes Together…But First, A Song!

  1. From a website discussing the young extra from a production of “Romeo and Juliet” above:

    “In Colorado, teenagers were disturbing their neighbors by blasting music too loud, so a judge did the unthinkable. He sentenced the teenagers to the worst punishment imaginable.

    An hour listening to Barry Manilow.

    In Australia, to stop nightly congregations of teenagers in residential areas, officials did the only thing they could think of to keep these hoodlums away.

    They blasted Barry Manilow music for three days straight.”

    Probably apochryphal. But ethical?

  2. I don’t think it is unethical but for me it would definitely be punishment. I have neighbors that blast loud “ethnic” music every night in the summer and week-ends during the other months until 11 PM. Maybe this would work for them as well.

  3. What, in heaven’s name, is the connection between this lyrical curiosity and baseball? I know the Mets fans are getting desperate, but this?

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