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November 9, 2012

By: Joel Cohen

What are the obligations of my civil attorney, or one I seek to retain, if I present him with a handwritten contract, purportedly bearing the signature of the late George Steinbrenner, that says that I own 10% of the New York Yankees? Imagine I tell my lawyer that, out on a lark one summer afternoon, Steinbrenner and I met while swimming in the ocean at Jones Beach (or, more likely, Southampton...this is, after all, the George Steinbrenner). I tell my lawyer that a harsh undertow carried Steinbrenner out to sea and that I heroically swam out and saved him. My narrative is impassioned and convincing, and my delivery makes clear that the contract in my hands was hard-earned: in his uncommon gratitude for my bravery (and perhaps because of a secret disappointment in his sons), Steinbrenner wrote out the contract and we both signed on the dotted line.

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