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Happy Hour Is for Amateurs: A Lost Decade in the World's Worst Profession

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  554 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
“I was fired from my first legal job within a month, and this book explains why it was the best thing to ever happen to me.”
—Tucker Max, author of I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell

The anonymous author who calls himself “The Philadelphia Lawyer” is an enormously popular blogger with an enthusiastic online fan base. With Happy Hour is for Amateurs, he brings his hilarious, biti
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 14th 2008 by William Morrow (first published 2008)
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Apr 26, 2010 Amanda rated it did not like it
Here's what I thought this book would be: a scathing, snarky chronicle of life as a young lawyer.

I should have known to turn and run when I saw that the vile Tucker Max had endorsed it. I was once fooled into reading I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell by Tucker Max because I thought it would be funny. Instead, it was chapter after chapter of nasty, ultra-descriptive sexual exploits.

Apparently, Max and The Philadelphia Lawyer are kindred spirits as far as writing goes. While it's clear that The Phi
Joseph Copeli
Sep 04, 2010 Joseph Copeli added it
Shelves: arc
[This review also appears on, a site for review and discussion of creative works.]

While this book might arouse interest for the first few chapters, the entertainment value drops off quickly. How many times can the same tweaked story be retold? How many times can one guy relive the same premise with minor alterations in the details? Here's the gist of the book: the narrator gets drunk/high, gets into a situation, then gets out of said situation, sometimes with wit (but usually thro
Oct 20, 2008 Donika rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: corporate slaves
I worked on this book, so I'm very biased, but personally I think it's fantastic.

Beyond that, though, I'm very confused by complaints that it's not a book about law, as I don't think the title or summary do anything to create that impression. Literally, "This is a book about escape. It's also about laughing gas..." Nowhere does it claim to be a dissection of the legal field, any more than any other field. People's expectation that a book should be what they want, rather than what it tells you i
Michele Moskovitz
Jun 29, 2013 Michele Moskovitz rated it liked it
Philadelphia Lawyer > Tucker Max. Although egotistical and a bit chauvinistic at times, this book was a thousand times better than Max's I Hope They Serve Beer in Heaven, which is of the same basis... It actually pains me to know that they are friends in "real life" and Max may be responsible for his book deal. And btw, I think Lisa deserves a medal for putting up w his vices all these years!
Dec 15, 2008 Nicholas rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 09, 2012 Brett rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you're thinking of reading this, let me do you a favour. Read the first chapter, and then skip the first third of the book.

Crib notes: lots of drinking, sex and substance abuse during the author's law-school days, frequently crass, and offensive by necessity. This sort of writing can be done well -- see He Died with a Felafel in His Hand for an example -- but it rests on the storyline being witty, the humour punchy, and the protagonist in the story being likeable. The first few chapters fail
Jul 25, 2008 Samantha rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: tucker max fans
I'm not even sure what to say about this book. I was excited to read this book and chose it because I thought it would be like Tucker Max. It even compares itself to Tucker Max on the back cover. However, Philadelphia Lawyer is not nearly as funny and outrageous as Tucker. This book starts out pretty well with him being in law school. I would have loved for him to spent more pages on it. He could have described the classes, the boredom and the characters in law school. However, instead he just d ...more
It would be most fair to say that if the first half of the book had been more like the second it would have proved an overall more enjoyable read. While the idea behind the book is attention grabbing and interesting, I found far too little of the book about the actual law profession and far too much of it to be about how totally trashed the author and his friends can get. I understand that the dichotomy created between work and play is crucial to appreciating the story, but by the fourth 5 page ...more
Dec 23, 2009 Alex rated it it was amazing
I think we all wonder if the way we see the world and interact with some of the more tiresome aspects of of life work/school/jobs is in some way "normal". I read this book in my last semester of law school. Up until then I had become increasingly unhappy with my career choice and wondered if my methods of coping with the whole thing were normal or a sign of some deeper "laziness" or some other failing. I think that many young men in their mid-20's in particular can relate the general feeling of ...more
Aug 11, 2010 George rated it did not like it
I felt this book lost it's appeal after the first few chapters. Also the constant slandering of the legal profession is quite vexing. The author continuously writes of his sexual escapades, drug abuse and excessive drinking and then he`ll go onto to write how miserable it is to be an attorney and what a horrible profession it is. Perhaps such a human being, with such vices isn't up to par with the profession? In ever area of life there are the good and the bad I am not stating that all attorney' ...more
Jul 11, 2011 Kevin rated it liked it
As a law student I really wanted to like this book. A lot of the descriptions of law school were accurate, and it was good to hear the negatives about firm life. The real world/party animal dichotomy was intriguing at first, but I felt like the stories never really finished. Some of them I was waiting for that big "wow" moment, i.e. Tucker Max crashing a car into a donut shop. Midway through the book all I wanted to do was tell the author to grow up and do the work or get out of the business. Th ...more
Mar 17, 2010 'stina rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
I've read a great deal of this material before on the author's blog. I think that I just come to different conclusions about life than he does, and though I feel like I know him very well, I don't really get him or the viewpoint he talks from. I'm also a lawyer, and while my outside life doesn't really have much to do with my work life, I feel like I don't really identify with the gripes about the practice of law compared to the strain on a personal life. I like to think I have quite a bit of fu ...more
D.M.J. Aurini
Dec 22, 2009 D.M.J. Aurini rated it it was amazing
Philalawyer is the kind of guy who knows where the shit lies. I've been a fan of his since I first discovered his website years ago, and if you like his writing this book doesn't dissapoint: just as insightful with better editing and a character arc. It's a great introduction into the sort of tihngs he likes to talk about.

The man has a deep understanding of the desperate angst and insanity of one's late twenties: the artificiality of the working world, the lack of direction or meaningful life go
Dec 18, 2009 Ephraim rated it really liked it
For anyone who has come into the office Monday morning, smelling of the stench of a booze filled weekend, and coming to the sad realization that reconciling the sordid deeds done on the weekend, and the prim and proper way you are expected to act in the office, just might drive you insane - this book is for you.

This book is hilarious, well written and follows the life of your average corporate drone. There are tales of debauchery, drunken escapades and drug fueled nights, but the true tale is h
Jul 20, 2010 David rated it liked it
Started out as a drunkalogue along the lines of I hope they serve beer in hell by Tucker Max (who it turns out helped this guy get his book deal), which I hated, but I'm glad I stuck with it. Ends up being a mix. Before he gets married it's a lot of "I took so many drugs, and my friends and I email each other porn links" and so on. Afterward, though, the actual stuff about working in law firms is pretty funny. The advance for the book made it possible for him to get off the treadmill, not a mome ...more
Jan 21, 2010 Mhopkins rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't know what I was expecting with this book. It only added to my dissapointment that I already have with the legal profession. This is definitely written by a guy for guys. It's raunchy, it involves lots of alcohol, and it re-iterates my feelings that this is seriously a lost profession. The Philadelphia Lawyer gives a real description of the mental turmoil caused by a legal career, the stress, the misguidance, and the fact the eventually you become a billing machine, a cog in the wheel, an ...more
Mar 24, 2011 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While this book was ok, I was disappointed in it. If I cared about the intricacies of law and billable time, I'd go get a drink with a lawyer and quiz them. If I wanted to hear a 30-something year old relive his frat boy days, I'd go find one and take him out for a drink. I guess I was just expecting more lawyer stories, and more stories about some outlandish cases he was on. Interesting as a memoir of sorts, but half of the book could have stood on its own rather than being lumped in with the ' ...more
Christopher Poulin
I really enjoyed this book. It was pretty low-brow and hilarious. Hunter S. Thompson light adventure. This guy sure likes his "recreating" he reminds me of myself or some of my friends if we had a surplus of money. I actually read this series out of order although I don't think it really matters as I wasn't confused by it at all. I can' wait to read I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. They are making a movie of the latter as well. I'm keeping my fingers crossed it isn't abysmal. Most of the time it ...more
Mar 15, 2010 Nadine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Take out the enless drugs and hookers (neither of which I partake in much anymore at all)- but other than that- here's what I've been doing for the past almost ten years. The commentary on the hopelessness, ridiculousness, stress, hairpulling out, depression inducing and addiction inducing world that I live in called litigation is pretty spot on. Now I realize why I do what I do when outside of work- it's clearly the 3-1 ratio at work. Sigh. Ooo hey, it's friday - who's up for some jack and diet ...more
Jan 17, 2009 Zac rated it it was amazing
I loved this guy's blog long before this book came out. The book basically served as a conclusion to the stories he has posted on his blog over the past few years. He is more on point with the topics he covers than anyone else I have ever read. If you don't "get" his writing or style right off the bat, then you have lived a different type of life and this book isn't for you. Don't listen to the negative reviews on this site that critique this or that. Read one or two of the stories on his blog. ...more
Sep 17, 2011 Intplibrarian rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Philadelphia Lawyer is someone I would probably never know in real life. Reading this book was like peeking into the mind of a person who if I did meet, I would think to myself.. "I just don't get how this guy thinks!" So, even though it's not meant to be, it's very educational.[return][return]Also, very entertaining, lol. Most of the chapters made me grin or laugh at least once.[return][return]If you're planning on reading this and walking around with the book, be prepared to explain what it's ...more
Richard Hoover
Jul 23, 2009 Richard Hoover rated it it was amazing
Happy Hour is a refeshingingly honest confession of the modern professional. Consider this text a reference, tour guide, or helpful suggestion for all the nine to fivers desperately chasing the American Dream... and only distancing themselves farther from it. This book will no doubt offend the establishment types, dogmatic zealots and blue pill swallowers that spend 4 hours a day commuting to jobs they hate. For those with an open mind, this book is both entertaining and profoundly insightful. F ...more
David Ward
Jan 14, 2016 David Ward rated it liked it
Happy Hour is for Amateurs: A Lost Decade in the World's Worst Profession by the Philadelphia Lawyer (William Morrow 2008)(340.0207) is a scathing indictment of the world of lawyers written by one who escaped the profession. The entire book is a drug and slcohol fueled spree on the order of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson. This is a riot! My rating: 7/10, finished 3/18/12.
Dec 18, 2009 B rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favourite books, a wonderful ode to cynicism that is just as educational as it is amusing. The best way I can explain it is if your uncle was a lone Project Mayhem operative shuffling between legal jobs, and sat down with you over a highball of bourbon and a wonderfully rolled blunt to entertain you with all of the mistakes he's made in his life, and also warn you against repeating them.
Julie Rose
Mar 25, 2011 Julie Rose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a student in graduate school who is considering taking the LSAT and loves Tucker Max, "Happy Hour is For Amateurs" was the perfect fit for me. A romp through law school and the first decade practicing law, the Philadelphia Lawyer shows what the profession is like for those who still want to have a life outside of their job. The portion on billable hours especially hit home for me (I'm writing this during billable hours, after all). I highly recommend it!
I wanted to read something funny and simple. A humorous memoir about the legal professions seemed like good, light reading even though I feared it would be too Tucker Max like. Surprisingly, I liked this book. It actually was a mildly amusing reminiscence of a sh**tty job, or series of jobs, something we all can relate to. Mildly recommended as light reading to general readers and recommended to lawyers and those in similarly "respected" professions who've been reduced to billable automatons.
This book was just ok. It had some very funny parts, but dragged a lot. It seemed like a lot of the stuff was just thrown in, as if the author was flailing around for some filler material and figured he'd throw in another party to eat up another 5-10 pages. I enjoyed it, but can't see myself going back and re-reading it in the future.
Hass Khalife
Oct 08, 2013 Hass Khalife rated it liked it
First few chapters are pretty captivating with a big wow-factor as to the candidness of the writer...but then the rest of the book slows down after that. I'm not a lawyer so I can't empathize with the struggle but it sounds a lot like Management Consulting - which I can relate to. It's definitely a read for dudes vs. chicks and probably will offend many people.
May 26, 2009 Doug rated it it was amazing
I find myself reading this book over and over. To me, this is the story of a man, who through his own laziness and lack of direction, finds himself in a job he hates, with people he can't stand.

Understanding those feelings all too well, I read this book obsessively because it gives me hope that I might also find my passion in life.
Nov 07, 2008 Charlie rated it really liked it
For those of you who are familiar with Philalawyers writing, you may have expected a little more from this books. About half of the stories are from his site, but the new ones are very funny and it also manages to put the old ones more into the context of his life. It starts with him going to law school and ends with him starting to write this book.
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