Above the Law: The Vanilla Ice Rule: “Anything less than the best is a felony.”

Above the Law: The Vanilla Ice Rule by Matthew W. Schmidt:

Litigators must remember that “anything less than the best is a felony.”

I’ve always found “Ice Ice Baby” to be a deeply inspirational work. Not the whole song, just one line near the end of its first verse: “Anything less than the best is a felony.” In college, I would often listen to it over and over. I have no special insight into how much Rob Van Winkle, as he was born, put into this lyric. Maybe he agonized over it for months or years, then he waited for a beat worthy of it that would catapult him into fame. Maybe it just shot him one night as divine inspiration. Either way, it’s a masterful line. In twelve catchy syllables, it utterly rejects mediocracy and the entire idea that “good enough” is good enough. It sets its own standards, and pledges to live up to them. It condenses Whiplash into three seconds.

Too often as lawyers, we convince ourselves that imperfection is acceptable. We tolerate a “good enough” attitude in ourselves and others. It’s a vicious, petty tendency that does nothing so much as reduce humanity to something base and undeserving of the name.

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