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5 Lessons for Lawyers From Dr. Seuss Villains

By George Khoury, Esq. on March 01, 2019 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

While Dr. Seuss may be famous for teaching children (and adults) valuable life lessons via wonderfully nonsensical rhyming stories, we lawyers can learn quite a few lessons from the Seuss villains.

Don't believe it? Well, in honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday, we've compiled five lessons you may have missed while reading some of his most iconic stories.

1. Sylvester McMonkey McBean

Perhaps the most valuable lesson for lawyers comes courtesy of Sylvester McMonkey McBean who fleeced all the Sneetches in the classic book The Sneetches. In case you need a refresher, McBean had a machine that could print and remove stars from the bellies of the Sneetches, which devastated the class structure of the Sneetch community until all the Sneetches were flat broke.

The lesson to learn: Get paid in advance.

2. The Once-ler

The villain of the Lorax, the Once-ler, is chopping down all the trees in order to make Thneeds. What's a Thneed? Quite simply it's "a fine something that all people need." Not surprisingly, the Once-ler is rather successful because he is creating something that people need.

Lesson: Lawyers should offer services that people actually need.

3. Vlad Vladikoff

Vlad Vladikoff, from Horton Hears a Who, is the mean-spirited eagle that drops the clover containing Whoville (that Horton is trying to save) in a field full of other clovers. Unfortunately, Horton is dedicated and keeps searching through thousands of clovers until he finds the one Vlad dropped.

This can teach all us lawyers an important discovery tip: Shuffling your document production to hide the smoking gun evidence you don't want to produce won't accomplish what you want.

4. The Cat in the Hat

While we all remember how awful the cat from The Cat in the Hat was to the children and the fish, setting them up to get in so much trouble from their derelict mother who left her young children home alone (because a fish is not a real babysitter), many often forget that at the end of the story, the cat actually comes back to clean everything up and make it like it never happened ... Then the cat leaves the children to decide whether or not to tell their mother about what just happened.

The lesson: Always clean up your own messes. If you make a mistake, fix it, then let the client decide on the final action to take.

5. The Grinch

How the Grinch Stole Christmas may end with the Grinch turning over a new leaf, but he actually failed to carry out his original objective of crushing Whoville's Christmas. He failed because he failed to prepare and plan properly. Had he understood that Christmas wasn't about the presents for the Whoville residents, but rather about being together, he could have focused his nefarious efforts elsewhere and potentially succeeded.

The lesson: If you want to destroy your opponents, you need to understand their true needs and goals.

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