Tucker Max: The Anti-Lawyer

Bitter Vault Interviews, Lawyer 43 Comments

If you attended Duke Law School between 1998 and 2001, you probably idolized, abhorred or had sex with Tucker Max. Truly uninspired about becoming a lawyer, he rarely attended class, but Tucker made the most of his law school experience.

Fueled by excessive amounts of firm-sponsored booze, an averted sexual encounter with a married female partner, and a belligerent performance at the firm retreat landed him in the managing partner’s office—fired from his first (and only) summer associate gig. Days later, an email he wrote to friends chronicling the incidents turned him into a viral internet sensation.

Realizing people were fascinated both by his frat-boy antics and pompous narrative, Tucker started a blog, where he poured out his sex-obsessed, beer-soaked soul. The true-life experiences he wrote about weren’t merely salacious by earnest-lawyer standards. They were salacious by human standards. And his audience grew like crazy.

Based on the massive popularity of tuckermax.com, a book deal followed. Originally published in January 2006 when Tucker was thirty, the book’s opening lines were as frank as his website:

My name is Tucker Max, and I am an asshole. I get excessively drunk at inappropriate times, disregard social norms, indulge every whim, ignore the consequences of my actions, mock idiots and posers, sleep with more women than is safe or reasonable, and just generally act like a raging dickhead. But, I do contribute to humanity in one very important way: I share my adventures with the world.

I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell has been on The New York Time’s bestseller list since it’s release—and doesn’t look to be dropping soon.

So what’s the obvious next step? Yep, a major motion picture. (Preview embedded at the bottom of this interview.) Written and produced by Mr. Max himself, the independently financed and distributed movie version of Tucker’s memoirs, I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, opens nationwide September 25th. Yet, unlike most authors, Tucker produced, wrote the screenplay, and retained complete creative control of the entire project—and not without complication and risk. Which means he might be putting that law degree to use after all.

We caught up with Tucker during his movie’s sold-out promotional tour to find out why he hated law school, his advice for envious lawyers, and if he’s ever bagged a gunner.
Tucker, what would you say is your current job title?
Well, I wrote a book that has sold a million copies and is in its fourth year on the bestseller list. So that makes me a bestselling author. I wrote the screenplay to a movie that got made, which makes me a working screenwriter. Then I produced the movie, which makes me a producer. Take your pick.
Where did you go to law school?
Duke Law School, class of 2001.
Honors? Law Review?
Do I look like a tool to you? HAHHAHA—I don’t think I could pick out half my professors from a lineup. I never went to class. So useless and boring.
On your site, you call going to law school “a mistake.” Why did you even originally go?
Why do you do anything when you are young? Stupidity, stubbornness, lack of wisdom. I thought I wanted to be a lawyer, but I had no idea what it meant to be a lawyer. All I knew was that people spoke reverently of lawyers, that everyone said being a lawyer meant you were a success, etc., etc.Like all idiotic college kids, I wanted status without having to actually do anything to get it. Law school seemed the easiest route. But life had other plans for me.
When was your “I have to get the f**k out of law” epiphany?
Probably when I was fired three weeks into my summer associate job [at Fenwick & West]. It’s only a famous story, right here on my website.
Did you ever practice?
Tough to practice when you never even take the bar.
You’re most famous for your blog and book, I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell, which details your excessive drinking, obnoxious behavior, and explicit sexual conquests. Did you start publishing your writing before law school? How did it affect your law school experience?
Indeed, I did. I actually write about this in the book. I put up the original site as a joke and girls responded. I ended up hooking up with this fat girl and threw her clothes out the window so my friends wouldn’t see her.
What was your best moment as a law student?
Cancun. I spent like six weeks in the middle of my second semester of law school working in Cancun. When I got back, I walked into my federal tax exam having never stepped foot into class, armed with only a generic outline, and still got a 2.5 on the exam.
What was your worst?
Tough to top getting fired. In three weeks. From a summer associate job. Especially considering how famous that story is.
If you had not been fired from Fenwick that summer, do you really think you would’ve had the balls to leave the law?
I don’t know, man. I like to think so, but to say I definitely would have is post-rationalization bullshit.

Do not underestimate the fear that grasps people who have just a little bit of security. It was easy for me to take a risk and become a writer once I had been fired. What did I have to lose? But when I had the job, I did have something to lose, and even an extreme risk taker like me stops and thinks about quitting a job that pays that much money.
Did you always have a knack for writing? Or did you really discover the art by growing your emails to friends into blog posts?
I basically stumbled into it. I would write emails to my friends about my nights out with no other intention other than to entertain them. They loved them, forwarded them outside the group, encouraged me to put my site up, and here we are.
How much of what you’ve written has been based on stories from law school?
I feel like you haven’t actually read the book, because if you had, you’d know that like 80% of the stories are from law school.
Do you ever find any value in your law degree?
It makes some people take me more seriously, which in turn makes me take them less seriously because I know what a joke a law degree is, and I have no respect for people who worship degrees.

I take a lot of value in my undergrad education, but grad school was pretty worthless—aside from the friends I made there.
On your blog, you advise prospective law students to go only if they want to spend their lives working in “a tedious, shitty, unrewarding job.” What would be your advice for any current lawyers out there who are jealous of your lifestyle?
Stop being jealous and go pursue your own dreams. If you hate being a lawyer, why are you doing it?
Do you feel like you owe your life and success to law school?

I mean, maybe if you look at it from the perspective that I met some great friends there and had a chance to do all this crazy stuff because I never went to class, then I guess. But that’s a bullshit way to look at it. I would have made something like this out of whatever I did. I owe something to my friends for being funny and pushing me into writing, but I owe nothing to law school.
Of your good buddies you met at Duke, are any of them still practicing? Do they hate all the bad things you say about lawyers?
Fuck no. They agree with me more than anyone. Some are practicing; at least two are partners at major firms, one works for the government, one runs a company, etc., etc. But they pretty much all hate the law.
Of your entire breadth of work, which Tucker Max story is your favorite?
It’s actually one that is going to be in my next book, Assholes Finish First, about the time my friends and I were arrested for DUI. While driving an RV. On a high-speed chase. Through Harlem.
Obviously you get a lot of stupid, redundant responses from fans, but what are your favorite reactions that people have about your work?
I don’t know if I have a favorite reaction. I like it when people like my stuff, I guess.

If pressed, I would say my favorite reaction is when a really hot girl not only thinks I’m funny, but gets the genius in my writing. That is a recipe for awesomeness.
What does your family think? Do they wish you were a nice lawyer instead?
I don’t really know, but if my family isn’t proud of having a best-selling author in the family, they can fuck themselves.
So what’s going on with the movie, I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell?
Well, it’s coming out nationwide on September 25th. And we are doing a big premiere tour to promote it—31 cities in like 40 days. So far, it’s been awesome, and it’s all on the movie site.
What’s it like casting someone to play you in a movie? What did you look for in an actor, and how did you decide on Matt Czuchry?
The absolute most important thing—the thing that Matt [Czuchry] nailed and really no other actor had—was his likability and redeemability. You just can’t help but love the dude. Matt has this smile and this energy that is so positive and refreshing. It’s this sort of impish charm. No matter what he says—even mean stuff—you smile with him when he says it. There’s no anger in him, no malice, no meanness, which is important because that’s not what the character is about.

So many actors took this character as an asshole in the most literal sense and played it as this aggressive, macho doofus—which is totally wrong. Matt understood that the character was ultimately a good guy who is just a narcissist; he does outlandish and crazy things only because he is fun-loving and always looking to create entertainment.

For “Tucker,” it’s always about the story or about the joke, not about hurting other people. He’s a narcissist. Other people only exist to him as objects—not as people—so he doesn’t even consider if they will be hurt or not. He only cares if he’s being entertained. And that’s what the movie is about: Tucker understanding how his narcissism affects his friends.
Do you feel like the hilarity of your written work translated well into a movie?
Fuck yes. The movie is absolutely drop-dead hilarious. Wait until you see it, you will laugh your ass off.
What’s a typical day for you? Is it a non-stop, drunken orgy, or should we not believe everything we read?
Where did I ever write that my life is a non-stop drunken orgy? Those are the stories I write about because they make the funniest stories, but that is by no means my whole life. I mean, I just fucking produced a major motion picture. That is so hard and tazing—you have no idea.
Did you get laid more in college, law school, or now that you’re a well-known author/blogger?
None of the above. I got the most ass after I quit all the fucking bullshit and decided to move to Chicago and write full time. I was poor as fuck, no job, no prospects, but I had so much fun and pulled so much ass, it was crazy. Now, I work so much, ass gets the backseat. Kinda ironic.
You founded a network of websites called Rudius Media that provides a home for bloggers, writers, artists, etc. to post free of censorship. One of your most popular site authors is [Bitter Lawyer] PhilaLawyer, who anonymously reveals “the darker side of the legal culture.” Why did you add him to the family?
Because the dude is a brilliant writer, he was getting no attention, and it was bullshit. PhilaLawyer deserved a wider audience. Seemed obvious to me that the dude would be a star.
Your work has put you on the receiving end of a few lawsuits. Were you a First Amendment hawk in law school?
HAHHHAHAHAHAH—yeah, that was me, constantly arguing with professors and debating the gunners. You nailed it.

Did you ever hookup with a gunner?
Man, be serious.

Did you ever consider yourself a Bitter Lawyer?
No. I quit and did something that made me happy. Why be bitter? Just stop.

During a libel suit, a judge called you “the poster child of vulgarity.” (USA Today article HERE.) Do you love being hated? It is possible to offend you?

I don’t really even consider [being hated.] For someone to hate me is a reflection of them and what their issues are; it has nothing to do with me, so I have never really let it affect me, either good or bad. I think it’s funny, and I enjoy it as entertainment though—that’s for sure. I only get offended if you lie about me. Anything else is subjective opinion; I could care less about it.
You’ve lived a wild life so far. What’s the future for Tucker Max?
If I told what was in my future, you would think I was fucking crazy. But let’s just say that this is only the very beginning.
All these great stories—any regrets? (Other than throwing away the buttsex video, of course.)
Dude, of course. Who has lived a life without regrets? I have just as many as anyone else, but I am just honest about mine and write about them for the world to see.

This post was part of the Best of the Bitter: 2009, which featured the three most popular Bitter Lawyer interviews from 2009. Tucker Max: The Anti-Lawyer was a big number one (and led to 10 Lessons From the Tucker Max Movie Premiere), followed by Len Elmore: NBA, Harvard, D.A. & Dreier and Noel Biderman: King of Infidelity.

Share this Post

  • BL1Y

    You seriously need to fire the person who does the interviews.  Good on Tucker for calling him out on being completely unprepared and not having a clue who he was interviewing.

  • Bravo

    This is my first reaction to this interview: You have a 140 on a WISC IQ test or higher.  So much ability, I hope you use it wisely and feel proud of your accomplishments.  What a great lawyer you could be.

  • KateLaw

    Agreed… that was pretty bad. 

    I think Tucker Max is hilarious, but I seriously doubt that his stories are complete fact.  “Tucker” is an exaggerated character, which is what makes him so damn entertaining.

  • Craig

    Please, the interviewer did fine. Tucker was fighting every question, which was actually the most interesting part of the interview.  It seemed as if Tucker would have preferred to not only answer the questions, but ask the questions as well. I guess you can’t expect anything else from a self proclaimed, celebrated narcissist.  I find his stuff hysterical though and can’t wait for the movie.

  • BL1Y

    Of course he’s going to fight stupid questions like whether he considers himself a bitter lawyer.  He’s not bitter and hasn’t ever been a lawyer.

  • Craig

    The interview was geared toward people who have either never heard of Tucker Max, or knew very little about him. Most of the Bitter Lawyer interviews are general, “get to know” type pieces.  Tucker answered half the questions like everyone should already know all about him and every story he has written, which is fine, because that is who Tucker is and why he is entertaining.  I mean, I didn’t think the interview was that great.  I guess I just didn’t think the interviewer did that bad.

  • BL1Y

    That’s what the editor’s note at the top is for, to catch people up.  But it really sounds like the interviewer just didn’t know anything about the person he was interviewing.  It’d be like interviewing Sotomayor and asking if she has any ambition to be a judge one day.

  • Hannah Palindrome

    Tucker has to drop the kids off in the pool…hee hee

  • Lawyer Bob

    The interview is interesting. The subject is a jerk, but that’s the point. I suppose BL1Y would’ve just stroked Tucker’s massive ego. But that’s not a good interview.

  • Frat Guy Lawyer Type

    Having had a colorful social life myself in college and law school, I have to make an observation about the veracity of the Tucker Max stories.  When you’re outside the norm and people enjoy telling stories about you, they get exaggerated, sometimes wildly so.  Past a certain point, you can’t really bring them back to reality.  People just remember the fantastic story, not what actually happened.  I suspect Tucker Max has made this work for him and I also suspect that, to the extent that his friends remember the stories, they remember the stories as they appear in the book.

  • Fan Boy

    BL1Y:  Yeah, the should fire the person who does the interviewing.  I mean, they get such terrible people to interview on this site.  Toobin, Posner, Jay Bilas, Elizabeth Wurtzel,Woodruff, Robert Parker, cool LA agent types… Yeah, this guys sucks!!!

  • Anon

    tucker max rules.  I would totally date him.

  • BL1Y

    Frat Guy Lawyer Type is spot on.  Some of the stories are certainly untrue.  Why couldn’t he retrieve the film from the Tucker Tries Anal (Hilarity Does Not Ensue) story, or why was there no police report confirming the crash in Sushi Pants?  And how come Tucker’s breathalyzer gives an actual reading instead of an error message when used just after taking a shot?  These would have been better questions than “So, like, I didn’t even bother reading your wikipedia page before this interview, so fill me, did you ever become a lawyer?”

  • Anon

    BL1Y:  No wonder you got canned, dude.  You’re annoying.

  • c_broski

    some of the early tucker stories are certainly funny and well-written, but as he has gone along and his legend has grown, he has become an even more insufferable asshole and his writing has suffered. i get that that’s his schtick, but it gets pretty tiresome pretty quick. his stories are nothing that anyone who isn’t a straight-laced rule-follower haven’t experienced in some fashion. the shame is that he truly is a bright guy, but he realized that he could make more dough dumbing down his stories to appeal to the frat-guy demo, when he really could have been a true wit. philalawyer’s writing destroys tucker’s in every possible respect. thankfully the movie trailer just saved me 10 bucks.

  • KateLaw

    Philalawyer is SO much better than Tucker Max.

  • Anonymous

    terrible trailer. i’ll rent it, though.

  • Anon

    Of course the trailer sucks. It’s a green band trailer, which means it has to be clean for all audiences. No swearing, no nudity, nothing that great. The Magic Johnson joke was still great, and it wasn’t even that great of a joke.
    Wait for the red band trailer or stream it online before judging it.

  • BL1Y

    “Fat girls aren’t even real people.” QFT.

  • Magic Circle Jerk

    Philalawyer is a better writer, but Tucker’s stories still make me cry with laughter.
    While the trailer makes me doubt his schtick translates well into film, I am definitely looking forward to his next book.

  • Anonymous

    This man is my new hero

  • Anonymous

    love this. thanks

  • BL1Y

    What’s with the 8% of people who sleep with their blackberry, and the majority that keeps in on their nightstand?  Are you really going to wake up in the middle of the night and rush into work?  If you keep it in a valet with your keys, wallet, etc so it’s all together, then just move your valet.  Don’t bring work into the bedroom.

  • Anonymous

    @ BL1Y, are you really in a position to give career advice? Wondering if the 8 percent who sleep with their blackberry got laid off?

  • Guano Dubango

    I would like to get the women this man does; of course I would marry one that I liked.

  • BL1Y

    We had neurotic, married-to-the-job types get laid off too.  And honestly, if I was expected to jump out of bed at 3am and run in to work, I’d quit.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting guy! gotta give it to him I guess. he is kinda a stud. bold. over the top.

  • Douge

    cool trailer.

  • Thoughtful Lawyer

    What’s great about this dude, and this interview, is that he’s the polar opposite of the typical lawyer (and the typical reader of this site).  He doesn’t give a shi*, while the rest of us care way too much about every little thing.  So I say “Good on ya, Tucker Max!” Hopefully, you’re ridiculous insensitivity will rub off on the rest of us!!!

  • EngineerdLawyer

    Like the blog, the book but not the trailer. The acting seems a bit “forced” and unnatural.

  • Vinnie

    Tucker Max is a liar and a douchebag.

  • Insensitive Cad

    The typical lawyer is the polar opposite of the normal human.  Max is insensitive, but not as hypersensitive as the tools in this industry.

  • Insensitive Cad

    Correction: “Not as insensitive as the tools in this industry are hypsersensitive.”

  • MC

    I love all the people who get all worked up about everything Tucker says (he’s just a guy who writes funny stories who didn’t like practicing law, that’s really it), and the ones who say his stories are made up.  Most people who partied a lot in their late teens/20s have similar stories, it’s just that Tucker is a very good writer, remembers them in great detail, and is funny, so the stories are enjoyable to read.  I think the only reason they seem embellished or exaggerated is because they are well written and described in detail.

  • Tman

    This guy is one lucky dude. a book and a movie. and he looks like he lives it up. sounds good to me.

  • BL1Y

    Here’s why Tucker is so different from lawyers: He isn’t a lawyer and never was.  Are so many of you that reading impaired?

  • Anon

    Who would you rather be?  Tucker Max or BL1y?

  • barney

    Do you really have to ask that question? hmmm?

  • Alma Federer

    This man is disgusting. Am I surprised that the Bitterlawyers are looking up to this guy like he is GAWD?  Why is it that a man who makes his life screwing women over is deified, while the hard working women are looked at as comedy fodder?  We need women to be running this sight, not men.

  • LawyerLover

    i heart tucker max

  • Hannah Palindrome

    TuckerMax: Proust beats Toole! =)

  • Blair Grad

    TM is in no way brilliant.  He found a niche and exploits it.  Believe a quarter of what he writes tops.

  • Tugger Maxth

    Wow! I only lost TEN MILLION DOLLARS on my movie!!!
    Yeth, I am a GENIUTH, and i had butt-thethx.