Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood and Bourbon
Bertram "Bert" S. Villars
Ex-bug exterminator & current grimebag lawyer
“Walter never told me how lucky he was. Clearly his taste in women is the same as his taste in lawyers: only the very best… with just a right amount of dirty!”
—Saul Goodman, Breaking Bad
“You are amoral, are you not? You are feeding off the violence and the despair of the drug trade. You are stealing from those who themselves are stealing the lifeblood from our city. You are a parasite who leeches off the culture of drugs.”
“Just like you, man.”
“Excuse me? What?”
“I got the shotgun, you got the briefcase. It’s all in the game though, right?”
—Maurice Levy to Omar Little, The Wire
“You strike me, if you don’t mind me saying so, as one sly motherfucker.”
—Emmett “Em” Delacroix
“I’d love to punch him. He’s blind too, an’ since you can’t punch blind people, that just makes me want to punch him more.”
—Aaron “Lucky” Johnson
Bert Villars’ presence is usually preceded by the sound of a clip-harnessed, stub-tailed dobberman’s steady padding: his Seeing Eye dog. The grimebag lawyer usually wears black sunglasses that conceal his sightless eyes, dapper if mid-range dark suits, checkered neckties, and an American flag lapel pin that satisfy all the external trappings for how a lawyer is supposed to look. His leathery, scabbed-over skin attests to his former career, while his too-wide, yellow-toothed smile make people think he’s “the sort of lawyer that guilty people hire.”
He usually just smiles wider when they tell him that.
Bert Villars was born to poverty and a broken family. He rarely goes into more detail than that: it’s the same story his typical clients have heard a thousand times before, if not lived themselves.
The important thing, he likes to say, is that he made enough of himself to attend college and get into LSU Law. Working as a bug exterminator paid tuition but cost his sight, leaving him near-blind (“the important thing is legally blind") as a result of his exposure to toxic chemicals. Some of his current clients claim the sly, black-spectacled attorney can see better than he lets on, but Villars just smirks and denies it when asked.
After graduating, Villars moved to New Orleans and made a good, if notorious, living chasing ambulances. In fact, he became known as Twilight Zone Villars because of his eerie expertise at showing up in emergency wards and intensive care units and convincing half-comatose accident victims to sign settlement agreements and liability waivers that often left them destitute.
In more recent years, Esq. Villars has increased his infamy (and bank account) by serving as the attorney for seemingly half of the Big Easy’s pimps and crack kings. Although his credentials aren’t the best, and his office space is far from impressive, few of Villars’ clients deny that he is “one smart motherfucker.” His list of dirty tricks is at least as long as their rap sheets, and it’s rare indeed that he doesn’t manage to wrangle some kind of deal for them. It’s even rarer that his clients are innocent, a fact which has made him possibly the most hated lawyer in the city by cops and ADAs.
Aaron “Lucky” Johnson: “There’s this one scumbag, Bert Villars, who I swear every pimp and crack king in the city has for a lawyer. I’d love to punch him. He’s blind too, an’ since you can’t punch blind people, that just makes me want to punch him more.”
Villars, for his part, could care less. In his own words to his clients, “I’ll defend you if you’re Hitler, so long as your money’s good.”
Villars likes to say he never does anything illegal himself, but he knows a lot of people who do. Twilight Zone Villars knows criminals from every walk of (criminal) life, ranging from hitmen to drug dealers to burglars to countless others. He’s also acquainted more than a few corrupt officials in various positions who are open to abusing their authority for bribes. Some of Villars’ clients rely on him to put them in touch with other criminals as much as they do for legal advice and representation: he’s their “guy who knows a guy.”
Villars runs a solo law practice with an office in Mid-City. He employs a legal secretary, Paloma Osuna, and a variety of “helpers” from “disadvantaged backgrounds” on an as-needed basis. They’re essentially hucksters and thugs. (Legal Status ••)