BigLaw Madness: Elite 8 and The Finals


Well, it was an exciting BigLaw Sweet Sixteen—especially for those who advanced to the Elite Eight. Without further ado, I’m breaking down the four regional matchups to see who advances to my fake FINAL FOUR, where I will crown a BIGLAW CHAMPION!  Playing Madness God is awesome.

Midwest Region

This matchup pits two formidable Big Law staples who actually know each other quite well.

Young, Cool Partner (1) against his sometime mentor Dirty Old-Man Partner (8)

They have shared many a scotch together in the days when YCP was just YCA and DOMP wanted to mold him into a Dirty Young Partner.  But YCP is from a different generation (translation: he has a lot more respect for women and minorities). YCP is leading his firm into the new millennium while DOMP is just barely hanging around and needs YCP to teach him how the new phones work, what Facebook and Twitter are, who Simon Cowell is and, most importantly, what the new term for secretary is and why he can’t grab her ass anymore. It’s only a matter of time before he’s put out to pasture where he belongs. It was close for the first half, but then YCP sped up the game to a gear that DOMP no longer has.

Winner: YCP

West Region

Now, here’s an intriguing matchup!

Partner With No Concept of Work/Life Balance (15) goes up against Wild and Crazy Male Associate (7)

I know what you’re all thinking. WCMA is obviously going to advance—but like I said before, this is just my completely unbiased, objective, non-racist assessment of the matchup. This time around, Partner is keeping a watchful eye on WCMA because he has seen his tricks far too many times before and is boiling over with contempt. He demands that WCMA takes all conference calls in his office lest WCMA forward his calls to his apartment like usual. (Side note: Learn how to do this!)

Despite Partner’s aggressive tactics to stifle WCMA, WCMA has one last trick up his sleeve in the last minutes of the game. The fake death in the family.  This card is a huge one to play—and if caught in this lie, it will certainly lead to immediate termination. But it’s tourney time, which he has to leave it all on the court.  Even Partner With No Concept of Work/Life Balance has to let WCMA off the hook…although he will check in no more than 24 hours after the alleged funeral to rope WCMA back into the deal. Luckily for WCMA, he will already have duped a fellow associate into covering for him and working for this dreaded Partner.

Winner: WCMA (Though he doesn’t cover the spread.)

East Region

In perhaps the strongest matchup of this round it’s Cool, Younger Associate (3) in a sweaty, sticky battle against Hot Female Summer (6).

It’s tempting to go with the temptress. Her feminine wiles are so powerful that I sometimes have to cancel other people’s lunch plans so I can sneak into a meal with her. Is her smoking-hot body and sexy cackle enough to push her past the kind of guy that makes a law firm life tolerable?  After all, when the Summer is gone, all you are left with is a few memories of her to fantasize about in the shower. After that, you find yourself praying for more people like Cool, Younger Associate to pass the time with, whether it be sitting next to them at closing dinners, sharing a laugh impersonating some annoying gunner while chowing down on SeamlessWeb and waiting for some a-hole client to turn in their changes, or hitting the town for a night of booze and strippers.

CYA is a mainstay at the firm that can’t be underestimated. Loyalty is important. And we all know that Hot Female Summer will call you up one day and tell you someone made her a better offer for lunch. But Cool, Younger Associate already has a backup plan for this, calling Other Hot Female Summer (your firm better have 2!) and getting her to come to lunch so we can all enjoy a nice steak. It’s at those moments you know that kid is going places!

Winner: Cool, Younger Associate

South Region

In probably the weakest matchup in the Elite Eight we have Slovenly Associate Who Always Talks About Sports (13) in a whimper of a game against Competent, Young Paralegal (5)

Yikes. I really have to pick a winner?  On the one hand, we all know how I feel about “The Help.” The idea of having a Paratary making it to the Final Four sends shivers down my spine, BUT the idea of sending Slobby to the Final Four makes me want to throw up on his already stained shirt. I’d rather have shivers down the spine than have to spend another hour looking at Slobby’s Dorito-stained shirt while he tries to engage in a lengthy discussion about Jose Reyes’ hamstrings. Goodbye, Slobby.

Winner: Competent, Young Paralegal

The Final Four

We have a clearly unbalanced bracket, and two powerhouses are colliding in the top half: Young, Cool Partner (1) v. Wild and Crazy Male Associate (7)

In the first matchup, these foes know each other’s tricks quite well. Behind closed doors, YCP will let his scummy side come out as he begs WCMA to show him BlackBerry pics of his latest conquests, and in return, he regales WCMA with some of his stories from the good old days—like banging Chip-On-Her-Shoulder Female Partner on his desk! Of course, YCP always tries to keep a balance, lets WCMA think they are equals, in which case WCMA will do anything in his power to shirk his work responsibilities. YCP knows about all of WCMA’s hideouts: The movie theater, the titty bar, the Mexican joint with half-priced margaritas, forwarding calls to his apartment or the lounge with the big flat screen where he’s watching the real NCAA tourney.

YCP will have none of it. YCP has a high-maintenance wife at home who demands he bring home the bacon so their kid can attend the best kindergarten in town. Therefore, its all about the bottom line. Once WCMA shows up with glitter on his cheeks in front of clients, YCP will pass him straight of to Jin for his next deal—where he most certainly won’t have time for lap dances. YCP knows his station in this world, and he uses it wisely to control his underlings, even the craftiest of them. Even though WCMA makes YCP’s week much more tolerable, when push comes to shove, he’s shoving WCMA under a bus.

Winner: YCP

In the other matchup, two relative surprises make it out of the bottom half: Cool, Younger Associate (3) v. Competent, Young Paralegal (5)

Cool Younger Associate and Competent Young Paralegal both know each other pretty well. In fact, they may have a bunch of mutual friends in common from undergrad, though CYA probably attended a much better college. They both do pretty well with women and they are well adjusted socially. CYP definitely has a huge chip on his shoulder when being told what to do by CYA, who until this moment, seemed like his equal. CYA has the ability to call Paralegal into his office and turn him into a legal cheerleader—making him stand around while he’s on a conference call for an hour. Paralegal can try to leave, but CYA can point a finger and say, “Nope, because you didn’t do well on your LSAT and I did, I OWN YOU!”

Paralegal knows it, which is why after two years of this shit, he’s been buckling down at home and studying. This time, he raised his score up to a respectable level—enough to get into a Tier-2 law school. He is going to use his connections to break into BigLaw in a few years and play with the big boys. No more standing around like a doofus in a first-year’s office. Nope, Paralegal will be an equal to Young Associate one day. Unfortunately, this is a current tournament—not five years down the road when Cool Young Associate has become Cool Young Partner. The power gap will have only grown.

Sorry, Paralegal, you should have thought this through when you were doing keg stands as Cool Young Associate was doing his Princeton Review homework.

Winner: Cool, Younger Associate

The Championship

In the finals, it’s a battle of the young and cools: Young, Cool Partner (1) vs. Cool, Younger Associate (3).  On paper, it may seem a major mismatch. Young, Cool Partner has everything going for him—and he has momentum, having just steamrolled Wild and Crazy Male Associate and Dirty Old Man Partner (the two strongest opponents). Cool, Younger Associate is probably just happy to be in the finals and has no real expectation of winning. But sometimes that carefree attitude is what takes you to victory.

Young, Cool Partner tries to put the young upstart in his place early by burying him in some doc review. But he tries to balance it out by including Younger Associate in a closing dinner, even though his only real contribution was making the closing checklist. Unfortunately for YCP, this exposes Cool, Younger Associate to high-profile clients who are REALLY living the good life. At the end of the day, YCP has a ceiling in life. Sure, he is a partner at a law firm, but that means very low seven figures, a house in the suburbs and maybe a rental in the Hamptons, a few nice vacations. That’s really it. Not exactly “Living the Dream.”

Once Cool, Younger Associate really sees what else is out there, his mind begins to wander. He starts contemplating a shift to the other side. Private equity or hedge fund, where people who are his same age would consider Cool, Young Partner to be the poor kid in their social circle. Cool, Young Partner can’t keep up with these guys, and he knows it.

Cool, Young Associate still has that ability to chase that paper. Who knows—he may stick it out in BigLaw and turn into YCP (or worse, DOMP—or much, much worse, a Jin-type with no concept of work/life balance). Or he can say “Eff it” and start playing with the big boys. In which case, 10 years from now, he’ll be balling in a house he OWNS in the Hamptons and bossing around YCP who will now just be known as the middle-aged, mildy happy partner who works too hard for someone his age just to support a wife whose looks have faded. Only time will tell how it will all shake out for Cool, Younger Associate. The only thing we know is that the hope of anything is possible is why we watch March Madness.

And on this day, in my bracket, hope wins out. Cool, Younger Associate wins with a buzzer-beater from half court.

Winner Take All: Cool, Younger Associate

A review of your final bracket:

Read more Unethical & Amoral.

4 Comments

  1. Guano Dubango

    March 30, 2010 at 2:55 am

    I would not mind competing with the hot female summer associates, and hte hot paralegal, and even succumbing to them with the promise of a future life with either of them (with the winner bearing me many Dubango children).  I think there should be more respect for the older partners, who have made the firm the place it is for the young partners, associates and hot female associate and summer women, who provide excitement.  The old gents should at least be legally permitted to squeeze a few asses, I say.  Matt, my man, please change your rules to allow a little fun for the old partners!  Way to go, my man!

  2. miserable associate

    March 30, 2010 at 9:32 am

    In the real world, cool younger associate can’t be that cool, otherwise he would have chosen to work at a bank, or hedge fund right away instead of stupidly toiling in law school and big law for chump change.

  3. Anonymous

    March 30, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Unless he got a law degree to meet hot women, and then he would REALLY be disappointed!!!!  Oy!

  4. R Smith

    March 30, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Richardson is always fun to read, but I have to rain on his adoration of the YCP, who has the life span of a fruit fly.  YCP learns that keeping clients is harder than it looks, and whiny associates and “I’d rather be golfing” partners are drags on profits. The money YCP depends on for big pay.  YCP does not want firm to have to deequitize YCP or cut his draw becasue a big client leaves.  YCP develops some grudging respect for DOMP, who may not be cool but knows what clients want.  DOMP may have even tried a few cases or done a lot of deals.  YCP’s respect for women does not mitigate his sensible aversion to overnight business trips with them. He is a partner now–management.  The firm is strictly liable for his misconduct. He’d love to flaunt his YCP status on a trip to Montreal or London with hot young associate. But no hard-won partnership is worth an accusation by some overwrought feminist or honestly mistaken woman who thinks YCP made a pass.  His “C” status is near useless he realizes.  YCP’s respect for women remains undiminished but takes on a real world gloss as he learns that women who are every bit as competent as men are gone a lot raising kids. He also learns that no one, him inlcuded, wants to send the nice ones or good looking ones to inspect documents in Tuscaloosa.  The young uncool associates–women and men-are the ones he has to depend on.  YCP then asks DOMP what it was like to grab asses back in the 80’s before those pesky sexual harassment laws.  YCP expires completely when he has to lay down the law to the YCA being cool at the expense of work-YCP’s work. Now YCP is simply another determined lawyer, trying to stay ahead of the game and beating up on YCA’s. YCP realizes he is now just like DOMP, but without the ass grabbing.  His cool days are over.

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