I Got Busted for Running a March Madness Bracket at My Law Firm


QI just got yelled at by a partner for running a March Madness bracket. Twenty bucks a person. No big deal. But when I sent him a copy of the bracket, he got pissed. Told me that gambling in the workplace is inappropriate. I apologized, and that was that. But I didn’t cancel the pool. Advice?

AMarch Madness is practically a national two-week holiday. Filling out brackets and entering office pools is part of our culture—our workplace culture too. It is, however, technically gambling.  UCLA football Coach (and ex-lawyer) “Slick Rick” Neuheisel got into all kinds of trouble for filling out brackets when he was head coach for Washington. There’s a difference, of course. The NCAA doesn’t want coaches gambling ON ANYTHING. My point is: It’s fun, it’s part of the social fabric, but it’s gambling. No matter how big or small the entry fee.

As for my advice: This partner sounds like a joyless douchebag.  So don’t worry.  No partner is bigger than March Madness.  As for my real advice: Let someone else run the goddamn pool next year—and have him or her check with a reasonably important person at the firm to see if there’s any sort of policy in place regarding office pools. Most firms are okay with it, but it’s still worth checking.

Go Northern Iowa!

Ex-Bitter is a former big firm lawyer who now doles out advice to anyone who asks. Got a question? Email it to advice@bitterlawyer.com. Or read more Advice from an Ex-Bitter.

10 Comments

  1. Big Jim

    March 26, 2010 at 7:02 am

    No Partner is bigger than March Madness.  Word.

  2. BL1Y

    March 26, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Gambling in the work place is definitely inappropriate.  However, gambling outside the work place with colleagues is perfectly fine.  You got in trouble because you’re an idiot.  Trying to involve partners in any social activity is a recipe for disaster.  Lawyers are risk adverse, so when a partner sees you gambling in the office, he’s going to see you not as a fun guy, but as a potential liability to the firm, because you obviously lack any sense of prudence or discretion.  As a general rule, don’t try to socialize with anyone more than 2 years above or below you in seniority.  Stick with your peers, and keep it out of the office.  Seriously, how hard is this?

  3. KateLaw

    March 26, 2010 at 8:19 am

    That sucks.  Im so glad I don’t work at a law firm.  Go cats!!!!!!

  4. Sarcasmus

    March 26, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Does this post actually seek any advice?  You got ripped by a partner and probably cried a little in your office.  No advice needed. 
    Of course that didn’t stop BL1Y from giving all kinds of dumbass advice.  The executive director of my firm walked around with squares for a superbowl pool and practically forced me to buy a couple.  But BL1Y definitely is right–universally right.  Asshat.

  5. Luke

    March 26, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Northern Iowa?  Are you kidding me?  I have Michigan State going all the way.

  6. Guano Dubango

    March 26, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    We have a pool @ my firm, but I know nothing about such matters, so I did not participate.  Now I see that the pretty women paralegals are participating, so next year I will participate.  I must learn first what the pool is all about.

  7. Smurf

    March 26, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    I wouldn’t sweat it at all.  There must be other partners participating.  If it were me, I’d make sure to give him two brackets next year (although I can be kind of a dick sometimes).

  8. Alma Federer

    March 28, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Again with the sports?  If it’s not sports, its sex and women’s boobs.  And if not boobs, its our va-jay jays!  When will you guys grow up?

  9. Storm

    March 29, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    If you need to gamble, for heaven’s sake do not do it at a law office. It is totally inappropriate. What possible benefit are you getting out of being the office sportsbook? You deserved your dressing down.

  10. Robert Scott Lawrence

    March 30, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    That’s funny considering at most shops it’s the sports-crazed young partners who are in charge of the brackets.  He was probably irritated that his alma mater was about to get a whuppin’.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>