I Got Busted for Steroids


QI’m a fourth year associate and I’ve been busted for steroids. Let me explain. I’m a former Division II college baseball player and did well in sports and school. After graduating from law school and joining my current firm, I ended up in an interfirm softball league. I think my baseball background may have made the difference in my getting hired, as the league is pretty serious and the firm partners and more senior associates take the games seriously. Very seriously, with each team having to assign a “stats rep” to track stats and report those stats to the “commissioner,” who then records the stats each year. Going back to 1984.

As it turns out, I set the single season home run record in 2010 when I was a second year associate. During that winter, though, I was into weightlifting and dabbled (I know, bad decision) with steroids. I saw short-term fantastic results in weightlifting. And I also smashed the softball league home run record by 9, which seemed incidental to what I was trying to do personally. In other words, I didn’t mess with steroids to hit home runs in a law firm softball league. I was just trying to stay buff.

You can probably guess what happened. I went out for drinks after work with some associate friends, one of whom I didn’t know well because she worked for another firm. I had one too many drinks and ultimately narced on myself about the steroids. Word then got out, I got questioned by partners, and I ended up having my records stripped (I also had the single-season RBI record), and was banned for the 2011 season. No lie.

Here’s the deal, though. Now that it’s the 2012 softball season the team wants me to play again. I’m done with the league and don’t want any more attention. But I also don’t want to hurt my chances of moving up in the firm if it actually does matter to partners that I play. What do you think?

AI have to admit that, when I first got this email with the subject line “I’ve Been Busted for Steroids,” I was pretty excited. Finally, steroid use enters and affects the practice of law. But when I read further and realized it was just another sports-related issue, I was a little deflated. Until I thought further and said to myself “holy shit, this is priceless.”

An interfirm softball league with a “commissioner,” a season ban, and home run records being stripped because a player was juiced? It cracks me up. That’s honestly my response. But to your immediate “problem” of playing this season, that’s a gut call, and from the sounds of it you are done. Be done and move on to what you were hired to do: practice law. Will it affect your ability to move up in the firm? Marginally, if at all. Sure, you could be your own private McGwire and hit some more home runs and lead the team to victory. But that won’t substitute for billing enough hours or for doing top-quality legal work. That’s the bottom line.

Come to think of it, though, you could continue some of this farce and become a reformed anti-steroid crusader. Y’know, crusade against the use of Nandrolone in a law firm softball league. Rail against ‘roid rage and its presence in the courtroom and on the field. Create a public awareness campaign and become a role model to other young and impressionable softball playing attorneys. Maybe propose a strict set of guidelines and policies, complete with suspensions, investigations, appeals, and arbitrations. Lawyers love that stuff. Hell, see if you can implement a random drug testing program league-wide so that partners and associates have to take a break at the office to pee in cups. That would be worthwhile.

Seriously, be done. Avoid the whispers up at the plate. And lay off the steroids. A buff attorney is just a buff attorney. Nothing more.

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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.

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