I Moonlight at Fogo de Chao

Q I’m a new associate. I started at a mid-size Philadelphia firm in November 2010. Though I’m at a firm that doesn’t pay a ton (but apparently used to), I consider myself lucky. But, because I have enormous student loan debt from undergrad and law school, I’m pinching pennies. So much so that I have held on to a moonlighting job at Fogo de Chao, the Brazilian steakhouse downtown here in Philly.

To be honest, I like my work at Fogo a lot better than the grind I face each day at the firm. I’m on my feet, I meet interesting people, and it’s fun working with the same crew each weekend. I can’t say the same for the law firm but I understand it will get better.

On occasion, I get called to do a shift during the weekday, which means starting around 4:30. Which means leaving early. It also means that I keep my Fogo attire tucked away at work and have to change quickly before going to do the shift (I take the Fogo stuff home on the weekends). I’m now concerned that I’ve started to live a “double life” and wonder how partners or associates would react if they went for a steak on the weekend and saw me working. Any advice? Do BigLaw associates ever moonlight?

A Honestly, I cannot get past the image of you as a Fogo gaucho, with your Argentian riding boots, a rastras belt, and Bombacha pants, walking through the lobby at Dechert to scurry on to your night job of spearing sirloin. It just cracks me up. Actually, why even change your outfit? Wear it on the days you have a shift. Claim you have a deep Brazilian gaucho heritage that goes back centuries and explain to associates and partners the fine art of Churrasco grilling and how best to prepare barbecued frango. Awesome.

Either 86 the Fogo de Chao gig or drop out of BigLaw. They don’t mix. Sure, I’ve heard rumors of big firm associates moonlighting these days. But not at Fogo de Chao. Maybe you’re proud of being a passadore, otherwise known as a meat waiter. But you are a meat waiter for the law. Unless you want to advance your career by moving on to Rumjungle, put your nose to the grind and wear a suit. If you must, you can wear gaucho boots. Just don’t tuck in your pants.

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/contusion/3165293819/)

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.


  1. Strenuous Objector

    June 3, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Why can’t you moonlight as a bartender like every other underpaid lawyer? It’s more acceptable and you still meet interesting people. But be smart and choose a lower level bar because you still don’t want to run into partners at the high class bar down the street.

  2. thenambypamby

    June 3, 2011 at 8:18 am

    I love the smell of meat and litigation in the morning.

  3. Ellen

    June 3, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I would like a MOONLIGHTING job like this, but peeple know what I look like so that would NOT be good.

  4. Quadoz

    June 3, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Outside of the realm a little…but I work midnights as a city cop, get off work at 8am and head to a shared office. I do NOT work full time as an attorney. I take cases as they come. Usually minor criminal defense matters. I do this is different counties for obvious COI issues.

    Do what you do man! It really comes down to money. At what point does the time spent on weekends at the restaurant gig start hurting your law job. Once my police job becomes a burden…I’m out. It has great health benefits and I’m almost locked into a small pension. I’m waiting that out.

    Good luck you’re not alone.

    City cop by Midnight, Rookie Lawyer by Day

  5. Alan T.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Meat waiter for the law. I can just smell that.

  6. Hank

    June 3, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Don’t sweat it, dude. It’s snatch. If they don’t pay you enough and you need to work for more snatch, so what? If they see you, so what? Maybe they will pay you more.

  7. Hannah Palindrome

    June 4, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    This made my day…LOL

    • Guano Dubango

      June 5, 2011 at 3:48 pm

      You are still around? I wanted to date you! Are you still in the market?

  8. mean partner

    June 6, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    buzz off guano. she’s mine. you drool over every woman here. I am moe selective. go chase that drunk typist named ellen

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