Editor’s Note: Many of links included in this post connect to sites that feature sexual content. So you probably don’t want to click on them at the office.
The fact that lawyers frequent hookers isn’t a momentous revelation. What is newsworthy, however, is that most hookers consider attorneys to be “perfect customers.”
Since lawyers are frequently called whores—and since each month brings a new BigLaw-hooker scandal (yeah, we’re looking at you, anonymous Cravath partner)—we decided to investigate why lawyers and hookers make such terrific bedfellows.
Being among the highest-paid hourly workers, lawyers tend to have difficulty finding time for a personal life—especially compared to other professions, says “Jane,” a New York City escort who blogs at Debauchette.com. Jane explains that over-worked, under-sexed men are her best clients and that those men frequently tend to be lawyers at some of the world’s biggest firms.
“Lawyers have very little free time, and their relationships suffer for it,” Jane explains. “Sex is usually the first thing to go… [Lawyers] are pretty sex deprived. Which is great. I love being with a man who hasn’t been laid in a while. The sex is fantastic.”
A sentiment seconded by Veronica Franco, a Los Angles-based escort, who jokes that the best way to ruin her business would be to “bomb Century City.” According to Franco, lawyers account for the lion’s share of her clientele because they have little time to seek out a sexual release.
“You can’t just call up your girlfriend at 10 p.m. and say, ‘let’s [have sex]’ and then go back to work an hour later,” Franco says, adding that her clients choose to see escorts because it’s “one of the few ways a busy man can balance work and sex.”
Just like lawyers, escorts come in a variety of price ranges. For every ambulance chaser, there’s a nasty streetwalker. For every Big Firm partner, there’s a madam with a stable of elegant women. And for every associate, there’s a $300-per-hour escort.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to money. “You put your cash on the table, and you get what you want,” one anonymous attorney told Bitter Lawyer. “It’s just that easy. You take care of business, hand over some cash, then before you know it, you’re watching ESPN…”
Like most lawyers, escorts work on an hourly billing regime that puts exacting billing demands on its practitioners. In lawyers, escorts see likeminded creatures—each beholden to the demands of the outrageous billable hour.
Veronica Monet, a self-described courtesan from San Francisco, says she’s been with too many lawyers to count and gives the legal profession high marks for understanding the value of time.
“I love lawyers,” Monet says. “The main difference I’ve noticed between them and other professions is that lawyers tend to be less likely to take a superior attitude toward me. They pay in full, on time, without resentment or haggling. What’s not to like?”
Or, as Veronica Franco says, “A lot of men hear you say the price per hour, but when it comes down to it, many think they’re entitled to more. Lawyers don’t give you that kind of trouble—an hour is an hour.”
While individual experiences vary, the overwhelming sentiment from escorts was that lawyers generally made better clients than doctors, bankers or other professionals. Mainly because lawyers curiously got high marks for failing to live up to negative stereotypes associated with the profession. Where as doctors are generally deemed “arrogant” and bankers typically “jerks,” many escorts used kind words when regarding their lawyer clients. None referred to lawyers as egotistical, pompous or even (interestingly) hard bargainers.
Consider Jane’s (turgid) assessment of her lawyer clients:
“I’d say that lawyers come across as acutely intelligent and emotionally exhausted. They’re incredibly self-aware and sometimes neurotic, which I like. Sometimes they’re fraught with crushing existential angst, which I also like. I like lawyers as clients. I like how they think.”
While men see escorts for a wide range of reasons, one common denominator is stress.
“Lawyers come in, and their bodies are so tense. You can just tell,” Franco says. “It’s a high-stress job—often boring, and there’s a lot of pressure. Everyone needs some kind of release for that. And for most men, it’s either sex or drinking.”
Veronica Franco, it turns out, is a keen observer, according to Jeff Schultz, an Arizona-based therapist who treats men with sexual disorders, including those who frequent prostitutes. While Schultz doesn’t agree that using escorts is part of a healthy sex life, he does say that high-stress jobs can be a trigger for many men.
“The root cause of this kind of behavior is always an early altering experience,” Schultz says. “I treat a lot of lawyers, and there are several reasons for that, but one critical factor is certainly the intensity of their jobs.”
According to Laraine Russo Harper, a former manager of a Nevada cathouse and author of the book Legal Tender: True Tales of a Brothel Madam, that stress and intensity is frequently channeled into an interest in sadomasochism.
“We got a lot of lawyers and judges,” Harper reports, adding that members of the bar were typically the most common denizens of the brothel’s S&M facilities. “I think they just wanted a time for themselves when they could just relax, let go, and not have to make any decisions. After an S&M session, you could just see on their faces that the weight of the world had been lifted from their shoulders.”
Jane agrees. In the good ol’ days, when she too offered S&M services, the vast majority of her clients were lawyers. In fact, one kinky associate still ranks as her favorite client.
“[He] liked coercive role-play fantasies,” Jane recounts. “I would play the role of a married woman who would beg for something—maybe for him to give my husband his job back. He’d agree, but only under the condition that I [perform a certain sex act]. So, I would play the role of the unwilling housewife, mortified by the idea of being reduced to whoredom.”
And while stress can come with the territory for any profession, lawyers produce it in spades, which indubitably leads to increased demand for escorts.
“A lot of lawyers I see don’t come here for a [sex]fest,” Veronica Franco says. “They make all this money, but they have no life, and I feel sorry for them. They come to me to relax and to experience something sensual. I really enjoy helping them unwind.”
Whatever else can be said about lawyers, nearly all members of the profession take their duty of confidentiality seriously. Apparently, the same goes for escorts, all of whom were adamant about protecting their clients’ identities, including one dominatrix who declined to share even her clients’ anonymous requests.
“That’s inappropriate. Confidentiality, you know?” Mistress Matisse defends.
Since lawyers exist in an environment where loose lips mean risking professional sanctions and civil liability; for escorts, esquire clients are generally the least hazardous. With regard to discretion, those in the legal profession get high praise for their ritualistic devotion to secrecy, a critical part of the hooker-john relationship.
And while most escort arrangements are never discovered, when a lawyer is out-ed as a sex client—either by a spouse or, forbid, the press—a self-destructive streak is usually to blame, Jane explains.
“Some want to get caught, consciously or unconsciously, so they get sloppy and reckless,” Jane says. “[Yet] some seem to think they’re untouchable, or they have too much confidence in their ability to be discreet.”
Though according to Jane, lawyers who want to get caught are the exception. Without being told, most lawyers take basic security precautions like not using their work phone or email. And those who make security mistakes usually take kindly to instructions to beef up discretion, an anonymous Chicago-based escort reports.
After all, as a number of escorts pointed out, unlike bankers or other professionals, lawyers have an innate aversion to risk, a honed trait essential to keeping hookers in business.
At the end of the day, the perfect client is one who understands that what happened during the hour was merely a business transaction. But the emergence of a service known as The Girlfriend Experience (GFE) sometimes blurs that line.
The precise definition of GFE is murky, but according to the escorts, the term is a catchall for a more personal touch, including kissing and cuddling. The experience is meant to combine the punch of great sex with the emotional connection (albeit for a limited time) of a relationship.
“When I first heard the term GFE, I thought it was code for bad sex. Who would want to pay to have the kind of sex you could have with your girlfriend?” Veronica Franco jokes. “But I guess people are into trends, and being able to buy sex that’s a little more loving is just one of those trends now.”
For Franco, who charges an additional $100 per hour for the GFE, the trend is paying dividends. But like any powerful marketing tool, the GFE is also prone to creating false expectations among customers. Many of her GFE clients have invited her to dinner, shows and other date-like activities, all in an attempt to chip away at the escort-client relationship and build a real romance. According to Jodi Conway, a New Jersey-based psychotherapist, men frequently fall prey to an amorous delusion.
“Many men believe that they have a real relationship with an escort,” Conway says. “They believe that the escort really likes them. Like a girlfriend. They rationalize that they’re not paying for sex. They see themselves as special. But the moment the guy stops paying, it’s done.”
It’s that scenario that women like Veronica Franco seek to avoid. While Conway says one profession isn’t less susceptible than another when it comes to falling for escorts, Franco thinks lawyers handily beat the odd in this department.
“Lawyers get it,” Franco says. “They understand that my time is worth something. Time is money. Lawyers totally get what I do. That’s why I get along with them so well. If a guy is going to fall for me and start trying to take me out, odds are he’s not one of my lawyer clients.”
Does that mean lawyers have a monopoly on mental health? Far from it. Conway says men who see escorts are addicts with a serious problem that will—eventually—cause havoc in their personal (and possibly) professional lives. It’s that very threat of losing everything they’ve worked for that has prompted many lawyers to seek her help. In fact, Conway reports a spike in white-collar clientele in the wake of the Eliot Spitzer scandal.
But for every lawyer who seeks counseling, there are countless more who find it more pragmatic to continue seeing escorts.
“If you’re emotionally unavailable and you have [certain sexual] needs, what else are you going to do?” Veronica Franco asks.
Rather than a therapist, the typical outlet is a Google query that lands on sites like Eros-Guide.com or CityVibe.com where users can seek out local escorts by hair color, race, breast size, services menu and a host of other criteria. Discerning consumers can even register for user-generated sites like TheEroticReview.com, which is basically Yelp for the sex service industry.
Sadly, none of these sites—or any of the therapists Bitter Lawyer spoke with—offer an ABA discount.
Talk about a missed marketing opportunity.