Alston & Bird, Biglaw, Drinking, Holidays and Seasons, Rudeness

Associates: Try Not to Leave Behind Evidence of New Year’s Debauchery

(Admittedly, that advice would have been more helpful on Friday than it is now, but then I wouldn’t have had anything to write up today.)

Every year there are people who use New Year’s as an excuse to go out and act like fools. I know, the bubbles in the bubbly are hard to handle. But usually people get their act together by New Year’s Day. Maybe not Big Ten football people, but regular people usually manage to avoid embarrassment at the start of a new year.

But there are exceptions to every rule, and this year’s lawyerly exception comes from Charlotte, North Carolina. An associate at Alston & Bird went out for New Year’s Day dinner, and hilarity ensued.

Happily for the rest of us, an Above the Law reader was there to bear witness — and the associate left behind a little bit of evidence…

There’s more overlap than you might think between bartenders and the bar. Our source is the manager of a drinking and dining establishment in Charlotte (and a reader of ATL). Here’s what he told us:

During dinner time on Jan 1, a couple came in and it was obvious from their loud, obnoxious behavior that we were not their first stop of the night. The gentleman threw his coat across the room, put the woman’s purse on his head, and asked my bartender if “they should go kill themselves,” whatever that meant. All this in plain sight of at least 5 of my employees and 10-15 other guests.

(When I first read this I had a flutter of hope that Rich Rodriguez made a dinner trip from Jacksonville to Charlotte.)

I informed them in an even tone that they would need to leave after they had finished their drinks. Even bought the round they were drinking and told them they were welcome to come back another time.

Wow. Apparently this went down at a place called Dandelion Market in Charlotte. That’s a bar I will certainly be hitting up the next time I’m down there. Snagging a free round of drinks before I’m asked to leave is not the kind of hospitality I’m used to here in NYC.

One of the revelers was from Alston & Bird. When the manager asked the patrons to finish their drinks and leave, he was hit with classic “drunk lawyer entitlement”:

When they got up to leave, the woman came over to me at the bar and placed a card down, identifying her as an associate with Alston & Bird. She slurred on about how much money the firm spent at our restaurant, and how she and her friend weren’t going to be treated that way. I let her know that we appreciate all of our guests, but that we expect them to act accordingly, and that no one has the right to interfere with other guests’ enjoyment of the restaurant. Especially by throwing a jacket. She gathered herself and like some drunk Perry Mason told me that “There was no alleged coat throwing.” Huh?

When Jack Ryan flashes his government business card in order to purchase a helicopter in Clear and Present Danger, it’s cool. When a Biglaw associate does it to establish the right to act like an a**hole, it’s pathetic. But I digress; back to the manager:

The kicker? As she turned away, I pointed out that she had left her card, and went to give it back to her. She took it, tore it into pieces, and threw it on the floor. Her own business card. I’m not sure what she meant by that, but it was pointed out, again, that she had left her card. Needless to say, she did not pick it up before storming out.

And just to provide some corroboration for this whole tale, our tipster snapped a pic of the (reconstructed) business card:

Guess this won’t be the year that lawyers start trying to change the perception of the profession.

Happy New Year everybody. Welcome back to work.

P.S. We reached out to the associate and to Alston & Bird for possible comment, but neither got back to us by the time of this post. If they do, we will update.

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