Biglaw, Music, Partner Issues, Reality TV, Romance and Dating, Television

The Departing Skadden Partner, His Ex-Wife, And The Substance Of African-Americans

Yesterday, we brought you the story of Garrett Waltzer. The former Skadden partner sent around a thrilling departure memo explaining to his colleagues that he was leaving the firm to help the music career of his wife, R&B artist and near-reality show star TaQuita Thorns. If you missed yesterday’s story, I’ll wait here while you catch up.

Yeah, that happened.

So when I say former Skadden partner, boy do I mean “former.” Skadden has already removed his bio from their website. That firm doesn’t play.

But Waltzer is still talking. After yesterday’s story, he opened up a little bit about his personal life to Vivia Chen of The Careerist.

Oh, and I did I mention we’ve got a clip of TaQuita Thorns on her reality show?

Waltzer’s Careerist interview contains a couple of wonderful nuggets. The best, by far:

He said that he met his current wife, TaQuita, online “after my ex-wife fell in love with her personal trainer.”

Waltzer also says he’s had some serious health problems. You can read the full interview here.

Since yesterday’s story, a few Skadden people who know Waltzer have stepped up to say that he’s a really good guy. And they are, of course, applauding his decision to leave Skadden and live a healthier, happier life.

That’s to be expected. Let’s be clear, folks: Biglaw jobs, in general, are horrible. It’s grueling work at odd hours almost without end. Sure, Biglaw attorneys, especially partners, make a lot of money. But they don’t give you that money for free. There are few who’ve been through it who aren’t happy for somebody who manages to get out. Good job, Garrett Waltzer!

But… doesn’t this story sound like this story is coming to you from a mid-life crisis textbook? He had health problems, and then his wife started banging her personal trainer. So he found some young, wanna-be starlet, married her, and is now quitting the stable job he’s done for his entire life to “devote” himself to her dreams. When you show up at the crisis store and purchase the “new job” and “new wife” package, they throw in the sports car and male earring for free.

Perhaps in an effort to battle the perception that he is, kind of, “going through a phase,” Waltzer said something very curious to Chen:

“We are a unique couple, and we get a lot of attention. She’s younger and African American. But anyone who knows me knows that I am drawn to someone with substance.”

This sounds to me like Waltzer thinks the reason his relationship is getting a lot of attention is because it’s interracial. Worse, I take this quote as trying to counter some kind of perception that an old white guy would only be attracted to a young black woman in some kind of exoticized, Jungle Fever situation, by saying, “No no no, she has substance!” What, unlike all the other young black women that he’s not drawn to?

I don’t know, maybe some people do think like that. To me, the relationship isn’t attention-grabbing because he’s white and she’s black. The relationship is attention-grabbing because a partner at Skadden is married to a fledgling R&B singer who, as described in his departure memo, is “an energetic performer with a dazzling voice and stunning looks.”

That’s the head turner. Even though I imagine most second wives of Biglaw partners are “energetic performers” in one way or another, putting it into a departure memo is a bit odd. If he was married to an old white lady who wanted to “improve the world through music and, in the process, become a force in the music industry,” we’d be writing about it too.

BUT… since Waltzer opened the door to the “substance” question:

The only way this could get any better would be if Waltzer ended up actually being married to Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.

I’m happy that Waltzer got out, and I sure hope he’s found the love of his life and is poised to have some happy and healthy golden years. I just can’t shake the feeling that I saw this plot on Mad Men and that Waltzer’s going to come home one day to a very uncomfortable performance of Zou Bisou Bisou.

Better Than Metrosexual [The Careerist]

Earlier: The Love Of A Woman Is More Valuable Than A Partnership At Skadden

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