Biglaw, Partner Issues, Ridiculousness, Travel / Vacation

Law Firm Rents Entire Cruise Liner For Partner Meeting While the Rest of You Look for Work

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of an expensive trip
That started from the Mediterranean
Aboard this gigantic ship.

Biglaw partners have to get together somewhere to hash over the business. Usually they meet in the lavish home office or rent out a hotel somewhere. In good times, that might be a luxury hotel in an island paradise. But I’ll bet no one would dare risk the PR blowback of holding a partner circle-jerk in a tropical resort in this economy, right?

One firm decided to see that bet and raise it. They’ve rented one of the most luxurious vessels in the world for a Mediterranean cruise. The ship be… sailing?

Let’s see whose partners are going on a “three-hour tour,” shall we….

Hop on board the DLA Minnow with Skipper Lee Miller, First Mate Terry “Gilligan” O’Malley, and… I guess they’re still taking nominations for Julie “Your Cruise Director” McCoy. Here’s the plan, as reported by Washingtonian:

The legal behemoth, which has a large Washington office among its 100-plus worldwide locations, is hosting a four-night excursion aboard the ship in May. The partners will set sail from Barcelona and head up the coast to Nice. Sure, difficulty finding a big enough hotel may have sparked the idea. But there’s also little doubt that the idea of a Mediterranean cruise sounded much more appealing than hunkering down in a Marriott conference room for a weekend.

Coming off the Am Law 100 announcement that DLA Piper led the pack in gross revenue (“the first time ever” that the revenue rankings weren’t topped by Skadden or Baker & McKenzie), the partners wanted to take turns yelling “I’m King of the World” from the bow. As a bonus, by cruising from Barcelona to Nice, the cruise will hug the European coastline, completely avoiding the “country” of Africa.

Activities include: sketching Chairman Emeritus George Mitchell.

The luxury liner boasts a guest capacity of 3,634 passengers. At that rate, they don’t need to limit the meeting to partners; the whole firm could come — almost. First-years would have to occupy the crew quarters in steerage to make it work, which seems about right.

The cost of this little shindig? Not much, just $3.1 million. If that seems like a lot of money for a meeting in a down economy, recognize that’s probably a steal, too, given the recent setbacks of the cruise industry. After CNN devoted days of BREAKING NEWS coverage to the “Sh*t Boat,” prices cratered, setting the stage for DLA Piper to snag the ship so a bunch of partners can discuss the future of their business with buzzwords like “proactive” and “synergy.” Think of it as the “Bullsh*t Boat.”

But that $3.1 million is only to secure exclusive use of Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas during its peak season. The true cost goes far beyond that figure. For instance, that doesn’t cover the costs associated with flying everyone to Barcelona and then home from Nice from each of DLA’s 26,000 offices around the world (DLA’s Tycho Crater office will open once they move that damn monolith). Or the inevitable hotel rooms involved for the first and last night. Or, as the article points out, the booze.

Dear God, the booze. With 22 bars, clubs, and lounges, that bill shall know no limits.

DLA Piper’s $3-Million Meeting at Sea [The Washingtonian]

Earlier: DLA Piper Literally Doesn’t Know What Countries Some Of Their Offices Are In
Overbilling Gone Wild: Paying the (DLA) Piper
The 2013 Am Law 100: A Year of ‘Slow Growth’

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