Bad Ideas, Biglaw

Qui Tam: Swag

Law firm swag. Ubiquitous and occasionally useful. Years later I still use a slim thermos that fits in my bike bottle holder, though the firm’s logo has long since worn off. But, I mean, who wants law firm branded stuff anyway?  Maybe a Wachtell tie might be nice, or a Slaughter & May pencil sharpener, but really, the market outside then-current employees is virtually non-existent. Meaning swag is usually a relatively harmless exercise in self-indulgent corporate team building. Usually….

The Yes Men

Flip flops, sweatshirts, corkscrews,
Backpacks, hackey-sacks, baseball caps,
Coffee mugs, martini glasses,
Lucite cubes and thermos flasks.
Distributed hari krishna style,
Building the team, buying in your loyalty.

Each year though, it got a little better,
More sophisticated, the quality finer,
The branding more prominent, colors consistent,
The firm name shortened and logoized,
More self-conscious and more self-serving,
Loyalty replaced with aggrandizement.

And then came the day of the bobblehead,
The managing chairman, his aptly nodding chief sycophants,
The vanity breathtaking, the rest of us aghast.
The finale writes itself. Firm gone within a year,
Blindly stumbling into bankruptcy,
The reek of pride, folly and self-satisfaction in its wake.

Qui Tam, a weekly column of poetry about the legal profession, is penned by an arrogant T1 law graduate, former Biglaw associate, and current in-house lawyer. You can reach Qui Tam by

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