Food

Years ago, I knew a lawyer who thought that business entertainment worked. He was a plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyer: “I treat a doctor to a $50 lunch, and the next day he refers a case to me. I make one phone call and settle the case for $9,000, netting a $3,000 fee. And the doctor thinks we’re even! It’s unbelievable! I can’t eat enough lunches!”

Good for him. But does it work for anyone else?

I certainly treated clients to dinners and sporting events in my day, but none of those clients (or prospects) ever hired me in return for that entertainment. I didn’t expect them to, and I’d be terribly disappointed in them if they did. My having treated a guy to a dinner doesn’t make me the best lawyer to handle his case, and he’d be nuts to hire me because the caviar was beluga.

The reverse is also true. Lots of people want to meet me, buy me a meal, or take me to a cricket match (I’m now based in London, remember?) since I’ve gone in-house. A few of the folks who buy me lunch even follow up with e-mails expressing their unhappiness that I haven’t promptly retained them: “Was it something I said? Why haven’t I heard from you, other than the thank you note?”

It was nothing you said. But why should I possibly hire you simply because you bought me lunch?

I have my own theory about why firms create large “client entertainment” budgets . . .

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Everyone likes to think that real lawyers are as glamorous, thin, and gorgeous as the ones they see on television, but that’s sadly not the case. Sure, some lawyers in the real world are beautiful, but the key word there is some. The truth is that most are just average in the looks department, and as we learned in Clueless, many, many more are like full-on Monets — from far away, they’re okay, but up close, they’re a big old mess. Oh, and most of them are overweight.

And just like that, “Fat Week” continues on Above the Law…

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I imagine Mr. Pink doesn’t tip at Starbucks. Hell, I don’t “tip” at Starbucks. Occasionally, I don’t feel like having 30 cents clanging around in my pocket all day, so I throw it in the tip jar. But there’s only so much I can pay for a cup of coffee in good conscience.

Apparently, there’s a lawsuit kicking around the New York Court of Appeals over who owns the tips at Starbucks. The baristas are fighting to keep control over the jar and not share the tips with assistant managers.

It’s kind of sad. At this point, why not just dump the tip jar out on the floor at the end of the day and watch them fight over it…

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If you’re an avid watcher of reality television and you’re a fan of Gordon “F**king” Ramsay’s charm, then you probably saw the episode of Kitchen Nightmares that featured Amy’s Baking Company. You see, their food and service didn’t suck; all the Yelpers who gave them horrible reviews were liars. If you’re not familiar with what happened, Chef Ramsay walked out on owners Amy and Samy Bouzaglo — who were seen pilfering servers’ tips, physically fighting with and threatening customers, and acting in an otherwise delusional way — because they were “incapable of listening.”

But what happened after the show aired is every rabid social media addict’s dream: when they received an even greater amount of negative reviews on Yelp and Reddit, the Bouzaglos took to their Facebook page to settle the score as politely and as delicately as they could manage See e.g., “PISS OFF ALL OF YOU. F**K REDDITS, F**K YELP AND F**K ALL OF YOU.” They really are lovely people.

Apparently the couple behind the self-immolating restaurant were planning to host a news conference today to speak about their experience on the show and its aftermath (and to pimp their bistro’s reopening). More than 1,500 people tried to snag a reservation to watch the expected insanity unfold.

Enter the lawyers at Davis Wright Tremaine to wag their fingers in Mutombo-esque fashion with threats of liquidated damages…

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I think the word “routine” should not be included in any sentence that includes the phrase “health inspection” and the word “failed.” Even if “routine” is an accurate description, nobody cares about that after the other words in the sentence.

In fact, “routine” kind of make it worse. Wouldn’t you rather eat at a place that failed a “super invasive, specialized, CSI-level inspection that most establishments likely wouldn’t pass under such scrutiny”? Failing a “routine” one sounds like, “This place is so gross that even a casual inspection revealed… dear God, what is that thing?”

Anyway, other phrases you don’t want to see in the same sentence include “Law School Café” and “mouse-droppings.”

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Working at a small law firm definitely has its perks. You’ll be able to get to know most, if not all, of the partners on a one-on-one basis; oftentimes, you’ll be able to bring in clients to the firm as a mere associate; and perhaps most importantly, your job won’t make you hate the law quite as much, because the overall environment will be more friendly and collegial.

But on the flip side of that analysis, such collegiality can sometimes lead to misplaced casualness in terms of emails about office behavior. It’s just that your office is so small that sending off-the-cuff nastygrams can become commonplace. You’d be surprised how quickly an email request that others not use your french vanilla coffee creamer can turn into an f-bomb-laden screed.

So you can only imagine the kind of email that would be sent if there was a nasty stench pervading the nostrils of all who inhabited the office….

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In case you haven’t noticed by now, law students tend to be an overly dramatic bunch. If something inconveniences them, their lives have been ruined. If they don’t immediately get their way, they’ll storm off to Change.org and write a petition about it. And if something bad happens to them and they’ve got access to a school-wide listserv, then my God, abandon all hope ye who open that email.

Around these parts, we’re prone to calling these people “Millennials” — the special little snowflakes who’ve been raised to believe that they can do no wrong. That’s why we love it so when one of them gets smacked down by one of their more cynical peers.

Earlier this week, an enraged student from a T14 law school sent out a fiery email to the entire school because oh nooooes, someone had stolen her lunch, which is obviously the worst thing that’s ever happened in this chick’s life. But we’re kind of happy that this most awful event occurred, because the reply email is absolutely fabulous….

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Tom Wallerstein

Whether you are a partner or associate, working in Biglaw or in a boutique, the key to success is developing a book of business. And the key to developing business is to focus instead on developing a book of relationships. As I wrote before, “business is an engagement, a lawsuit, a transaction; it is measured in money. A relationship is a connection with a human being. A book of business is virtually impossible for an associate to build. A book of relationships is available to first year associates and partners alike.” No matter how good a lawyer you may be, people still want to do business with people they know and like on a personal level…

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Fireman cooks up one hell of a meal.

A firefighter is suing the City of Phoenix because he received pasta in the shape of a penis and vagina with his name written on it.

Do I have your attention? Would you like to see that complaint? Is your first thought, “Wait, they wrote the guy’s name on the genital pasta?”

I hope the answer is yes to all three…

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It’s a classic story: you run a major produce company and you look at your books and realize, “Oops, I’ve accidentally funneled millions of dollars to terrorist groups.” And then those groups commit some of the “terrorist acts” that form their wheelhouse and their victims and their families look to your company for recompense.

I mean, that would be bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

What can you do?

According to an Ohio appellate court, you can’t ask your insurance carrier to bail you out….

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