Soccer

Lionel Messi should blame his tax problems on ‘the accountant of God.’

Being caught for tax evasion seems like a fairly high-class problem to have. Like finding a place to dock your yacht or having gout. Al Capone, of course, is the patron saint of tax fraud. And syphilis. And Geraldo Rivera televised spectaculars. But mostly of tax fraud. And then there’s Wesley Snipes, who is the modern-day tax evader par excellence. In researching this post, I just found out that Snipes was released from prison just this past April. Welcome back Wesley!

So yeah, evading taxes tends to be, like, the sport of Kings. Capone and Snipes. Snipes and Capone. Any way you cut it, you’re in a pretty select group when you don’t pay your taxes. I, myself, have never had the chance to evade taxes as the IRS has never come after me all that hard. One of the perks of being destitute, I suppose. My cramped studio apartment is hot in the summer and cold in the winter and during all four seasons smells like old cheese. The McDonald’s sign outside the window keeps my girlfriend awake at night. But seriously, I could brag like this for at least two thousand words.

What I’m trying to say, I guess, is that the very idea of evading one’s taxes is as foreign to me as the game of soccer, a game in which I share the estimable opinion of the Prince of Soul Glo, Darryl Jenks: that’s a real cute sport.

Which is why it is fantastic that I can explore these two alien worlds concurrently. Let’s talk Lionel Messi. Let’s habla fútbol.

Let’s talk tax evasion. Let’s talk sports…

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Ed. note: This new column is about sports and the law. You can read the introductory installment here.

Hardly was I surprised that the Democratic National Convention took up most of my attention last night. I saw it approach from Monday last and should have surely set aside time to write the flowery and horrible introductions that I am known for around these parts. Alas, I did nothing of the sort. I neither plumbed the depths of my own sick psyche nor hit up Mama Juggs for a blast from my past. I couldn’t even be bothered to make up something really dumb to open this column. Consider yourself lucky.

Instead, because of my devotion to and obsession with watching Joe Biden’s hair plugs gently sway, this week’s installment is a lean one. Consider the previous editions the bloated, corpulent Vegas Elvis, and consider the one you’re currently reading as the young, join-the-Army, good-looking dynamo Elvis. Or something.

Let us converse about sports, shall we?

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Ed. note: This is the latest column by our newest writer, Anonymous Partner. In case you missed his prior posts, check them out here and here.

Devotees of international soccer, and I have come across quite a number of them in my Biglaw career (from foreign-born colleagues to more recent converts like myself), are currently enjoying one of the world’s foremost tournaments, the European Championship or the “Euros.” Because the tournament is played in Europe, the games have been on during lunchtime and the early-afternoon hours here on the East Coast, perfect for sneaking out to a local bar for a slightly longer than usual lunch break to watch. I would imagine that most Biglaw Euro watching is being done via Espn3.com, on the “second screen” that most IT departments insist on hooking up in order to enhance the lawyer’s “productivity.” Truth is that when it comes to work, the second screen is fantastic — but it is more fun when it acts as a substitute television.

Now, ESPN’s wall-to-wall coverage of this year’s Poland/Ukraine-based tournament has definitely raised the Euros’ profile in the USA — but for those unaware or uninterested in the proceedings, realize that each match draws as much interest and television viewership as the Super Bowl. And the level of play on display is absolutely top-notch, as each team is composed of hardened veterans of the top European leagues, those renowned for attracting the top soccer talent worldwide with the allure of riches and fame.

As an aside, knowing something about soccer, just like speaking a foreign language, is a great normalizer when dealing with clients and colleagues in overseas offices. Sports and business are intertwined, and as professional services providers in increasingly international businesses serving an increasingly global clientele, it behooves firms to ensure that both partners and associates have some familiarity with the world’s most popular game (in both amount of fans and corporate support).

In what way is soccer like Biglaw, and what lessons might it have for those of us who toil in law firms?

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