Sunday, September 02, 2007

Practicing law with a song in your heart?

The ABA Journal Weekly Newsletter this week carries a link to this story by Martha Neil concerning an "unexpected Internet hit -- [a] law firm's unofficial theme song 'Everyone's a Winner at Nixon Peabody!'"

According to Neil's story, Nixon Peabody is a 700-attorney national law firm based in Rochester, New York.

Recently Nixon Peabody was named to Fortune Magazine's 2006 list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For (the link is to

The firm seems to have celebrated its good fortune at some "internal event" at which, according to Neil's story, "law-firm marketers" debuted an unofficial theme song for the firm, "Everyone's a Winner at Nixon Peabody!"

And then some spoilsport went and posted it to YouTube -- and the video took off, getting, Neil says, 10,000 hits in 12 hours. The powers that be at the firm apparently turned as gray as their pinstripe suits and demanded that the song be taken down... a request with which YouTube complied.

However, the Above the Law blawg turned down the request, and seems to gone "wall to wall" covering the story. ABC News has picked up the story as well (including -- if you watch the video -- an interview with the proprietor of Above the Law). Snippets of the song remain available on YouTube as well.

I don't understand Nixon Peabody's fuss. Granted, one would expect a song commissioned by a 'silk-stocking' firm to be performed with a harpsichord, or maybe by a string quartet -- but even a disco-revival song is better than the kind of song that a lot of lawyers seem to have in their hearts as they start each day for work. Most lawyers might not know this particular song, but I've heard a lot of sad anecdotes and I've seen job satisfaction surveys that suggest that a lot of lawyers know the feelings expressed:

You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt.
Saint Peter, don't you call me, 'cause I can't go;
I owe my soul to the company store...

(from "Sixteen Tons," by Merle Travis, most famously performed by Tennessee Ernie Ford.)

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