Lawyers take the licks into their own hands at the 'Battle of Law Firm Bands'

Suited-up professionals leave the courtroom behind for the annual Battle of the Law Firm Bands.
By J. Freedom du Lac
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, June 26, 2010

Shortly before the opening act came onstage Thursday at the Black Cat, a chauffeured Lincoln Town Car pulled up in front of the 14th Street NW nightclub to deposit a woman wearing a pressed pantsuit. Inside the indie rock haven, the ratio of clean-shaven to hipster scruff was abnormally high, as were the percentages of peep-toe pumps to black Chucks.

Clearly, it wasn't a kind of night at the Black Cat. Not with the "Battle of the Law Firm Bands" taking over a live-music venue that typically hosts indie-rock stars and their cool-kid fans, not weekend warriors and their legal-community colleagues.

"What's up, members of the D.C. Bar Associationnnn?" a singer shouted from the stage.

"Wooooooooooh!" dozens of members of the D.C. Bar Association shouted back.

One band's guest performer was introduced as "paralegal -- 12th floor."

"Are there any summer associates out there?" one of the emcees asked.

"Woooooooh!" the summer associates shouted back.

For those about to rock, we sue you!

No, wait: For those about to argue before the Supreme Court, we go all "Affidavit Lee Roth" on you!

Okay, none of the 11 bands that performed at the annual charity fundraiser and concert competition used that name. But the Chin Blossoms -- representing the Virginia firm Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley, Emrich & Walsh -- did channel David Lee Roth by including Van Halen's "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" in its opening set.

"The rock-and-roll dream never dies -- even though we practice law for a living," said Hemant Pathak, a senior attorney for Microsoft.

He was backstage, having just played drums -- and played them well -- with the otherwise non-lawyer Celeste Starchild Band, and he was elated. "I'm pumped," he said. "I was pumped all day at work. I love to play, but I don't get to do it that much anymore."

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