Thinking Like a Lawyer - Above the Law

Bonuses And Bowls

Joe and ATL Editor Kathryn Rubino discuss Biglaw bonus season as firms place the final cherry atop associate compensation after a tumultuous year of raises. Then they walk through college football bowl season and preview every matchup between teams with ABA accredited law schools because that’s exactly what people thinking like lawyers would do.

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Above the Law – Thinking Like a Lawyer

Bonuses And Bowls

12/22/2016

Intro: Welcome to ‘Thinking Like a Lawyer’ with your hosts Elie Mystal and Joe Patrice, talking about legal news and pop culture, all while thinking like a lawyer, here on Legal Talk Network.

[Music]

Joe Patrice: Hello, welcome to another edition of ‘Thinking Like a Lawyer’, I’m Joe Patrice. I am an editor here at Above the Law, and usually this is where my co-host Elie Mystal would jump in, but he is not with us today.

Kathryn Rubino: Good news, you have other editors.

Joe Patrice: Yes, so thankfully Above the Law has other editors, so I’m joined by sometimes guest of the show, Kathryn Rubino, who’s filling in today as our co-host.

Kathryn Rubino: Hey there.

Joe Patrice: So how are you doing?

Kathryn Rubino: I’m pretty good, how about yourself?

Joe Patrice: Good, good, good. Anything –

Kathryn Rubino: So it’s Christmastime; that seems exciting.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, anything fun for you lately?

Kathryn Rubino: I feel like you’re trying to get me to answer something specific, and I am not sure that is.

Joe Patrice: No, I was actually asking because I thought maybe it would be entertaining banter, but I didn’t know that you were going to be such a pain about it.

Kathryn Rubino: I am sorry.

Joe Patrice: Did you do anything fun today, did you write any interesting stories, any –

Kathryn Rubino: Oh, I did. I wrote a story, there’s a lawyer in Manhattan who’s suing a neighbor, who is the wife of this big hedge fund boss, and she apparently blasts her Christmas carols from 7 a.m. to midnight everyday, quite loudly, and so he’s suing her over it. And in my post, I just wrote the lyrics of many different Christmas carols I could, and linked to the YouTube versions of — my favorite version of each of those songs, just to spread a little holiday cheer.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, all right.

Kathryn Rubino: I had fun with that one.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, well okay, that sounds fine.

Kathryn Rubino: Well, I mean, listen, I —

Joe Patrice: I wrote about the economic travails of big law firms, but —

Kathryn Rubino: I’m much more into the holiday spirit than you are I think.

Joe Patrice: I guess I also wrote about Tiffany Trump today.

Kathryn Rubino: I mean, exactly, please don’t pretend like you’re on some high horse here.

Joe Patrice: Yeah. I wrote about Tiffany Trump, who is planning to go to law school, she has already visited the Harvard Law School and is now visiting Columbia Law School, which is where I believe you went.

Kathryn Rubino: Yes, I in fact.

Joe Patrice: She still has not visited the best law school in New York, but —

Kathryn Rubino: Stop it; that is not what U.S. News & World Report says.

Joe Patrice: I mean –

Kathryn Rubino: Nor our rankings by the way.

Joe Patrice: Whatever, hacks all of them.

Kathryn Rubino: Oh please. See, this is a constant source of a disagreement between Joe and I, he went to the lesser law school in New York, NYU Law. Well, I am a proud alum of Columbia Law School.

Joe Patrice: I mean, whatever, I got into Columbia, I just didn’t think —

Kathryn Rubino: I got into NYU, I feel like this is not —

Joe Patrice: Yeah, I just made a better choice.

Kathryn Rubino: Oh, I made the best choice, don’t worry.

Joe Patrice: Fair enough.

Kathryn Rubino: Otherwise I would’ve had to go to school with you, and that would have been terrible.

Joe Patrice: Oh yeah, that would have — yeah, good point.

Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, although I am not there.

Joe Patrice: So this is where we normally grind gears, without Elie it’s a little bit harder to do that. I guess, we’re kind of grinding gears about law schools.

Kathryn Rubino: That’s true, although, we are both generally speaking less angry as people than he is.

Joe Patrice: I don’t know about that or do you think you are less angry as a person?

Kathryn Rubino: Than Elie?

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

Kathryn Rubino: Yes.

Joe Patrice: Wow.

Kathryn Rubino: Yes, I am definitely a less angry person, and that’s not to say I’m not an angry person, but I’m less angry than Elie, for sure. I feel pretty good about that characterization actually.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, I don’t know.

Kathryn Rubino: I don’t think you’re an angry — particularly angry person.

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

Kathryn Rubino: You’re bigger troll than he is.

Joe Patrice: Oh fair enough, fair enough.

Kathryn Rubino: I mean, there is a little nuance there, I think Elie’s anger is more – comes for more a righteous place as opposed to a desire to cause other people harm, which is where I think he was –

Joe Patrice: Well, I don’t try to cause other people harm, I am just —

Kathryn Rubino: Embarrassed –

Joe Patrice: — I am just painfully blunt. I think is the more accurate term for it. Like my interaction for those who didn’t read it in the pages, Above the Law, I got in a fight the other day with Professor Alan Dershowitz, which resulted in him writing an article.

Kathryn Rubino: You’ve really made it now.

Joe Patrice: What?

Kathryn Rubino: You have really made it now.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, I know, exactly. But we got in a fight over something he said and basically he got very mad at me because I was fairly blunt about how wrong he was. And then he wrote this long drawn-out response, which missed the point of everything I’d said and I pointed out that once again, he misses the point.

Kathryn Rubino: I will just note that, yes, Joe got into a heated debate and argument with a noted legal scholar and that was maybe the happiest Joe has ever been at this job, that’s who we’re dealing with here, folks.

Joe Patrice: Fair enough. Well, okay, fine, right. So big news — big breaking news, this is the — where we would normally have like a globe turning and like a lot of ticker tape sound, right. The breaking news right now is that big law bonuses are out.

Kathryn Rubino: Pum-pum. Yeah, and they are at the same levels as they were in 2015 last year for the big law firms at sort of market rate, Cravath set it and they had the same rates this year, which is pretty good.

(00:05:05)

Joe Patrice: Yeah, pretty good.

Kathryn Rubino: It ranges I believe from what 15,000 to a hundred, depending on your class year, which is a lot of money. Nothing to sneeze at, but I think the bigger news is not the bonus but the fact that they still got the same bonuses while most of these people at these firms also got raises this year.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, yeah. That was my takeaway, I was like this was the most – I don’t know, this was the most anticlimactic bonus season.

Kathryn Rubino: Only because everything else had been earlier in the year, had been said it’s so important. Yeah, for those of you who haven’t been following in July of this year again market leader Cravath set new standards for the base salary for associates, ranging from $180,000 right on up the chain, and despite getting this $20,000 plus raise, they still give the same bonuses as last year.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, I mean, my issue with it being anticlimactic was it seemed to me as what Cravath was doing in the summer, was trying to say, we’re going to push everybody who is not one of us at the top of this food chain. We are going to push them out, we are going to win the recruiting battle because we are going to pay more money than all these other people are, and then everyone match them.

Kathryn Rubino: Right.

Joe Patrice: And all I could think was, all right, you made your big move to use poker analogy, you’ve made your big move, everyone continued to stay in the pot, what are you going to do now, are you going to raise on top of that the next time around or you — are you content? And basically what Cravath did was say, all right, you call us, we’ve got nothing.

Kathryn Rubino: 06:48.

Joe Patrice: I really thought there might be a bigger bonus as they tried to make the bonus the way in which they went over the top of everybody. And they didn’t. Not to say that there aren’t people who didn’t beat the market. There are some regular players who beat the market all the time, there’s some boutiques that managed to beat the market, that was exciting to see, lots of very, very intense, very selective litigation boutiques that are offering more money to stay elite as far as who they recruit.

Kathryn Rubino: Sure, there’s even a big law firm that offered special bonuses on top of their normal industry matching end-of-year bonuses in order to put them a little bit over the top as well.

Joe Patrice: Yeah. It’s an interesting phenomenon in the legal industry at this point because as Elie and I when we had an earlier podcast talking about the salary increases, one thing we talked about was the market just isn’t acting rationally; in that there are a few very elite firms that can afford to be spending this much, and then, everyone else is following suit, even though it really isn’t in their best interests.

And when you take that and add it to today’s city report that came out, I guess this episode isn’t live so the city report that recently came out, city private bank did a report that pointed out that demand has for — as it has for the last several years been completely flat for legal services, which means there’s not a lot of new business coming in. The only way that these folks are making more money is by raising their rates, and one has to wonder how long that can keep going.

So is there a situation where maybe spending all this money is going to eventually hit a wall at least for some of these firms?

Kathryn Rubino: I think eventually we will hit that rate, but apparently it’s not 2016.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, I mean, I think that’s probably right. So that’s the — that’s your business news for this episode really. I mean, we don’t really — I mean, oh no, there is one other bone to pick, which is and this goes back to the salary issue, which is more and more this particular bonus season, more firms are doing lockstep bonuses across all their offices, which has been a trend more and more people have done that over the years but after the salary increases of the summer, which I trolled at the time, to use your term, I pointed out at the time that it was absolutely ridiculous that somebody in Houston was making the exact same amount of money as an associate slaving away for 2800 hours a year here in New York City.

Kathryn Rubino: Agreed.

Joe Patrice: And now we’re seeing more and more firms do their bonuses exactly the same too, which was another aspect of trying to make good by the New York markets doing more work.

Kathryn Rubino: Right.

Joe Patrice: And being more expensive.

Kathryn Rubino: For sure, and I think that more and more as people in the big law hamster wheel get wise, we’ll see if they can go back home to wherever they are from, see if there’s a big law market in their hometowns, where they can get a much cheaper cost of living, potentially a lot less hours and better quality of life overall 10:08 exact same amount of money.

(00:10:09)

Joe Patrice: Yeah, it just strikes me as another problem in the industry, and one problem that is going to like you said cause problems for retention and recruitment because you’re going to see, I think honestly the catchphrase for this episode so far is more and more. You’re going to see increasing numbers of talented associates go, why do I have to stay?

Kathryn Rubino: Exactly. Oh, for sure, and I mean we definitely saw that from a lot of the ATL Tipster Center stuff over the summer when their races were happening when they were doing the lockstep across offices, people are saying why am I not in the Miami Beach office, why am I in New York? I’m paying twice as much in rent as I would if I was back home, but I’m making the same amount of money and there’s fewer partners, less demands on your time, perhaps less screamers in the office, and so there’s lots of reasons why people I think are going to be looking into potentially seeing of what options are available for them outside of New York City.

Joe Patrice: I don’t know about screamers. Whenever I think about Texas and law I always have to go back to the world’s greatest video deposition if everyone’s not seen it. Joe Jamail takes a deposition, the late Joe Jamail, the late and great took a deposition and got in a fistfight with the expert that he was.

Kathryn Rubino: Sure, there’s certainly hot tempers in the legal profession no matter where you’re located, but I do think there’s something about the sort of concentration of Big Law partners in law firms in New York City that kind of the attitudes feed off of one another and create untenable situations for a lot of the associates they’d have to deal with a lot of these partners.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, very true. So this is the state of the legal industry right now, I think is what we’re trying to say.

Kathryn Rubino: It sounds perfect to me.

Joe Patrice: Congratulations and good on you if you’ve got a big bonus, sorry, if you didn’t. If you have any complaints you should let us know at Above the Law.

Kathryn Rubino: For sure.

Joe Patrice: And if you are getting bonuses, you should also let us know because we like to keep everyone informed.

Kathryn Rubino: Yeah. That’s tips@abovethelaw.com, you can send that and we will keep all tips completely confidential, so don’t worry about if you’re complaining about somebody that you work with, we all keep that to ourselves.

Joe Patrice: That’s true, yeah, and that’s how we stay on top and provide that service. I like that, that made us seem like selfless.

Kathryn Rubino: Help us, help you.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, made us seem like we are great people trying to help out.

Kathryn Rubino: We try.

Joe Patrice: I mean, I think we are great people, but —

Kathryn Rubino: I don’t know that we’re trying to help out, but we are definitely great people.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, all right, so the second half of this program I wanted to discuss with you, a fun idea that I had, which was, it’s bowl season coming up here in a few days.

Kathryn Rubino: It is, college football, yeah.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, so I wanted to go through the bowl matchups that feature schools who have ABA accredited law schools.

Kathryn Rubino: Okay.

Joe Patrice: A rapid college football breakdown of bowl games involving law schools.

Kathryn Rubino: So are we picking them based on the law school or based on the football team?

Joe Patrice: I think we should discuss both. We will go ahead, all right. So ready?

Kathryn Rubino: I’m ready, well, as ready as I can be.

Joe Patrice: All right, December 21st, the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.

Kathryn Rubino: Sounds –

Joe Patrice: It sounds like one of those, yeah, it seems like a bowl that we absolutely need.

Kathryn Rubino: Super-excited.

Joe Patrice: BYU –

Kathryn Rubino: Hey, hey stop it. We need every single bowl game. I am very much in favor of all the small bowls. They are fun games, they tend to be teams that are of like skill level, so they tend to be a lot more exciting than your regular year-long games, and it’s the last hoorah for culture ball. How would you be sad about that?

Joe Patrice: That’s true. I mean I’ve always said that too. The upshot of the bowl game is that it tends to be two evenly matched teams and even if they’re terrible, if they’re evenly matched they could be entertaining.

Kathryn Rubino: Exactly.

Joe Patrice: All right. So Poinsettia Bowl, BYU Wyoming.

Kathryn Rubino: Wyoming. I’m picking Wyoming.

Joe Patrice: Yeah I think I am too, although I have no real good reason for that. I guess Wyoming did beat San Diego State, which is a very good school, but not for law school necessarily, I don’t have a law school, but very good program this year. So Wyoming seems like that’s the better squad.

Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, I think that’s really true. For law school I think I would pick BYU.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, obviously for law school it’s a different story, this is why they play the games as opposed to give their outset scores I guess. All right that’s your first date with law school bowling. December 26th the Quick Lane Bowl.

Kathryn Rubino: Oh, that sounds fun.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, that sounds like something, yeah. Maryland and Boston College.

Kathryn Rubino: Ah.

Joe Patrice: A battle of 6 and 6 teams.

Kathryn Rubino: Oh, here’s the reason that I’m going to go with Maryland.

(00:15:02)

I appreciate their terrible uniform game. They tend to feature the Maryland State flag, which is a weird level of pride that I kind of think is fun, and yeah, Maryland is a cool state I guess.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, I also think Maryland — oh God, these are such bad teams. I’m going to slightly go with Maryland too. Their uniforms are hideous, but I feel as though that’s a better move. Law school wise I’m ambivalent, I think.

Kathryn Rubino: BC, I would go for BC?

Joe Patrice: I guess probably BC, I don’t know.

Kathryn Rubino: Yeah?

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

Kathryn Rubino: I mean, I guess, part of it is just, you know, oh, you go to Boston for law school?

Joe Patrice: I had gone to BC actually.

Kathryn Rubino: Did you?

Joe Patrice: Yeah. I think it was kind of my like —

Kathryn Rubino: I went to BC for undergrad.

Joe Patrice: It was kind of like my, if I didn’t get into any of the others, but then I got in.

Kathryn Rubino: Would you have gone to law school if you hadn’t gotten into, you did go to a well-ranked team, a school even if it’s not as good as my school is, right?

Joe Patrice: Right. Yeah — no, I would have gone to one of the lesser schools on my list because I thought they were fine enough and I could have transferred.

Kathryn Rubino: Sure, and then BC was like you’re like, if nothing else, this is where I’ll probably go.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, that was kind of my backup.

Kathryn Rubino: Mine was UCLA, that was my backup.

Joe Patrice: Oh, interesting, okay.

Kathryn Rubino: That was where I thought. I don’t know why I had this real fascination with moving to LA because I’m New York City born and raised, not lived in New York City up until this point of my life. So, I don’t know. It just seems really exciting to me, but then I got into Columbia and that was that.

Joe Patrice: All right, the next day, the 27th, in the Military Bowl ironically featuring no one from the military, even though all the military academies are playing this year.

Kathryn Rubino: Is Air Force playing?

Joe Patrice: Yeah, oh yeah, Air Force won the Commander-In-Chief trophy. They are the best.

Kathryn Rubino: Oh, did they? Yeah, I mean, I know obviously I watched or followed the Army-Navy game this weekend and that was pretty exciting as army stopped a 14-year losing streak to the navy.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, that was good, that was a fun game.

Kathryn Rubino: That was super-fun, that was super-fun. Who is playing in the Military Bowl if it is not Army, Navy or Air Force?

Joe Patrice: The Military Bowl, #24 Temple against Wake Forest.

Kathryn Rubino: I think Wake Forest is not known as a really great football program.

Joe Patrice: True, Wake Forest was plucky earlier in the season though, so they got that going for them. Temple’s coach just left.

Kathryn Rubino: He did.

Joe Patrice: For Baylors.

Kathryn Rubino: He did, he did, that is true. I guess I wasn’t thinking about the coaching level of it. I don’t know, I just feel like Temples played better all year.

Joe Patrice: I think that’s right.

Kathryn Rubino: You always play for your seniors in your final game and I think that that’s — I still think the Temples got this one.

Joe Patrice: Agreed, let’s go Temple.

Kathryn Rubino: Woohoo.

Joe Patrice: All right, December 28th, well, there was actually three on the 28th, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl —

Kathryn Rubino: Played in.

Joe Patrice: — played here.

Kathryn Rubino: The Bronx rather.

Joe Patrice: Yeah. #23 Pitt vs. Northwestern.

Kathryn Rubino: Pitt has had a lot of quality wins this year. They beat Penn State, by the way, we all forget about that, I think.

Joe Patrice: That’s true. They beat Clemson.

Kathryn Rubino: They beat Clemson. They have to win this game, right? If they don’t, I don’t even —

Joe Patrice: Pitt should win this game.

Kathryn Rubino: Handily.

Joe Patrice: Handily. I think Northwestern is the better school though as far as law school goes. That’s where I would rather go.

Kathryn Rubino: Oh yeah, I mean, I think yes, for sure, also for sure –

Joe Patrice: Because Pitt has that really cool building but I think that’s just for the undergrads.

Kathryn Rubino: I think that is the undergrad building as well. What is it the Temple of Learning but I believe it is —

Joe Patrice: Cathedral I think.

Kathryn Rubino: Cathedral, you are right.

Joe Patrice: All right, for those who don’t know like they have a like gothic cathedral that’s like 30-storey tall or some ridiculous —

Kathryn Rubino: It’s crazy and beautiful and has crazy views from the top of it.

Joe Patrice: It’s nuts.

Kathryn Rubino: Fantastic.

Joe Patrice: Also that day the Russell Athletic Bowl, West Virginia and Miami.

Kathryn Rubino: Go WVU.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, West Virginia is #16, there you go. Miami is unranked. Yeah, I am also historically a big fan of West Virginia. I have a lot of friends down in the State, and I don’t know, I find it hard not to root for them.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, I think West Virginia is probably better here, they certainly looked pretty good this season, they actually played defense —

Kathryn Rubino: We did.

Joe Patrice: — which is insane for a big 12 school.

Kathryn Rubino: Although the games that they fell apart and they fell apart.

Joe Patrice: True. Miami looked really good this season until they lost to Florida State and then hasn’t looked good since.

Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, I guess that sure, both teams, they, when the wheels come off, they come off, so maybe it will be really terrible but fun game

Joe Patrice: I don’t think we ever picked the Temple Wake better law school. I know, I guess I don’t really know.

Kathryn Rubino: I don’t really know.

Joe Patrice: So we’ll go ahead and skip that. Miami is the better law school of those two though.

Kathryn Rubino: Yes, that’s correct.

Joe Patrice: Foster Farms Bowl, Indiana University who also just got rid of their coach under different circumstances versus #19, Utah.

Kathryn Rubino: Yeah. Even if Utah wasn’t I think clearly the better team, I do think that losing your coach under the scandalous circumstances that Indiana lost their coach is going to be hard for them to rally back and to win this game.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, two separate incidences of violating basically, obviously, we don’t have all the details, but it certainly sounds like lots of abusing the players, beating them up, and —

(00:20:09)

Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, and injured players —

Joe Patrice: Yeah, playing injured players to get out, stuff like that. It doesn’t sound good.

Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, and I think that that’s — I think it’s hard for any squad to rally when that type of stuff becomes public, it’s like airing your dirty laundry, I think that it’s a hard situation, and I think Utah is pretty good.

Joe Patrice: As far as law school goes though, I think both are pretty good. I have a soft spot for Utah, because I have known a lot of people who have gone to Utah over the years.

Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, fair enough. I mean Bloomington is a lovely town.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, and actually, how do you count this? I guess you would count the Bloomington campus and not the other, yeah.

Kathryn Rubino: I would think so.

Joe Patrice: Even though the law schools are — they are fine. This is now on the 30th, you get the 29th off. The 30th, we have three more bowls, the Hyundai Sun Bowl #18, Stanford versus North Carolina.

Kathryn Rubino: Well, I do think that Stanford will win. I think that they have looked pretty good throughout most of this year. Obviously not the best in their conference, but I do think that they will pull it out, and I think the law school question is a foregone conclusion there because Harvard and Yale are not putting out teams that are in bowl games, so that pretty much means that Stanford is by far the best law school playing in the bowls this year.

Joe Patrice: Yeah. I think by far. So that right there is your college football law school champion, Stanford, congratulations.

Kathryn Rubino: There is no trophy just our undying —

Joe Patrice: UNC fun, general Mitch Trubisky, their quarterback, great, but no. Stanford will slowly and methodically grind the three of them, before Christian McCaffrey breaks off 80 yards.

Kathryn Rubino: I do think that that’s the game I will be least likely to watch though on this schedule so far.

Joe Patrice: Oh, okay.

Kathryn Rubino: I mean, I don’t particularly.

Joe Patrice: You mean, you would watch that less than you would watch our next game, the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl between Nebraska and #21 Tennessee?

Kathryn Rubino: Well, listen Nebraska, yeah. Yeah, that’s an interesting game. That’s actually in Nashville, isn’t it the game?

Joe Patrice: It is.

Kathryn Rubino: Yeah. I am still going to go with Nebraska. I don’t think that always the higher seed wins, especially in bowl games when you’re talking about. I think the rankings are the best they can be, but a lot of times they are apples to orange comparison, because they don’t have the similar schedules and whatnot, but Nebraska looked good particularly in the beginning of the season, and I think that — I think they can pull this one out.

Joe Patrice: I like Mike Riley as a coach. I think Tennessee has underachieved the entire season, I want them to lose.

Kathryn Rubino: And I also think that people want — especially college football commentator, I think people want Tennessee to be better than they are.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, that’s right.

Kathryn Rubino: It’s like, yes, Peyton Manning was great, you guys, but that was a long time ago.

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

Kathryn Rubino: Peyton Manning is not walking through that tunnel, so –

Joe Patrice: So, next up also on the same day, the Capital One Orange Bowl No. 6, Michigan versus number 11 Florida State.

Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, I think that will be a very good game. That is the game probably I am most excited about on this list. I am going to say Florida State, I think that a Michigan —

Joe Patrice: Interesting. I think Michigan is the favorite.

Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, I think that that’s true, but I don’t think Michigan will win. I think that they had a bad loss against — not in the sense that they should have won the game, but they didn’t take the loss against Ohio State particularly well, at least if their coach is any indication and I think that that makes it difficult, they felt like they were somehow robbed to being considered for the playoff, and I think that that makes the players go off on tilt, and I think that Florida State hasn’t gotten as much attention throughout the year, but I think that they have been pretty consistent.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, I think that’s right. There is obviously a lot of talent in Tallahassee, I just — I don’t know, I think I am probably still going with Michigan but it’s —

Kathryn Rubino: Is this the first one we are disagreeing on by the way?

Joe Patrice: Yeah, no, that’s true. And well, I mean, we are getting into the better game.

Kathryn Rubino: Sure, sure. I mean I just — I don’t know.

Joe Patrice: I mean it’s difficult to, yeah.

Kathryn Rubino: I think that’s –

Joe Patrice: This is a team that lost to Iowa.

Kathryn Rubino: Yes, and here is a thing. I think that throughout this year people have been like pumping up the Big Ten, like they are the next coming and I think fundamentally they are not that fantastic and that’s why I don’t think they are going to — I think especially if Michigan loses to Florida State I think that will like make people’s head switch — maybe I am rooting for it a little bit, although I don’t paint Michigan, but —

Joe Patrice: Yeah. The next day, New Year’s Eve, we have a couple games but we are only going to talk about one of them and we will come back later. The Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl featuring LSU No. 20 versus Louisville, No. 13.

Kathryn Rubino: Wooh, that will be a fun game. I think that — I think LSU is going to win.

(00:25:03)

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

Kathryn Rubino: I think LSU is going to win. I think that letting go Les Miles throughout the year really has served as a spark that the team needed. I think Les Miles is a great coach, but it was his time to go and I think that it’s in LSU’s court.

Joe Patrice: Heisman winners tend to lose.

Kathryn Rubino: It’s also true. That is also very true.

Joe Patrice: Not always —

Kathryn Rubino: Not always —

Joe Patrice: Like Marcus Mariota won the Heisman and managed to beat up on Florida State. I am just going to point that out.

Kathryn Rubino: And then eventually lose.

Joe Patrice: Well, ultimately, but the thing with the Heisman is usually you have to go on a series of press junkets for a while and you aren’t a renter team, 25:35 and it’s a problem. So I think that’s a plus in LSU’s favor. I think that Louisville’s defense isn’t quite as physical, which I think can open up a lot of opportunities for LSU. I like the way that they play for Ed Orgeron, who has now got that job full time.

So I think — I think that’s probably right. I think LSU probably upsets Louisville there.

Kathryn Rubino: I think that’s true.

Joe Patrice: And Louisville didn’t play great dumb stretch, so there we go.

Kathryn Rubino: That’s very true.

Joe Patrice: The Taxslayer Bowl does not have any law schools in it, and that’s a shame, because I love that name. I really — well it does have a law school, it just has one of them though, so that’s the problem.

Kathryn Rubino: It’s the almost legally-themed team.

Joe Patrice: Exactly right, but Kentucky is in it and they play great down the stretch. We love Kentucky, we have — we have –

Kathryn Rubino: They do very well.

Joe Patrice: — professors who are big fans of the blog there.

Kathryn Rubino: The law school also tends to do very well placing their graduates into full-time jobs after graduation.

Joe Patrice: There you go. Good point. Let’s skip ahead a couple of days, January 2nd while you’re recovering — actually it’s not even while you’re recovering, that would be the first. We don’t have any games on the first because it’s a Sunday so —

Kathryn Rubino: Watch the NFL.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, you watch the NFL instead. So, on the 2nd what we have is the Outback Bowl between #17 Florida and Iowa.

Kathryn Rubino: Florida, it’s Iowa.

Joe Patrice: It’s just the massive teams. Iowa did beat Michigan, but, yeah, this is, this is a —

Kathryn Rubino: I mean after —

Joe Patrice: This is a pair of teams that will try very hard to lose the game.

Kathryn Rubino: I think that’s true. I am going to say it’s —

Joe Patrice: I think it’s Florida — like Florida literally fell backwards into winning the SEC East.

Kathryn Rubino: They do.

Joe Patrice: Like it took a lot of work on everyone else’s part, that to happen. Yeah, so your SEC’s champions which all that wins you is the ability to get demolished by Alabama. That’s a lot of teams’ prize this year.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, oh, yeah, I guess Florida.

Kathryn Rubino: That’s what I think. I don’t know.

Joe Patrice: Law school wise they are probably both good.

Kathryn Rubino: Yeah.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, I don’t know.

Kathryn Rubino: Well, I think it’s kind of a push.

Joe Patrice: Also that day the Cotton Bowl between Western Michigan and which is #15 and undefeated, and #8 Wisconsin.

Kathryn Rubino: I am going to say, maybe this is more a hope than reality, but I really hope that Western Michigan wins this game. I think that they will play as they are not a power five conference, they don’t play as many of these big games, but I think they have got some great coaching, and I would love to see them take on Wisconsin and win.

Joe Patrice: Yeah. I think I would like to see that too. I am going to go ahead and assume Wisconsin wins though. I think that at a certain —

Kathryn Rubino: That’s fair.

Joe Patrice: — I think Wisconsin is a solid program. I think they have a lot better talent in places. I think their coaching is great not just like P.J. Fleck who has done amazing things, they are undefeated.

Kathryn Rubino: Roosevelt, right? That’s him, right? Roosevelt?

Joe Patrice: Yeah. Now, that said I think we all know who the better law school is here, because Wisconsin is Wisconsin and Western Michigan Law School —

Kathryn Rubino: Used to be —

Joe Patrice: — is Thomas Cooley.

Kathryn Rubino: Pum-pum-pum!

Joe Patrice: Yeah, arguably, the worst law school going right now.

Kathryn Rubino: Definitely on the list.

Joe Patrice: It’s on the list of about five schools, yeah.

Kathryn Rubino: yeah, for sure.

Joe Patrice: It wasn’t always that way. There has certainly been good Thomas Cooley graduates over the years including the coach of the —

Kathryn Rubino: The Lightning?

Joe Patrice: The Lightning, yeah, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Yeah, thanks, I blanked.

Kathryn Rubino: No, it’s okay.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, there have been some NHL coaches to come out of Thomas Cooley Law School.

Kathryn Rubino: Or A.

Joe Patrice: A, yeah, whatever. The point is they — it used to be a school that served Michigan in a good capacity, but it’s —

Kathryn Rubino: Right, it has fallen from that path.

Joe Patrice: Yeah. They have fallen off a little bit and gotten greedy and here they are.

All right. We have two more. So, also on the evening of January second, #9, University of Southern California versus #5 Pennsylvania State University.

Kathryn Rubino: Okay. Penn State is super-fun to watch in the Big Ten Championship game. I think that will be a great story if they won I think, but I think that USC is probably a better team. I think they have been more consistent. I think they are probably better athletes. I mean, I think that for especially when you take this much time off before you play, from your last game to your next game, I think that — having the better athletes tends to matter, so I think that USC is going to win.

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Joe Patrice: To borrow from the good people at the podcast Solid Verbal, I agree, yeah. USC right now may be the team that nobody wants any piece of. I think Vegas oddsmakers have them currently as the number three team in their eyes as far as they would pretty much beat anybody, but the top two teams.

Kathryn Rubino: It will be interesting. It’s a game I am definitely looking forward to. I hope it’s very competitive. I hope it’s a good game, but I think that if I was putting money on it, I would put my money on USC.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, I think that’s true as well. They had a rough start, but they have certainly looked great down the stretch.

Kathryn Rubino: They have looked disturbingly good, yeah.

Joe Patrice: Bringing us to our last game, which goes back in time to New Year’s Eve, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, which also is one-half of the college football playoffs; #4, University of Washington versus #1, University of Alabama.

Kathryn Rubino: Okay, so no one is going to tell you to put money on anything but Alabama, and probably don’t put money on Alabama, because I don’t think your odds are going to be that great. Maybe if you are playing the spread or something like that.

Joe Patrice: Which I think is 14+ at this point.

Kathryn Rubino: Oh, gosh, yeah, maybe you don’t put money on Alabama either. But no one is going to tell you to bet against Alabama at this point, but I don’t know. I am certainly hopeful that Washington wins. I don’t think it will happen, but man, could you imagine how crazy it would be if Washington won that game?

Joe Patrice: Oh yeah.

Kathryn Rubino: Like that would be super-fun.

Joe Patrice: I mean, look, all right, so to build up some hope for Washington fans, which I like to do, build up hope for them and then crush it, because I went to Oregon, to build up hope for Washington fans, honestly, at full strength I think you are a team that could play with and potentially beat Alabama, maybe not every time, but three times out of ten, maybe. I mean, I think that’s possible if you were at full strength. You are not going to be at full strength.

Meanwhile, Alabama could lose their entire first stringers and still be at full strength. I think that your coaching is fantastic, but I don’t know as though that’s going to be enough. I think that Alabama wins this game.

That said, hey, there’s precedent, nobody thought that Ohio State team that won the first — that won a couple of years ago was going to be able to keep up with Alabama.

Kathryn Rubino: That was like —

Joe Patrice: Two years ago, right?

Kathryn Rubino: Two years ago, yeah. That’s true. I am certainly hopeful, but I would not lay money on that possibility.

Joe Patrice: All right. This was an interesting experiment in ‘Thinking Like a Lawyer’ about sports I guess. We analyzed it using our legally trained mind. See how I am trying to justify this.

Kathryn Rubino: You are really trying to put this around into a square hole.

Joe Patrice: Well, no, actually one of the things about this is, I was inspired a bit, I mentioned Solid Verbal, a college football podcast already on this, but their most downloaded episode ever, apparently, at least according to them, was one that they did where one of the hosts talked to one of ESPN’s football analytic gurus only about ’90s pop punk for an hour and 10 minutes.

Kathryn Rubino: Well, that’s pretty specific, yeah.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, they just talked about that. They basically used those personalities to talk about nothing remotely about their subject matter, and it was huge. So maybe we will get college football people interested.

Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, although we did not have a ton of disagreement on this list.

Joe Patrice: They didn’t actually disagree a ton either about pop punk, because I mean, how could you?

Kathryn Rubino: I mean, it’s so obvious, isn’t it?

Joe Patrice: All right. Well, with that said, I think we should wrap this up. I will point out, I would be remissed if I didn’t point out that you should be subscribing to “Thinking Like a Lawyer” via whatever system you use to subscribe to podcasts. You should leave reviews on that system, especially if it’s iTunes, leave reviews, give us stars that helps move us up the algorithm that’s used to recommend podcast to people, so more people can hear us then.

You can also download the Legal Talk Network app, that way you can listen to us and all of the Legal Talk Network’s offerings.

You can follow us on  HYPERLINK “http://www.abovethelaw.com” abovethelaw.com, which is where both of us write. You can follow us on Twitter. I am at @JosephPatrice. You are?

Kathryn Rubino: @Kathryn1.

Joe Patrice: @Kathryn1, very early adopter of Twitter.

Kathryn Rubino: I was.

Joe Patrice: And you spell it with a —

Kathryn Rubino: K-A-T-H-R-Y-N.

Joe Patrice: Yeah, with the Y. All right. That said, I think that covers everything, so thanks for filling in for Elie here.

Kathryn Rubino: Thanks for having me on there, Joe.

Joe Patrice: Actually. All right, great. We will talk to you in the future.

[Music]

Outro: If you would like more information about what you heard today, please visit  HYPERLINK “http://www.legaltalknetwork.com” legaltalknetwork.com. You can also find us at  HYPERLINK “http://www.abovethelaw.com” abovethelaw.com,  HYPERLINK “http://www.atlredline.com” atlredline.com, iTunes, RSS, Twitter and Facebook.

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