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November 28, 2007

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Marc Fleischaker

This is a pretty silly piece of "journalism." When Nate Carlile called me about this, he said that a "senior editor" had heard that we were no longer calling ourselves a "lifestyle firm." I wondered where he or she had heard this, and speculated that perhaps I had said something about it at our Firm retreat in October. I did not remember specifically saying it, and I did not have a written speech. I did not and would not give a "directive" about whether we could refer to ourselves as a "lifestyle firm" (or about most other things either for that matter). I did say to Nate that I personally don't like the term since it implies in the marketplace a firm with low profits that is trying to justify those low profits.

I said that our profits are not low, and our lawyers work hard. I also said that I believe that Arent Fox is a great place to work, and that we do recognize that there is a life outside the office, and we encourage people to live it. We continue to have reasonable billable hour standards, and we include pro bono hours in those requirements. Nor have we gone on a "de-equitization binge" like some law firms in order to increase their published "profits per partner."

So, at least compared to most law firms, I do strongly believe that we are a very nice place to work, and that environment won't change based on what we call ourselves, or what someone else calls us. (By the way, I don't believe that we've called ourselves a "lifestyle firm" in advertising for several years.)

If I were asked by a reporter the same question that the Washington recruiter quoted in the "blog" was asked, I would have answered the same way. We are, in fact, getting top laterals, and we're getting them because we know who we are and are not trying to be the biggest or the "most profitable" firm in the market. We are a large, mid-size, profitable law firm where one can enjoy his or her practice and make a great career, while having an interesting and exciting practice.

Whatever I may have said at our retreat will not affect that, and neither will any blog or article printed by The Legal Times.

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