If you want proof that not all D.C.-area lawyers work 24/7, head to the Black Cat on 14th St. N.W. on Thursday night. Sixteen law firm bands will be showing off talents they did not learn in law school on two stages from 7 p.m. to midnight.
It's the ninth annual "Battle of the Law Firm Bands" to benefit Gifts for the Homeless, which uses all proceeds to buy winter clothing and distribute it to 35 area shelters. Last year, the event raised $150,000. GFTH was founded in 1986 by lawyers and law firm staff.
The event has grown in size and popularity. The 16 bands performing Thursday are up from 12 last year. Many of the bands have names only lawyers could love -- like Jazz Ipsa Loquitur (See: res ipsa ...) with lawyers from Foley & Lardner and Lerman Senter, and Attractive Nuisance, showcasing talent from Steptoe & Johnson.
“There are a lot of frustrated musicians out there writing contracts and filing lawsuits,” said GFTH board member Jim Villa, vice president and general counsel at Colonial Parking.
The winner is the band that raises the most money from the crowd through "Chicago-style" voting -- each dollar donated equals one vote. “It’s gotten a lot more competitive,” said Crowell & Moring partner Jonathan Pittman, whose New 42s, which includes lawyers from King & Spalding, will be playing. "It's a fun gig. It's about as lively as a bunch of lawyers can be."
Williams & Connolly partner Philip Sechler said his firm’s band, called Dangerous Communication Device (the name is an inside joke at the firm) will play at 10 p.m. “We sound better at that hour,” he said. Four partners and one paralegal make up the "punk genre" band, according to Sechler. "It's a great event that raises a lot of money for a great cause."