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Due to the brevity that is February, March can feel like the longest month of the year. This, of course, may be why the NCAA felt the need to bring us college basketball March Madness. Sure, they could have developed a system as useless as the one used in football where a panel of coaches and columnists vote for which team they think should be number one, but where would the fun be in that? No, breaking down all the contenders into four geographic regions that have little to do with where the college is located and then putting them through a single-elimination tournament is much more fun. And it gives us all something to do to pass the time. What, you thought it was a coincidence that daylight-saving time happens to fall on Selection Sunday? The farmers don’t need the extra daylight – we are just so excited to learn which of our favorite college basketball teams have made the tourney that we force the clocks ahead one hour. Unfortunately, this is the extent of my knowledge of basketball: I lived with a basketball player in college and she tried to teach me what was going on in the game, as did our other roommates when we went to watch her play, but nothing stuck. I think it is a mental block. In sixth grade I was the second-tallest girl in my class. Everyone urged me to try out for our school’s team. What everyone didn’t know was that I was all arms and legs and no hand-eye coordination. It was awful. I don’t think I ever fully recovered from this embarrassment, and I now subconsciously look at basketball with scorn and disdain. Still, I must admit, I do feel a little left out during this time of year. This doesn’t mean I will be participating in the office pool. The closest I have ever come to filling out a bracket happened last year, when a bunch of friends and I decided it would be a good idea to fill out our “Elite Eight” of former loves. Not only did it have us cracking up laughing as all around us UNC fans watched in horror, but I was shocked to discover who took home my championship. No, brackets are best filled out by those who don’t base their selections on the names of schools, the colors of the uniforms, or which team has the tougher mascot. I mean, this is how I would do it – I know nothing about what it takes for a team to make it to the Sweet 16! Since I associate Purdue and Colgate with chicken and toothpaste, respectively, I would eliminate both those colleges’ teams in the first round – unless, of course, they were playing each other, in which case Purdue would advance. I would also never pick Gonzaga for a win, due to the fact that I think that name is stupid. But when I see the mass e-mails sent around announcing who is in the lead, I become a bit jealous. Part of it is my competitive side that wishes I were in the lead. But the other part, the much larger part, is just sad that I am missing out on the camaraderie that comes with socially acceptable gambling. I want to (just once!) be the person who saw George Mason winning in the second round. Or I would love for one of the partners to come around and ask me if all but one of the number ones buying it screwed me too. But that will never be, because I have no idea what any of that means. This year, though, I won’t be left out in the cold – and not just because we have experienced an unseasonably warm winter. No, I am bringing all the fun and action of March Madness to a firm near you. All it takes is a little creativity and a huge piece of poster board. First, gather all the first-year associates near one of the partners’ offices. First-years, you can gather all the law clerks. (You’ll probably want to pick a partner that is out of the office, either at trial or away for depositions.) On your poster board, list all of the first-years’ names, just like in the brackets. Feel free to break down your chart by where they went to law school or how they did on the LSATs. Then send them into the vacant partner’s office, two at a time, for a steel-cage-like battle to the finish. Tell them that this is the only way to gain acceptance from their peers, and assure them that you all had to do this your first year with the firm. You may also wish to add a “The first rule of Fight Club is, you do not talk about Fight Club” stipulation. For those of you looking for a less-violent option, start taking bets on how long the latest associate will last. Sure, it’s more of a pool than a bracket competition, but you can also place side bets on how he or she will run out. Will he or she go screaming and crying, in a hysterical fit just before midnight? Or will the new attorney walk out, calm, cool and collected, with a small box and a knowing grin, smug in the knowledge that they are going somewhere with a bigger office and better benefits? But what if you work in the land of milk and honey and no one ever leaves? Don’t fret; I have a game for you to play as well. How long until the office tramp or scoundrel asks the new associate out? If you want to make it more interesting, take wagers on whether or not the associate will say yes. You don’t have an office flirt to bet on either? Well then, you are either with a firm in Pleasantville or you are the office floozy yourself. If it’s the former, you shouldn’t be placing bets. Gambling is bad and always frowned upon, even in March. If it’s the latter, I would suggest betting on your behavior under a pseudonym. And what if you are the new associate whom everyone is now watching like a hawk? Don’t worry your pretty little head; I have a game for you to play too. There are 64 teams that compete in the tournament – so, draft your next motion with exactly 64 numbered paragraphs. Fill in your own bracket to see which of the paragraphs can make it all the way through your partner’s revision process with the least amount of edits. For my money, somewhere in the middle is a really well-worded, thought-out argument that you are so proud of it almost brings tears to your eyes; I see it losing to the third or fourth paragraph that literally reiterates everything in the prior paragraph. Trust me, your darling in the middle won’t make it past the first round; it never does. As for my NCAA champion prediction, what you thought I was going to let a little thing like having no idea what I am talking about get in the way? I am saying, on the record without the teams even being named, the Duke Blue Devils for the title. But that is only because I read somewhere that Temple doesn’t have a chance of getting invited to the dance. Sarah E. Klem graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. Klem has written articles for neighborhood newspapers and contributed content to a paralegal blog. She is a paralegal and legal assistant for a law firm in Center City. She lives in the Queen Village section of Philadelphia with two roommates and a dog. Her blog, also called The Devil Wears Brooks Brothers, is online at hppt://devilwearsbrooksbrothers.wordpress.com.

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