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Opening day is just around the corner, and although America’s national pastime now seems to be predicting who’s going to get voted off the island, a few of us still long for the sound of horsehide on lumber. I confess, I’m one of them. Every year about this time, my thoughts turn to baseball. I’ll read the box scores, listen to some games on the radio, and try not to act too smug as this year’s bonus baby (you have to be of a certain age to remember that term) hits .195, forgets how to make a double play and otherwise becomes the Nasdaq of the baseball world. It’s great, but like just about everything else, the thrill goes away too fast. By May, I’m thinking about the mundane stuff like my law practice again, and wishing I could find a way to make it interesting. Diehard fans play fantasy baseball, a semi-arcane pseudo-sport in which they pick several players and are awarded points depending on how well their fantasy teams do. A home run might get a coach five points; being thrown out trying to steal a base results in a deduction. At the end of the season, the player with the most points wins. Fantasy sports players definitely pay attention; doing the arithmetic is enough to keep you focused. And so, in an effort to buoy your interest in practicing law and knowing what’s going on out there, I’d like to announce the formation of the first fantasy law firm league. Each participant will create a fantasy firm by picking real attorneys and following their successes and failures over a year’s time. You’ll get points for successes: A victory in a jury trial by one of your fantasy partners might get you five points, a summary judgment three points, and a successful objection to a discovery request one point. We’ll also deduct points for failures: If one of your fantasy lawyers loses a jury trial, you lose five points. Sanctions imposed? A big 10-point deduction. Special exception granted? One point off. At the end of the year, the firm with the most points wins — what, I’m not sure, but we’ll think of something. WAYS TO SCORE I know what you’re thinking. Booooo-ring, right? Not so. Just to prove it, let’s take the lawyer on everyone’s short list, and obvious fantasy first-round draft pick, David Boies, and see how he does in our fantasy firm. Boies single-handedly wins the biggest antitrust suit in decades. Call that 25 points. But wait, our system is sophisticated, so there are going to be some deductions. The biggest antitrust suit is against Microsoft and Bill Gates, the Pottsylvania and Boris Badenov of the computer world. Five points off. Boies takes the case for a fee of about $40 per hour — really — meaning a huge negative cash flow. Fifteen points off. And he doesn’t even argue the appeal. There goes another point. So United States v. Microsoft only nets our fantasy superstar a total of … four points. Ouch! On to Florida. Boies is hired to be at the center of the largest political controversy in ages — at least since Monica started making purses instead of presidents. Lots of face time, big issues, maybe a chance to open a branch office in the Lincoln Bedroom if he wins. This is worth 30 points easy. But wait — his opponents include a guy who single-handedly keeps the hair mousse industry alive and a guy who bought from every make-up infomercial ever shown. Five points off. The fight is over chads, something nobody’s ever heard of or cares about. Seven points off. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia makes snide comments. Ten more points gone. So another piece of megalitigation translates to just eight fantasy points, and I haven’t even factored in the fact that his client invented the Internet. And what about Napster, the biggest IP case ever? Well, if you don’t beat a bunch of guys with major tattoo fetishes, your appeal tanks, and you can’t even get people interested in a billion-dollar settlement offer, don’t count on any fantasy points. Enough said. Maybe brother Boies should try a few fender-benders to get his average back up. See, I told you this would be fun. If Boies turns out to be a fantasy schlemiel, you can imagine what surprises will be in store when you put your team together and follow it for a whole year. You might even be our big winner. See you on opening day. Tom Alleman, a shareholder in the Dallas office of Winstead Sechrest & Minick, spent a lot of time when he was growing up listening to Dizzy Dean and Pee Wee Reese talk about the second sacker. With such language etched into his mind, it should come as no surprise that the opinions in this column are not necessarily those of Winstead Sechrest & Minick, its clients, or Joe Garagiola for that matter.

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