Proskauer’s Eric Remensperger playing the bass guitar during the Battle of the Bands. ()
Move over Nicki Minaj and Macklemore, make way for Run DLA and Legally Blonde.
The two law firm bands were among the 11 to take the stage at the historic Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday night to raise money for victims of domestic violence.
The Battle of the Bands fundraiser attracted about 600 attendees and raised almost $115,000 for the Family Violence Appellate Project, a California nonprofit that appeals cases on behalf of domestic violence survivors. The organization focuses much of its work on protecting children in danger of ongoing abuse and advancing the interests of domestic violence victims.
Morrison & Foerster emerged the winner in Tuesday’s competition, with 12,126 votes cast for Band Morrison. Proskauer Rose’s Legally Blonde took second with 7,382 votes and Norton Rose Fulbright’s Hostile Witness came in fourth with 4,907 votes. (Chipmaker Qualcomm was among the corporations participating in the event, taking third place with 5,319 votes.)
Each vote equaled $1 in donations. But Band Morrison’s victory may not have had as much to do with its musical talent as it did with MoFo’s generosity. Beyond the work it already does for the Family Violence Appellate Project by providing legal assistance to fight for the protection of domestic violence survivors, the firm on Tuesday doubled all the votes received by Band Morrison, showing up Legally Blonde, which had taken an early lead in the night and even brought on surprise guest, When In Rome lead singer Clive Farrington, to join the band in performing the ’80s hit, “The Promise.”
MoFo senior of counsel Kenneth Kohler played lead guitar for Band Morrison, which was mostly made up of associates.
“I think people were surprised to see him out there rocking on stage,” said fellow band member and MoFo associate Stephen Jones, who plays bass. “These are people you see everyday, but you don’t imagine them doing something like that.”
Other lawyers displayed their alter egos in bands such as DLA Piper’s Run DLA, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s Papa Gibson and the Writs of Replevin, Latham & Watkins’ Diversion, O’Melveny & Myers’ The Moving Party, Perkins Coie’s Privileged Communications, and Reed Smith’s Down By Law. Each band had at least one lawyer from the sponsoring firm.
For Eric Remensperger, head of Proskauer’s West Coast real estate group and bass player for Legally Blonde, the event gave him and other lawyers an excuse to return to their former rock ‘n’ roll days. Remensperger himself had played in numerous bands before giving it all up once he started law school.
“There’s two things that make it a really exciting opportunity. One is to be able to play music again and it’s a good cause,” Remensperger said. “Since doing this, I’ve discovered how many musicians we actually have in our firm.”
Organizers of Tuesday night’s event said that while the money raised from the Battle of the Bands will help their cause, the greatest result was raising awareness.
“It will really help us do more,” said Erin Smith, executive director of the Family Violence Appellate Project. “We have limited resources in house, so we leverage those through pro bono attorneys and volunteerism. We really hope this will help us continue that approach.”