Some of us here speak with a painful amount of experience when we say that big, corporate law firms just aren’t conducive to happiness. Or healthiness. Or anything, really, aside from making a boatload of money while logging an ungodly number of billable hours. But hey congrats to Nixon Peabody for making Fortune’s list of the best companies in America to work! And way to turn that honor into a headline grabbing fiasco! In celebration of their good Fortune, NP commissioned an “infectious” celebratory anthem (read: cheesy ’80s-styled party jam rip off) for their staff to, presumably, play in their offices while missing their kids’ little league games. (Oh, we kid.) But then the song leaked to the internet, and that’s when things got silly.
But what began as an innocent instance of corporate self-congratulation has turned into a minor Internet sensation and earned the firm a bit of a black eye, with bloggers poking fun at the song and criticizing Nixon Peabody?s response to its leak.
The tune first appeared last Thursday on Above the Law, a legal gossip blog run by a former federal prosecutor, David Lat. He said that he first received the song on Wednesday evening from several sources.
?The first time I listened to it, I thought it was hilarious and bizarre,? Mr. Lat said in an interview. After converting the file into a video, Mr. Lat posted the song on YouTube on Thursday morning ? under the heading ?Someone Deserves to Be Shot Over This? ? and e-mailed Nixon Peabody for comment.
Initially, he received a statement from the firm saying that the song had been created as a response to the firm?s being ranked 47th on Fortune?s list and was meant for internal use only.
?Fun is not prohibited here,? the statement concluded.
But shortly afterward, Mr. Lat said, he received a phone call from Allison McClain, a firm spokeswoman, and John R. Gerhard, the firm?s managing director. Mr. Gerhard said that the song had been leaked by a person who was in a fight with the firm, though he did not explain further. Mr. Gerhard asked for Mr. Lat?s sources and asserted that posting the song had been a violation of the firm?s copyright.
Mr. Gerhard asked Mr. Lat to take down the song, but he refused, saying his playing of it fell under the fair-use provisions of the law. Though Mr. Gerhard said the firm did not ?intend to let this thing lie,? Mr. Lat says he did not receive a cease-and-desist letter. By Friday, YouTube had removed the song, noting that it had received a copyright violation notice.
Asked to discuss the situation, Nixon Peabody released the following statement: ?This song was put together for a celebration. We were having some fun with it and now some other people are having fun with it. We?re moving on and focusing on being a great place to work and doing great work for our clients.?
If you dare, download “Everybody’s A Winner At Nixon Peabody” at Abovethelaw.com, the blog at the center of the maelstrom. Nixon Peabody? “The word is out, they’re a happenin’ place to be / The folks at Fortune magazine agree”!
Why does all this sound so familiar? Oh, right.
UPDATE: For the tl;dr crowd: