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Tuesday, June 27, 2006
DC Power Lawyer Golf Handicaps

Wonkette links yesterday to Golf Digest’s October 2005 ranking (by handicap) of the top 200 politico-golfers in Washington, DC, a number of whom happen to be lawyers. Among the more notable (I’ve left out elected officials, many of whom have law degrees but are unlikely to ever practice again):
7. Fred Eames, Partner, Hunton & Williams (2.0)
17. Spencer Prior, U.S. Attorney’s Office (4.0)
51. Tim Jenkins, Attorney, O’Connor & Hannan (9.2)
94. Sandra Day O’Connor, Ret. Supreme Court Justice (12.8)
98. Larry Gage, Partner, Powell Goldstein (13.1)
103. Robert Mueller, FBI Director (13.9)
104. John Roberts, Supreme Court Justice (14.5)
122. Mike Hammer, Partner, Wilkie Farr (15.4)
126. Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General (16)
172. John Quinn, Partner, Piper Rudnick (22.3)
188. John Paul Stevens, Supreme Court Justice (25.2)
Although I think there’s little doubt that being decent can be good for one’s legal career, I wonder whether a client should really be excited to hire a good golfer as a lawyer. Maybe this is just the jealously of a duffer talking (my uncle once joked that he would file an environmental impact assessment the next time we went golfing together), but isn’t a low handicap a sign that one spends a lot of time on the links? And, therefore, not as much time doing legal work? I suppose that one might extrapolate from a good golf game to grace under pressure, which is certainly a good quality for a litigator or a dealmaker.

Former NCAA Golf Champion Fred Ridley told the WSJ’s Law Blog, “The law profession is not a really great profession for being a great athlete. If you’re going to be a good lawyer, you’ve got to dedicate a lot of time to the profession.” If you want to be a good golfer, “you need to be in the insurance business or something.”


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