ADVICE FOR THE LOVELORN LAWYER

By ASK CASSANDRA

She's back. Even if you, our readers, didn't ask all of these questions, Cassandra is ready to share with you all of her answers. So sit, listen and learn -- and maybe you'll even get lucky.

Dear Cassandra,
      I am about to begin law school at night. My question is whether lawyers really have as much sex with each other as they do on Ally McBeal. My wife worries that if I'm sleeping with colleagues, it will distract me from my primary mission of earning enough money to buy her expensive things. I've never slept with a colleague before since I work in the federal government, but this private sector sleeping-together business intrigues me. I would appreciate your views. -- In It for the Action

Dear Action,
      The short answer: like bunny rabbits.
      The long answer: Cassandra needs to correct one mistaken assumption in your letter. Sex at law firms is rampant. But it's not an end in itself. It's a means to a greater end: making all that money. You foolish government bureaucrat -- this is the primary objective of any law firm activity! Those bitter, alienated female partners in the firm you'll join? They gave up husband, kids and family to succeed in the office, and now that they're wearing that brass ring and golden handcuffs, they'd like to handcuff you to their bedposts.
      Cassandra urges: just do it. When one of them calls at 11:30 p.m. and asks you to bring over the Mulroney deposition transcript, take the hint and make sure to tote along a nice bottle of port. Cassandra guarantees that by doing this little chore, you'll be assured of good performance reviews -- guaranteeing that your wife can buy that forest green Range Rover she needs so badly.

Dear Cassandra,
      I'm an absolutely gorgeous, 28-year-old single female associate at a large Manhattan law firm. I have thick, lustrous hair and pillowy lips. A matronly colleague recently told me I shouldn't wear miniskirts to work anymore because the male lawyers at my firm don't view me as "serious." I think they take me extremely seriously. Do you think I need to tone down my inherent gorgeousness just to make partner? -- Erin Brockovich in tiny Armani

Dear Erin:
      Cassandra cannot help but wonder what the male partners are seriously considering you for. More important, Cassandra finds herself deeply distraught about what you are seriously competing for. Any first-year law student knows better than to describe herself solely by physical appearance! Pillowy lips may well be of interest to an upholsterer. But your failure to phrase your query in terms familiar to most young attorneys is, frankly, shocking. Nowhere in your letter do you advise Cassandra of your law school, class rank or income! How do you expect to be taken seriously by any lawyer -- male or female -- until you learn to commodify yourself properly, using money and rank rather than sex appeal?

Dear Cassandra:
      Mommy says I have a Daddy. All the other kids have Daddies or at least child support. Sometimes a man comes to my house late at night and yells at Mommy about "damn dry cleaning never being picked up," or "2600 hours a year." Mommy says he is my Daddy. He smells funny, and he has little wrinkles where the eyes usually go. Also, I don't think he knows my name. How can I tell if this is my Daddy? -- Little Billy

Dear Little Billy,
      You are pretty articulate for a child, and although your letter was etched in crayon, I also believe that you somehow have Internet access. (How else did you learn about Cassandra?) And I don't think you're simply accessing "AOL Just For Kids." In fact, I don't think you're so little, Little Billy. Actually, Little Billy, I wonder if you are in reality Daddy's guilt-inducing, stay-at-home wife!
      Just call me Sherlock, but I believe your letter may be a ploy for Mommy to guilt Daddy into working a bit less. In which case, stay-at-home Mommy, my advice is to lean back in the tub, enjoy those aromatherapy candles and be happy Daddy's still at the office. And put little "Hello my name is" stickers on the children to avoid any painful confusion between Little Billy and Little Tommy.
      If this letter really was from Little Billy, then my apologies to a boy genius. Baby, I have a Jodie Foster movie you can star in and we'll put your name in lights. Just call my assistant, Cassiopeia, and we'll talk.


Got a burning question about law and romance? Ask Cassandra. She'll answer your queries in perplexing, wordy hypotheticals, so lawyers can fully understand. Send your questions to writ@findlaw.com, with a "Dear Cassandra" heading.

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