What links the years: 2001, 2006, and 2012? Maybe a lot of things. But, one of them is a massive underdog upset during March Madness.
Basketball brackets are underway as Thursday starts the early round of the college NCAA Tournament, fondly referred to as March Madness. And, it wasn’t that long ago that spectators were shocked and awed when a Number 15 seed knocked out a Number 2 seed team. Norfolk State beat Missouri 86-84 in 2012, which meant only two of 6.45 million participants in ESPN.com’s bracket challenge had perfect records, according to ABC News.
Now that’s upsetting.
If that score of 86-84 sounds familiar, it’s because in 2006, the same score lit up the basketball billboard for an Elite Eight match-up between George Mason and UConn. George Mason won and leapt unexpectedly into the Final Four.
Nobody saw that coming.
Finally, way before the 2012 upset, there was something similarly motivating about being a Number 15 seed versus a Number 2 seed. In 2001, the Pirates showed impressive defense as they guarrrrrded against Iowa State in a 58-57 nail-biter.
It’s too early to say whether 2015 has anything in common with these three years. But, for law firm professionals, look no further than Above The Law (ATL) for your own annual March Madness bracket.
Instead of basketball, this bracket measures up 8 perks provided by law firms from around the country. On the opposite side of the bracket, there are the top perks offered in corporate America.
“If you’re working in-house, maybe you enjoy a few of these,” writes Joe Patrice for ATL.
“But most lawyers only gaze longingly at the bounty available to corporate drones.”
And here they are:
1. Frozen Eggs — We gave O’Melveny some props for its forward-thinking fertility coverage. But corporate America takes it a bit further. Apple and Facebook pay to freeze eggs. On the one hand, this would be a tremendous fringe benefit for female associates hoping to raise a family at their convenience. On the other hand, wouldn’t this just broadcast that associates aren’t going to enjoy any free time until they’re living with the rest of the Golden Girls?
2. Private Concierge Service — S.C. Johnson has a wing of folks devoted to the personal chores of its employees. This may not sound like much, but imagine the implications for an associate. Pick up dry cleaning? Check. Make dinner reservations? Check. Hide the body? Check.
3. Sit Anywhere You Want — In addition to making some top-notch cereal that you don’t have time to eat before heading to work, General Mills allows employees (in many departments) to sit wherever they want in the office. That’s antithetical to everything law firms stand for, but there’s no good reason you have to be saddled with the officemate of the firm’s choosing. Maybe instead of gutting that beautiful library for more office space, we can let more folks work in a nice space.
4. Adoption — If you didn’t freeze your eggs, maybe you can adopt. Mattel helps out with your adoption costs.
5. Dog-Sitting — Continuing on the theme, if you failed to freeze your eggs and didn’t adopt, maybe you can dress a dog up in sweaters and desperately wish it was a little person that could give your pitiful existence meaning. Cleaning up another being’s feces is the same no matter what, right? Genentech respects its employees who are doomed to living a lie.
6. Acupuncture — Facebook offers on-site acupuncture. What better way to forget that you’re figuratively being killed by a thousand pin pricks every day than to literally receive a thousand pin pricks.
7. $50,000 Car Voucher — This was the offer of Hilcorp Energy. There was a catch: the company needed to make its ambitious annual goal before employees could get their dream cars, but imagine if a firm handed something like this out if, say, a firm achieved a substantial PPP bump? Instead of firing a bunch of people… like some firms.
8. House Cleaning — Forget concierge services, Evernote will clean your house. This may be the ultimate service for the man or woman working 100 hours a week.
Vote for your favorite here.
In the meantime, consider creating your own “in-house perk” bracket by polling your lawyers and staff. Find out what matters most to them and think about funding this year’s winner.
For perk Number 7, the Car Voucher, this was incentivized by the firm, which required a certain amount of productivity in terms of new clients and profits. Take a page from their brief by offering perks to your employees contingent on performance.
The reason economists study incentives so much is that they work. As long as you pin-point the true desires of your associates through a poll or voting scheme, there’s no reason these benefits have to be dolled out for free.
March Madness is a time for play, preparation, and hard work. As a law firm, you work all year toward winning cases for your clients or increasing billables for the firm partners.
At the same time, March Madness is about the underdog. With the right incentives and perks to competition, your employees could surprise you with an unexpectedly high bottom line.
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