'Good Wife,' Good Law: 7 Questions About 'The 7-Day Rule'
"The Good Wife" has returned -- for summer reruns, anyway. And last night's rerun, which originally aired in January, gives us a chance perform a legal reality check.
For the episode entitled "The Seven-Day Rule," here are seven points we picked up on:
- Can a lawyer really make partner after just four years? As lawyers, we're told it's possible to make partner by 40 -- you just have to be perfect. But as seen in last night's episode, a firm can dole out equity partnerships for other reasons, such as trying to boost its financial state. This is because equity partners make serious capital contributions to the firm and share the firm's profits as their income. This means that in lean years, equity partners might make less than a senior associate's salary.
- Is $600K standard for a partnership buy-in? Though the amount might be higher than usual, paying top-dollar isn't uncommon. Staggering capital contribution requirements mirror the motive behind offering an associate an equity partnership. These requirements can range from 20% of a partner's expected annual earnings, or even up to 60% in some cases, according to the ABA Journal.
- How common is it for a woman to make partner? Sadly, there are few Alicias and Dianes. Overall, the data is still bleak for women, who make up only 15% of equity partners nationwide. On a positive note, however, more female partners are being promoted to equity partners at so-called BigLaw firms.
- Is there really a 7-day rule for prenups in California? Yes! Under California law, a premarital agreement can be deemed as involuntary if the person handed the prenup wasn't given at least seven days to look it over and have it checked by an attorney before signing on the dotted line. Not all states have such a rule, however.
- Can a prenup dictate sexual habits? For some folks, sex is a chore. Like chore requirements, sex provisions in a prenup are usually not enforceable. This is because a prenup that includes stipulations about sex is in fact a sex contract, which is a no-no for public policy reasons. (This was the one big, glaring legal error that somehow made it into the episode...)
- Other prenup no-nos? In step with these seven questions about "The Seven-Day Rule" episode, there are seven common prenup mistakes you should avoid. From chores to children, there are plenty of prenup no-nos to keep in mind.
- Can you get a family law attorney who isn't smarmy? The episode made it hard to believe that there are non-sleazy family law attorneys out there. Reality check: They exist, and can be found at our online lawyer directory.
As the show's writers spend summer holed up in the writers' room plotting out the next season, fans get to catch-up on reruns. Check back in next week, as we revisit other "Good Wife" oldies-but-goodies.
What did you think of this week's episode of "The Good Wife"? Is the show guilty of making any legal mistakes? Check back here for more legal recaps of "The Good Wife," and send us a tweet @FindLawConsumer with the hashtag #TheGoodWife.
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