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Last night at Kirkland & Ellis’ D.C. office, law firms engaged in a battle of who knows the most about nothing much in the first annual Lawyers for Literacy Trivia Night. The event, which raised funds for the children’s literacy program Everybody Wins! D.C., pitted nine firms against each other for five rounds of general interest trivia, with a heavy emphasis on, appropriately enough, children’s literature.

The nine firms—Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal; Morrison & Foerster; Sidley Austin; Steptoe & Johnson; White & Case; Nordhaus Law Firm; Shook, Hardy & Bacon; Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati; and Kirkland & Ellis—donated $1,500 to the literacy program for each six-person team.

Mark Young, a partner with Kirkland who knows a fair bit about Winnie the Pooh, Monopoly, and Warren Harding, has been reading to children in the Everybody Wins! D.C. Power Lunch Program for 11 years. Twelve firms around town participate in the program, and he says reading to an elementary school child for an hour once a week is easy to fit into a lawyer’s hectic schedule. “People that have become lawyers have done an awful lot of reading, and they appreciate the value of reading as a skill,” says Young.

The trivia questions ranged from popular movies and music to history. For example, what did Scout dress up as for her school pageant in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird? Answer, a ham. And what country has outlawed resurrecting the dead? Answer, Haiti.

Occasionally the crowd got a little rowdy, forcing quiz master, Neal Racioppo, to lay down the law, so to speak. “I just assumed you all were used to the judge being right,” said Racioppo, when one of the Steptoe teams objected to his answer.

Though White & Case had an early lead followed closely by Kirkland & Ellis’ appellate team, the fourth round was especially brutal, knocking out the frontrunners. The Shook Hardy team, called Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner, played a steady game and came in to win in the last round with 51 points.

The team, which scored an impressive looking trophy for their efforts, said their secret to winning was trusting their instincts. Christopher Appel, a staff attorney at the firm, described their strategy with a quote from “The Simpsons.” “God gave us the atom. It’s up to us to make it dance,” he said.

Racioppo enjoyed the crowd, but added that in the seven years he’s been quizzing folks around Washington he’s never seen a more competitive lot. “They weren’t all about finding the answer to the question,” said Racioppo. Instead, “they looked for the loopholes around the questions.”

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