Every once in a while a senior partner will need a favor from the young associate. It usually starts with a call to your cell phone as you are sitting peacefully at your desk diligently using ESPN.com for all of your legal research needs:
Namby, are you at the office? I need a favor.
These phone calls seem to start this way each and every time they occur. What this partner fails to understand is that unless I am in court in a faraway land (the suburbs) or in the morgue, I am at the office…but no matter..
I’m stuck in traffic and I won’t be able to make this court hearing. Can you cover it for me?
The senior partner, whenever he calls, is always stuck in traffic. Now, since I am not already in court at the moment, I am likely unshaven, unkempt and not wearing a tie. I already know, due to the nature of this partner, that I am about to be running to the courthouse to make sure that I get to the courtroom in time, I can only fix one of these less than professional attributes: the tie. Thankfully, I’ve got five different ties sitting in a heap in a cabinet. The partner continues:
The hearing is in six minutes and I don’t know the courtroom. Give me a second to look it up…
This pause allows me to get the tie on.
The courtroom is on the 20th floor and it is Judge…yeah I am not sure…tell my secretary to give you everything on this file before you leave. Apologize to the court for my absence and just try to buy more time.
A simple task in theory. The court will be in session in four minutes now. Thankfully, on the way out the door I can grab the file materials without breaking my stride. I don’t bother to try and read this file as I am running…I already look ridiculous enough running in a suit.
Thankfully, the courthouse is less than a 5 minute sprint from my office. I show up, breathing heavily and sit down in the courtroom just in time for the judge to appear. This is the time that I finally start leafing through this stack of papers that were thrust upon me as if I was a participant in a relay race. And then I see the last order setting the agenda for this court appearance in bold capital letters:
LEAD COUNSEL SHALL APPEAR OR WILL BE SANCTIONED BY THE COURT
Ah. I guess I do need to buy the senior partner some time.