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APRIL 27, 2001 This morning, after a prolonged bout of staring at the phone, I called the opposing counsel in one of my cases. I had been putting this off because the purpose of the phone call was to arrange an on-site document review. Life, as they say, is what happens to you between document reviews, and I had been enjoying this particular stretch of life. Besides, the stated purpose of doing an on-site review — rather than my adversary simply copying and sending the documents to me — is that the documents are “voluminous,” which always sounds vaguely threatening (“You want to review my documents, punk? Go ahead — they’re voluminous”). In a few minutes, the arrangements were made: I would review the documents in an office building in suburban New Jersey the following week. All things considered, this was not a bad time for a field trip since the spring weather was beautiful while my office — owing to some glitch in building maintenance — was slightly stuffy. Of course, my secretary, Paula, could not resist commenting on the conditions in my office. As she approached my desk to drop off some letters, she started fanning herself. “Man! It sure is hot in here.” “Is it?” I said calmly. “I didn’t even notice.” “I’ll call building maintenance,” she said. This was no time for me to appear helpless. “Don’t bother,” I said. “I’m fine.” But she may have a point: The office is actually more than just a little stuffy. Later in the day, I met with the junior associate who would be joining me on the trip to New Jersey. I explained what we would be looking for in the documents. “Any questions?” I said. “Yeah. What’s with the heat in your office?” “I mean, any questions about the documents.” “It must be 80 degrees in here.” Just then a paralegal appeared at my door. I had asked him to stop by to discuss the mechanics of getting the documents copied and stamped. “Come on in,” I said, “sit down.” The paralegal looked at the junior associate and then looked at me. “It’s like a sauna in here.” “That’s enough!” I said. I took my desk fan, placed it on the front of my desk, pointed it at the junior associate and the paralegal, turned it on full blast, and continued the conversation. Unfortunately, I couldn’t hear them over the fan. I hope they didn’t say anything too important. Paula passed by my office, shaking her head. MAY 2 Today is D-Day (Document Day). This morning, the junior associate and I took a New Jersey Transit bus from the Port Authority. This was my idea, I’m proud to say. After consulting the bus schedules and maps on the Internet, I realized that the bus would practically deliver us right to the office where we had to review our adversary’s documents. Why bother with a fancy car service? “Are you sure this is a good idea?” said the junior associate as I met him at the Port Authority. “Absolutely,” I said. I showed him the map I had printed off the Internet: The bus stop was just a few centimeters from the document review site. He said something about the “scale” of the map, but I pretended not to hear. It was obviously time to teach this young associate something about economizing. The bus let us off near a shopping center. We cut through the parking lot and then found ourselves on the wrong side of a six-lane highway: Our destination was somewhere on the other side. Perhaps I’ve spent too much time in Manhattan, but I’d forgotten that certain places are not made for pedestrians. My colleague and I discussed various strategies for crossing the highway, our voices rising and falling in counterpoint to the trucks whizzing by. Eventually, we made a two-stage crossing, with a refreshing break on a grassy median strip. On the other side, we walked along the shoulder looking for the right exit. Unfortunately, it was one of those unseasonably hot days, with the temperature approaching that inside my office. The sun was beating down on us. A man in shirtsleeves was fixing his car along the side of the highway. How far to _______, we asked, naming our destination. Like a character from central casting, he looked at us in our suits, mopped his brow and said, “guys, you got a long way to go.” At length, we limped up to our adversary’s office, where we were shown into a conference room. It was air conditioned and free of traffic. A strange sensation came over me: I was happy — overjoyed, really — to be in a room full of documents. After that, the actual document review went smoothly and for the return trip, we found an easier way to get to the bus stop. It was late afternoon when we returned, slightly disheveled, to the office. I went straight to the 24th floor, where my firm was hosting a cocktail reception for some distinguished visitors. As much as I wanted to meet the visitors, I drifted into a conversation with a group of colleagues whom I hadn’t seen in a while. Was it my imagination, or did they all seem to be working on massive cross-border transactions and landmark Supreme Court cases? One of them turned to me and asked, “So, what’s keeping you busy?” I puffed out my cheeks and said: “A pretty big case. It involves New Jersey Transit — I really shouldn’t say any more in the middle of all these people.” They nodded approvingly. I excused myself and went to my office for the first time since the morning. Miraculously, my office was cool; the air conditioning vents working full blast. As I sat wondering who had called building maintenance, Paula left for the evening. If I’m not mistaken, she gave me a little wink. Adam Freedman is a senior associate at Schulte Roth & Zabel.

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