X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
July 15, 2002 After a leisurely walk to the subway station I found myself dripping with sweat. It was 8:30 a.m. Not a good start to the day. Making matters worse, I was wearing a wool suit. Despite my firm’s “business casual” policy, I continue to wear a suit, for reasons that, frankly, eluded me as I stood there, sweating at the corner of 86 and Lex. I was beginning to understand all the fuss about telecommuting. I descended to the subway station and stood on the platform, waiting — either for a train, or for an MTA worker to start whacking me with birch branches. By the time I got to work, I found that the 6 Train had had the same soothing effect it always has on me. “Grrrrr,” I said as I entered my firm. “Good morning,” said the secretary. “What’s good about it?” I barked. And then I realized that this wasn’t even my secretary. “Where’s Paula?” I demanded, as though my secretary were being held for ransom. “She’s on vacation — I’m covering the desk.” “Oh. Could you please type this?” I handed her revisions on a draft brief. The substitute secretary got to work, doing an excellent job. But I must have still been suffering from the heat. When the secretary stepped away from the desk for a minute, I panicked: “This is an urgent brief! Don’t go away without telling me!!” Ten minutes later, the secretary came to my door: “I’m going to get a cup of tea now.” “Well, you don’t have to tell me things like that.” “But you said — “ Perhaps I had spoken rashly. I apologized to the substitute secretary: “It’s the heat,” I explained. I was just about calmed down when one of the partners stopped by my door, looking fresh and cool in a sports shirt and khakis. “Just checking,” he said. “Checking?” “Yeah — just wanted to make sure that you’re actually wearing a suit today, even though it’s going to be 98 degrees!” He walked away laughing. July 16 I had no choice about wearing a suit today. I had scheduled lunch with an acquaintance of mine who needed some legal counsel. This was a business lunch — my suit and I were rainmaking! At the restaurant (which was nicely air-conditioned) the hostess smiled and asked: “would you like to sit inside or outside?” I began to say something like “are you nuts — inside!” but I deferred to my friend. “It’s such a nice day,” she said, smoothing out her sun dress, “why don’t we eat outside?” “Why not?” I whimpered. The (prospective) client is always right. We had lunch under the cruel afternoon sun; I ordered a salad with Coppertone SPF 40 on the side. It turned out that my friend’s legal problems did not match up with my firm’s practice areas, so there was no rainmaking after all. I considered taking a celebratory spin on the 6 Train, but I had work to do. Back at the office, I continued working on the brief. This was my first draft, and, like most first drafts, it was probably longer than it needed to be. The hardest part of writing a brief is taking complicated issues and boiling them down to concise paragraphs. It reminded me of that famous line of Mark Twain’s: “If I had had more time I would have written a shorter letter.” Around 5 p.m. I brought the draft to the junior partner with whom I’m working. I set it down on his desk with, cleared my throat, straightened my tie and said: “if I’d had more time, I’d have written a shorter brief.” Silence. “Mark Twain,” I explained. “Maybe you should loosen the tie?” July 24 Still working on that brief. I was at my desk, hiding behind a stack of treatises, wondering how the brief had got even longer than it was on the first draft. There were new arguments, expanded citations, and footnotes with their own Library of Congress number. The junior partner dropped subtle hints (“Do you think you can make it shorter this time, Mr. Twain?”), and I knew there was hard work ahead. But at least I was still wearing a suit. After all, you never know when you might need to run to court for an emergency TRO. A summer associate came to my office to report on some research. She handed me a couple of cases and said: “I was wondering why you’re wearing a suit. Do you have to go to court or something?” “No,” I said cheerfully, “but one of these days, I will have to go to court, and I’ll be ready! Just think about that!” “I will,” she said, and backed away from my desk, slowly. Adam Freedman is a senior associate at Schulte Roth & Zabel.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.