Friday, May 07, 2004

There are a lot of things I'm terrible at, like being a decent human being, but one thing I'm excellent at is remembering people's birthdays. It fools people around here into thinking I have a heart. I'll go up to an assistant and wish her a happy birthday, and she'll tell me I'm one day off, but she's shocked I even remember the vicinity. Sometimes it's the doughnuts-and-coffee we do at the firm -- I'll just remember what day we had it for a particular person, and it'll stick. Or if someone tells me once, I've just got it there forever, and it's easy. Names of wives (and husbands) and children too. It shocks people. It's like a party trick. "How's Roberto and Juanita?" I might ask, if we actually had any Hispanic lawyers at the firm, and their eyes would open wide and ask me how I possibly could remember that when they can't even remember ever talking to me before. It's just something I'm good at. It fools clients too. But it especially fools summer associates. If I bring up something from our interview, or even just something from the resume that I remember reading although we never talked about it, they think I care, and that I took the time to remember them, and that they must be special. But, nah, it's just my party trick. "How'd the year at the law school newspaper finish up?" "You remember?" "Of course I remember, Sam. I remember everything we talked about. You're quite an impressive student. I'm glad to have you aboard this summer." "Thanks, I appreciate that." "Now I know that another partner's got you working on that fascinating research assignment, but I was hoping I could steal you away for a half a day to help me track down a piece of paper that's somewhere in a big room full of boxes. I picked you especially because of that newspaper experience -- I know journalists are especially good at uncovering the story, and I'm sure you're one of the best. So what do you say you log out of Westlaw, help me out, and I'll take you out for a reimbursable lunch later on this week?"

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