Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I was attacked by an associate again, hence the delay in posting. I wrote a series of posts on pad and paper while I was recuperating, and I will have my secretary backfill those in later this week. So there will be new content for five or six of the past ten days to catch up on, don't worry. This associate (we'll call him Chadwick, though that's not his real name) was upset about a recent assignment that would take him out of the country over the week he had requested off for his wedding in addition to the birth of his child. He had put in the request six months ago, when he simultaneously proposed to his girlfriend and learned that a different woman was pregnant with his child. He asked us to keep his situation private, since his girlfriend was unaware of the pregnancy, and the pregnant woman was unaware of the girlfriend. Unfortunately, due to a clerical error, the information about the reason for his week off ended up printed in the firm's newsletter.

It's not as strange as that sounds. We have a policy of listing in the newsletter each month every day that an associate was absent from work and the stated (or unstated) reason. We find that it discourages frivolous vacation-taking. Last month, for example, there were three associates who took time off. So in the newsletter, we listed [name redacted], one day off due to giving birth; [name redacted], one day off due to brother's funeral; [name redacted], one day off due to hysterectomy. And this month, Chadwick was listed in the newsletter: "one week scheduled off due to wedding to one woman and birth of child by another." The newsletters are sent to the home addresses, and Chadwick's fiancee read the newsletter one night when Chadwick was at the office, was understandably surprised, and came to the office to confront him. When she did, he stormed into my office, upset the information had been revealed. I was pleased to see him, because I had been looking for him earlier in the day to tell him that in fact he would be unable to take that week off, because we needed to send him to Peru for some document discovery. That's when he grabbed my letter opener off my desk and stabbed it into my arm.

Obviously the brutal attack did not go unpunished. Chadwick is awaiting a court date, and I'll have the only person at the firm who's ever actually tried a case in court handling the whole affair for me. I expect some punitive damages, of course, although the unfortunate part of the story is that because Chadwick was editor-in-chief of his law school's Law Review, and clerked for a prominent circuit court judge, he will have no difficulty finding employment at a competitor firm despite the criminal record. The good news (for Chadwick) is that the baby turned out just fine, and his fiancee is still going through with the wedding, despite the infidelity and the criminal charges, undoubtedly because Chadwick stands to earn a fair bit of money at whichever competitor firm does decide to hire him after this whole ordeal.

I thought this would make for a happy Valentine's Day story to warm everyone's heart. Have a terrific Valentine's Day, and try to be responsible and cancel your restaurant reservations as soon as you realize you're going to have to work through the night instead of waiting until it's too late for the restaurant to fill the table with someone off the waiting list. All the best for the holiday.

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