Friday, June 18, 2010
The Faithful Following
When I started working for Walter, I was the first person in the office, which suited me fine. I could get some of my work done before the insanity of the day began. Because once Walter walked in and the faithful started their pilgrimage, you never knew what would unfold.
One memorable morning, one of the partners walked in my office. "I just wanted to let you know that the partners met last night and after some discussions, Walter decided to leave the firm." I was shocked, but not really surprised. Walter's unconvential way of practicing law always flew in the face of the way the firm operated. The only thing that sustained their toleration was the amount of business he generated, and the fact that he was the first associate the Speaker and his late partner had hired. I always assumed as long as the Speaker was alive, Walter had a free pass.
"But, I hope that you will stay and continue to work with us," the attorney went on to say. "I assume Walter is going to want you to work with him. Of course that is your choice, but I personally wanted to let you know, you still have a place here." I thanked him and he left. Well, I thought to myself, this adds another wheel to the wagon.
Sure enough, about ten minutes later Walter called to confirm what his former partner had already told me. "I need you out here." "Where is here?" "The farm." "Are you thinking about what you are going to do?" I asked. "Hell no! I'm working. I need you to bring some things from my office. What did you think I was going to do?" "Just tell me what you need and I'll be right out there."
When I got to the farm, I found Walter in his office which was in the horse barn. He didn't seemed phased. I didn't ask any questions. When I handed him the papers, he started asking questions and giving me a list of things I needed to do. "Wait a minute," I said. "Are you hiring me? Do you have any money? You can't work out of a horse barn." "Sweetheart. Of course, I'm hiring you. You don't want to stay with those jack asses do you?" "Well, no." "I called Charlie at the bank this morning, I have a business account set-up for my new firm, I called the printer to get some stationary, and you and I have to meet with the realtor in ten minutes." These were details handled by a man who just two days ago, couldn't manage his dry cleaning. I was impressed.
By 10:30 that morning Walter's new firm was in business and we had a new address. The only issue he had to deal with was Mary's edict that he was not to see any of his clients on the farm. They could wait a day until he had an office. (I always knew she was bright. She knew better than to let him start holding court on her front porch.) I was a little concerned about the financial standing of the new firm, but sometimes you just have to have faith.
The next morning I drove up to the new office and there in the parking lot were several cars. The faithful had followed. And, some I recognized - the Gleatons for one. I parked in the back and walked into Walter's office. "Why are the Gleatons out there?" I asked. "Probably because I won't make them wear shoes." Walter said with a big grin as he went to the door to invite everyone in.
Sure enough when the Gleatons showed up at the old firm and found out that Walter was no longer there, they weren't that impressed with Terry. They left and it didn't take them long to find Walter. Our first order of business was a letter to old firm informing them that the Gleatons had requested that Walter represent them as sole counsel. Walter had me personally deliver it to Terry.