Volume 10, Issue 4
Diary, if there’s one thing I’ve learned during my clerkships, it’s this: time is money.
This little golden nugget of knowledge was imparted to me during the overture of the firm’s training period. I sat in noble attention as I was instructed that lawyers aren’t used, they are utilised. The distinction, I believe, diary, is one worth noting. One mustn’t restrict one’s ambitions to being merely useful — anyone can be that; one must instead be utilisable. This is a measure of one’s ability to be used usefully; or as I came to think of it, usefulability. And towards what virtuous purpose was this capacity put? Making money.
I leapt through the rest of the training with this idea as the bedrock for all future learnings, and was ready to put it into practice when, on my first day, I hit the floor. (Fear not, diary: this is not meant in any troubling sense; consider it akin to striding forth valiantly across the battlefield of one’s dreams. Similarly, it could be said that I was ‘on the floor’, which may hold more appeal to those more accustomed to seeing the world from such a vantage point.)
Allow me to cut to the chase: I was ready to perform the alchemy that would transubstantiate time into currency, and display the full breadth of my utilisability. I was peppered with tasks, but responded with aplomb. At the end of the day, I was given a timesheet to fill out, recounting my day’s travails — a chance to prove my usefulability!
The objet d’art trembled in my hand, as if I was some nervous child invited to fondle Rodin’s The Thinker. I took in some contemplation myself, and began crafting a statuesque response. The requirements of the form appeared perennially achievable — record the who, the when and the what of my afternoon’s work. I committed it to memory thus: QQQ; Qui, Quand, Quoi.
Qui? — delightfully simple! — when I closed my eyes I saw an elegant and rapacious sort of fellow; the kind of legal fiction with whom one could percolate over a glass of Moët et Chandon. The kind of legal person as at home in the Australia Club as any natural person. What I mean to say is this: the big ‘C’. The Client.
My hand, in a determined act, then traced its way to the when. Though time had felt divorced from any sense in which Mr Einstein may have recognised it, I knew that I had, in fact, spent several hours of mortal concentration upon my tasks. This was duly recorded.
Now only to land the final somersault. And, like the legal gymnast I was learning to be, I had saved the best for last. My pen tore across the page, contorting and twisting as it went. This complete, I, too, tore across the floor. I left the page resting on the desk of my redoubtable secretary.
Having erected my flag so positively thus, I turned to leave, flushed with victory.
Just then a voice rang out behind me, like the seven trumpets of the commercial Christ blithely proclaiming the apocalypse:
“But you’ve only written ‘Capitalism’ here.”
Mon Dieu! — had I erred? I had been taught to be terse; clear; direct. It seemed to my higher faculties that this distillation of activities had captured the pure essence of motion.
Fearing the worst, I turned my body into an oncoming wave of noise. It echoed loudly as it washed against the hollow walls of that sacrosanct place, enveloping all present.
It was laughter!
If one were to have frozen the panorama before me, one’s eye would have invariably noted the following: Lawyers, two, heads thrown back, horse shoe mouths agape; Graduate, one, on the floor, having vacated their chair in some freak accident; Papers and documents, innumerable, flying through the air as if having been tossed with abandon.
Their ad-libbed soundtrack decrescendoed to a speaking volume and one of the lawyers turned to me and said, through face stained with tears:
“That’s it! That’s exactly what we did!”
Razor’s edge is a third-year JD student currently looking for graduate opportunities
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