Volume 9, Issue 7
It was a dark and stormy night outside Lawtopia, but inside, the automatic sensor lights lit the office like a Nespresso store. Looking out the window, I pondered the contrast between the shifting seasons beyond the walls of the tower and the eternal daytime of Finance within. I sipped my fresh latte for a solitary minute of peace. Then, with a smile, I began to type some notes about the well-bound Draft Contract that I was reviewing - and looked around furtively.
Had anyone noticed my brief moment of absent-mindedness? That for a moment I had taken an unplanned break? I feared deeply that I broken the first rule of Lawtopia - Stay Buzzed, Stay Working.
Suddenly, I heard a merry voice behind me. It was Senior Associate Smiles, whom I knew to be a Chambers-Ranked Lawyer in his field. I scanned his face for any cue that he had observed my flagrant breach of Lawtopia work policy. Nothing obvious, nothing that said "I know your secret". Just an excited, vigorous smile. Phew.
"Oh, hello, Sir!" I piped up jovially, "What can I do you for?"
"Well," said Smiles, in a ringing, happy voice "Do you have an hour or two to look over a Very Significant Document, and make some minor changes?"
I looked up fervently, pushing to one side the Draft Contract that I was reviewing. "Of course!"
Smiles kindly said that if I had too much work, I did not need to help. "Isn't it rather late?"
For a brief moment, I thought about saying that I did have too much work, that there was a dinner I could still make if I left right, right now, now. However, I remembered the second rule of Lawtopia - Bee Essential to the Hive.
"Not a problem, Sir! I am only here at 7 pm because I have so many coffee dates with Lawyers Who Like Me between 9-5! I would love some more experience reviewing Very Significant Documents!"
Smiles chuckled - a deep chuckle that made me think he was drunk with the merriment of our conversation. "You busy little bee. I was just like you 20,000 billable hours ago. God the clerkship process was easy back then."
“I heard you did 20,000 billable hours in your first five years, Sir,” I piped up, “So much effort really almost entitles you to be a Chambers-Ranked Lawyer!”
“Well, I am a leader in my field,” conceded Smiles smugly. He paused to emphasise that he would not have brought this up on his own and had no idea what to say next, perhaps not wishing to seem too eager to acknowledge his brilliance.
“I think that’s something I love about Lawtopia,” I said, “Everyone seems so eager to succeed, and there’s so many amazing people. I feel like I would love for a chance to be here, even if I don’t quite fit in.”
“Ah, you’re so brilliant yourself,” retorted Smiles with a gigantic smile, “When I was your age I had done absolutely nothing worth mentioning, apart from winning a few Dean’s Prizes for being top of my class, doing a bit on the Law Review and winning the odd international Jessup Moot. Kids these days are just brilliant.”
At this point in the conversation I felt really dirty, as if I had just performed fellatio on someone who was 20,000 billable hours old. Maybe Ranked Lawyers could set aside their ego and the total belief in the Lawtopian paradise to see blatant flattery. I furtively looked at Smiles to see if he had noticed. I sighed with relief: Smiles looked happy, perhaps feeling pleasure at the opportunity to recount his success with a lowly clerk.
Grinning widely, Smiles then handed me the Very Significant Document, and continued his way busily down the floor towards some kind of secondary hive, where a group of people worked late on some important, secret project.
I rejoiced in the peaceful hum of Lawtopia once again, grateful for this opportunity to demonstrate my etiquette and “commerciality” to Smiles and to read Very Significant Documents. I surreptitiously texted my deserted dinner companions: "Reviewing Very Significant Document. Don't wait dinner." I felt a bit guilty for ditching them. However, this feeling of guilt went away quite quickly – perhaps due to ethical fading, as Lawtopia taught me to rationalize problems away.
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