Under Analysis: I read the news today. Oh boy.

By Spencer Farris

The Levison Group

As I write my column this weekend, the grass is a little less green, the sky a bit less blue. The air is not as fresh as last week, my favorite Easter crème egg is once again off store shelves. This year, I beat the system by buying extra eggs and freezing them. They lasted about three days — not ruined from freezer burn but  thawed and eaten too quickly. I am in an egg induced sugar haze.

In times like this, focusing on my law practice is difficult. Luckily, there are reader letters to answer, so my column will not suffer for my gluttony.

We at the Levison Towers often get letters asking what a typical day in the office is like. Sometimes these letters are a bit skeptical that such an idyllic workplace even exists. Take for example this letter from Paul in Walrus Head, Iowa:

Dear Spencer,
You are our favorite ‘Under Analysis’ columnist. Sometimes at my office, we wonder if the Levison Towers even exist. Can you tell us what a typical day is like?
Paul in Walrus Head, Iowa

With Paul in mind I’ve been walking around the Towers, clipboard in hand.

8:15: Arrive at work early. Staff isn’t here yet which means it is still quiet. It also means there’s no coffee. I attempt to operate the coffee pot.

8:17: Clean up the mess at the coffee pot.

8:31: Run downstairs to the coffee shop.

8:41: Shuffle papers feverishly looking for lost notes for this week’s column. Notice the docket sheet with a 10 o’clock settlement conference that I agreed to cover.

9:16: Curse and find the file.

9:18: Run to the courthouse. It is of course when I am in the greatest hurry that security is the slowest. Evidently April is “target middle-aged anxious looking men month” as prime terror suspects and security risks. Although as a husband and father of two teenagers, I have plenty of reasons to go crazy, today is not the day.

I dash upstairs to the courtroom and begin frantically looking for my opponent. He has not yet arrived. A call to his office is followed by another anxious looking middle-aged man dashing into the courtroom about 15 minutes later. He and I agree to reschedule this matter and work out our meager differences. My coffee by now has gotten cold.

10:31: Make a second trip to the coffee shop. Assure the young lady behind the counter that I am not a caffeine addict.

10:46: Return to my office. A group of law clerks and young associates has gathered at the water cooler, discussing the rule in Shelley’s case. I laugh loudly that   I once dated Shelley. Group disperses.

11:02: Announcement comes over the intercom that the firm has new pads and an important announcement for the firm. Could these really be the new Apple devices I have been craving? I hurry down the hall to Mr. Kramer’s office, not really believing my ears. I shouldn’t have believed my ears. Mr. Kramer is announcing to the gathered group that the firm is finally getting rid of 8.5 x 14 inch “legal” writing pads in favor of standard 8.5 by 11 inch pads. We are only fifteen years behind the rest of the legal world, but he believes this announcement is momentous.

I am obviously crestfallen. When he asks why, I tell him that I was expecting an iPad. Thinking for a moment, Mr. Kramer draws a capital “I” on the pad and slides it across the table to me. He laughs loudly. I disperse.

11:59: Head out to lunch.

12:35: Arrive at The Lunch Bucket. My wallet did not make the trip. Borrow five dollars from Ms. St. Germain — the exact cost of the salad she thinks I need.

1:16: The mail has arrived. It is the usual drivel. Objections to form discovery. Letters requesting additional time to answer discovery. Letters telling me my answers to discovery are late.

2:37: A client calls. It is a surprise to hear from this client, as she never calls. Her case involves a horrible injury with substantial damages. Typically, these are the clients I hear from least. Maybe it is because these clients have too much on their minds to call their lawyer and ask about the lawsuit.

3:13: Review the calendar for tomorrow’s docket. I’ve learned that if I review tomorrow’s docket earlier enough the day before, there is less panic to prepare for the tasks ahead. 3:13 the day before may not be early enough.

3:14: Panic.

3:15 I noticed that my assistant has laid everything for tomorrow on the table, neatly organized and collated.

3: 16: Relax.

3:17: Review legal newspapers and new appellate court cases. In the old days, lawyers “read the law” rather than taking the bar exam. The bar exam seems easier. Now there are 10 times as many appellate decisions to keep up with, as well as the ever growing body of federal law. My mind begins to drift. I think about a fishing trip I took recently. I am once again hip deep in the cold stream. A huge trout grasps my line. The sky becomes dark and a thunderclap overhead startles me.

4:25: I awake to a knock on my door. I wipe the drool from the newspaper and attempt to hide the newsprint on the side of my face. My assistant comes in to see if there’s anything I need before she leaves. I can only think that I need my dignity which she can’t give me back at this point.

There you have it Paul, a typical day in the Levison Towers. I hope it was just as glamorous as you expected.

Under Analysis is a nationally syndicated column of the Levison Group. Spencer Farris is the founding partner of The S.E. Farris Law Firm in St. Louis, Missouri. The title of this piece is a reference to “A Day in the Life”  by the Beatles. My apologies to the Beatles. Comments or criticisms about this column may be sent to this newspaper or directly to the Levison Group via e-mail at comments@levisongroup.com. © 2010 Under Analysis L.L.C.

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