Richard Tayshon’s cell phone rings at 5:45 a.m. It’s Monday, and the boss must already need something.
“Hello, Dick? Sorry to call so early, but we’ve got a huge week ahead of us. Can you give me a run-down of my appointments today?”
Dick is the legal secretary at Take, Money & Run, a prestigious law firm downtown. While the pay is good – and the benefit of free legal representation if needed an excellent bonus – his boss and the head of the firm, Benjamin Daniels Take, tends toward the demanding side.
Dick begins to outline Ben’s meetings for the day.
“So, you have a nine o’clock patrimony suit meeting. Remember your client claims that the father is and always has been the mayor, and is looking for support. Good luck with that one. At ten you have brunch with your client who is looking to draw up a watertight will to be sure his kids don’t see any of his millions.”
A consistent thumping interrupts the conversation.
“Ben, what’s that noise?”
“It’s the treadmill. I walk four miles at the gym each morning before I take a cab to the office. Got to keep the cholesterol levels down.”
“But you live four miles from the office.”
“I don’t see the connection. Listen, when you get to the office today, you’ll see a stack of potential cases on your desk. I want you to find the case labeled ‘Couch v. Hungry Time’. The claimant, Mr. Couch, has been eating a Hungry Time frozen dinner every night for the last decade. His last medical check-up showed his arteries were as hard as the green beans and pretty much full of gravy. Claims he wasn’t aware the dinners were bad for him, and now he’s suing for big bucks. I need you to do some research for me. Check Hungry Time’s labeling, see if there are any similar cases we can find to establish precedent. We want something that shows that Hungry Time disregarded Mr. Couch’s health when they sold him the dinners.”
“Listen, Mr. Take, I will do the research, but isn’t this similar to the case of Mr. Cough v. Nica-light Cigarettes? Didn’t they rule that Mr. Cough should have read the warning on the label?”
“That’s true, Dick, but here’s the thing: cigarettes aren’t food. We may be able to show that Mr. Couch, unlike Mr. Cough, needed to eat something and Hungry Time’s Beefy Porklet Pies were the only complete meal he could afford. Find me the precedent; I’ll be at the office at eleven sharp.”
Richard rolls out of bed and gets ready for the day. He makes a brief stop at the office where a mountain of files balances precariously on his desk. His personality prevents him from leaving them until they are neatly organized and stored in their proper places. Assiduous organization may slow him down at times, but it’s also why he was hired, and why he’s slowly moved up the ranks at the firm to office manager.
The next stop is the firm’s library, where stacks and stacks of legal encyclopedias like American Jurisprudence and Corpus Juris Secundum loom over dusty card catalogs. Luckily, Richard has just stopped by to get his laptop charger, as he does all of his legal research using online databases. The library smells nice, though. Many leather bound books.
Two hours of poring through past trials and he has stacks of notes for Mr. Take to review. With hope, there is a nugget of information lodged in those notes that will win the case before a nugget of apple crumble lodged in Mr. Couch makes the point moot.
After his meeting with Mr. Take, Richard begins to check today’s remaining tasks off his list. The incoming mail must be opened and sorted, with any confidential information sent through the firm’s secure delivery system.
Next, Richard composes two letters to clients written from notes Mr. Take has left for him, and then tackles the filing for the day. The boss and the other partners bluster in and out throughout the day, looking for missing information or misplaced files, but Richard always knows where to look.
As the afternoon draws to a close, Mr. Tayshon checks in on the other Administrative Assistants to see if they need, well, assistance. Everything seems to be in order, so Richard wraps it up for the day.
On the way home his cell phone rings again, and Richard answers, knowing it is Mr. Take.
“Dick, just want to say you did it. Excellent work, you found the precedent to prove Hungry Time has got to pay. Seems that in 1994 a client sued and won a huge settlement from Salti-Snax, claiming that she didn’t know the snack’s 96% salt content would damage her arteries. We’ve got this one in the bag!”
Richard hangs up, knowing his skills are partially responsible for the win.