20 January 2003
Pausing only to remark that property lawyers are rubbish at Monopoly because they never want to buy anything, although they're happy to advise, and plonking three hotels down on Mayfair, thus bankrupting his younger daughter, he said he needed a theme for his speech. To make it exciting. "Project lawyers," he said, "need a lot of exciting."
The children thought hard. "How about Barbie?" asked Liability. "You can have a lot of fun with her."
To do him credit he kept a straight face, and merely said that Barbie had little experience in project finance procurement, even if the price of her new Palace of Pink luxury duplex with swimming pool had meant her switching to a tracker mortgage.
"Football?" said Deminimus, but the Lawyer thought that the analogy of small, ill-advised teams teetering on the brink of insolvency, while bloated magic circle players drove Ferraris, was too upsetting for delicate project solicitors.
"You can't go wrong with pop music," said Subjudice, finally. "You know, like having a theme tune for project lawyers. Even solicitors must have listened to the charts once upon a time."
"Maybe," said the Lawyer, who doesn't give anything away if he can charge double time for it.
"Now, projects," continued Subjudice. "That's a whole load of people getting together and agreeing to do something, isn't it?"
"Well, I wouldn't put it that simplistically," said the Lawyer, who has to justify his charge-out fee somehow.
"Well, you could always have Gotta Get Thru This by Daniel Bedingfield," she said.
"No, that's law generally," said the Lawyer.
"I've got it! All Together Now by The Farm."
"That sounds more like the theme tune for human resources - they're having terrible trouble with compulsory trade union recognition," said the Lawyer. "What is it about projects? Divorce law - easy: Me and Mrs Jones, 'we got a thing going on' - and there's your evidence of adultery, there's your decree nisi, sign here, kerching! And personal injury is a doddle: for a start, all pop songs are about breaking your heart, which is an instant six-figure compensation case. And what about Pink, Just Like A Pill - 'instead of making me better, you're making me ill'. Class action there. Although they'd probably go with Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word, given the choice. Ooh, I'm on a roll here," he continued, as Subjudice furtively moved the Mayfair hotels on to Regent Street.
"And you'd have The Boss for IP lawyers: 'He's making a list, he's checking it twice' - that's blatant disregard for the Data Protection Act. Then there's Why Not Take All Of Me - ah, the blessed St Francis; it's practically the theme song for the competition department. Still nothing for projects, though."
"How about I Want To Make It With You?" suggested Subjudice, who got Kylie's Fever for Christmas.
"More corporate, probably," said the Lawyer. "They'll get into bed with anyone."
"Bob the Builder," shouted Liability suddenly.
"Don't be ridiculous," said the Lawyer. "He wears a hard hat. We wear suits. Nothing in common."
"No, but he can fix it," said our youngest, bouncing up and down.
"Hmm," mused the Lawyer. "Can we fix it? Yes we can.' Do you know, I don't think you'd find a better theme tune for PFI if you tried."