15 November 1999
A conversation overhead at Eurodisney between Jack Pratchard, Tom Henderson and Rodney Bickerthwaite, the Firm's new director of business coordination, strategy, development and coordinated strategic development.
Pratchard: It's such a good idea to come to Eurodisney. It's so young and dynamic and exciting
Henderson: Yes, it was a good idea to hold the Law Society conference here.
Pratchard: Conference? There's a conference on? Ooooh, Tom look! It's Dumbo. Can I have a ride? Can I? Please.
Henderson: No, that's Michael Napier.
Pratchard: Silly me. That's Dumbo over there.
Henderson: Closer. That's Robert Sayer. He was In The Psychiatrist's Chair earlier on saying that the only way to get things done was to shout. He said: "You can't be Mr Nice Guy all the time." Or indeed ever in his case. He's moved into The Pyschiatrist's Van now. He should be arriving at The Psychiatrist's Hospital for his own safety very soon.
Bickerthwaite: Christ. They'll need a bloody big van. Eurodisney. What a waste o' money. If they wanted a fun family conference what's wrong with the Barnsley World of Coal? For five bob you get a tour of the pits, all the coal you can slip in yer pockets, and a slap-up meal of pie, peas and a pint. They feed the cows on shite over 'ere yer know. If you have the beef stew, don't lick the plate. That's not gravy.
Henderson: This is a great opportunity to discuss issues affecting the profession. Jack, what concerns you most?
Pratchard: Delay. The amount of time I waste due to silly backlog. We need to get the whole machine working faster.
Henderson: Well what about this Woolf reform seminar?
Pratchard: Aaaahhh! There's a wolf here. I was complaining about queueing for this ride. The Decimator. Apparently it's more unpleasant than a sauna with Robert Sayer.
Henderson: Bloody hell. Well, Rodney, this conference is a great opportunity to meet people, make contacts. Look, there's a delegation of Parisian in-house lawyers. Use a bit of that marketing magic we're paying you so handsomely for.
Bickerthwaite: I've made my views on talking to people quite clear. We've a saying in Yorkshire - don't talk to strangers, they're probably wankers. Boycott wouldn't go swanning in with a "hiya darling" here and a continental-style kiss there. He'd craft a marketing opportunity built on unflamboyant defence. A mumbled "hello", a grudging nod of the head. It may take years at the crease but, by christ, we'd deserve the contract at the end of it.
Henderson: Have you done any marketing since you joined?
Bickerthwaite: Yes. I borrowed an idea from SJ Berwin. They've been sending out Christmas cards warning clients of the dangers of sexual harassment in the party season - to drum up trade. Look at this: Happy Christmas. And remember if you are having a few drinks, make sure you drive home. Pints sharpen the reflexes. Love, The Firm. We'll have more compensation claims to defend than we could shake a stump at come January.
Henderson: I like the way your mind works.
Pratchard: Tom! They won't let me on the Decimator. A Frenchman said I wasn't tall enough.
Henderson: Don't worry. Cheer yourself up. Look at that funny Mickey Mouse outfit.
Pratchard: Ha, ha. That's better. I didn't even know Simmons & Simmons were over here.
Henderson: I think that's enough Disney/legal personality confusions for one week. Come on Jack, it's a long drive and we've got a lot of cheap booze and asylum seekers to smuggle back. Well you don't think I actually came for the conference?