The Firm

Minutes of a marketing strategy meeting at The Firm attended by Jack Pratchard, Tom Henderson and Rodney Bickerthwaite, the new director of business coordination, strategy, development and coordinated strategic development.

Pratchard: Marketing is very important. According to this survey firms spend £2,900 per fee earner on it. But I just can't keep up with the latest developments. A year ago the boffins proved lower case was best, now Nabarros is fading out Nathanson. Pure genius.

Henderson: I think our problem is more simple. In the last year we've had 3,905 negative newspaper articles. Even our recruitment ads get edited in a negative way. Look: "Corporate lawyer, three years qualified. Excellent pay… oh, actually it's The Firm. Don't bother. Believe me, you're better off turning the page." And every two weeks memos of our meetings get leaked to The Lawyer. They appear verbatim on the back page.

Pratchard: What's Ms La Croix in marketing got to say about this?

Henderson: I'm afraid we've had to let her go. Her global overview of marketing didn't reflect the aims of The Firm.

Pratchard: Wait a second, weren't you knobbing her?

Henderson: Up until last week, yes. Coincidentally, she ended our relationship half an hour before I sacked her. Anyway, may I introduce Rodney Bickerthwaite.

Bickerthwaite: Ay up you great southern nancy. Bickerthwaite from Huddersfield. You can always tell a Yorkshireman, but you can't tell 'im much. By 'eck man, what's up? You've a face like a slapped arse.

Pratchard: Give him what he wants Tom. I don't want him to hurt us!

Henderson: Rodney's our new marketing manager.

Bickerthwaite: You're wrong lad. I'm director of business coordination, strategy, development and coordinated strategic development. Rule one: Get the facts right you twin-breast-suited-silk-shirted poofter. I say what I like and I like whatever I bloody well say. I didn't learn my skills on some poncey polytechnic MBA course. My knowledge was chiselled from the cobbled streets of Huddersfield. I have only one mentor in life – the greatest thinker of this generation.

Pratchard: Surely he's not talking about Alan Hodgart?

Bickerthwaite: No son. Geoffrey Boycott. Rule two: Never hit a four when a straight-bat defensive push will do. Rule three: You don't hit a century, you earn it. What I'm saying is, your image problems come from your flashy misplaced openness. Rule four: Never, ever, ever, ever, talk to the press.

Pratchard: What if we have some good news to announce?

Bickerthwaite: Straight bat. No comment. Let's practice. Phone me up.

Pratchard: Erm, hello. This is the Solicitor's Journal. Is that the business coordination, strategy, development director?

Bickerthwaite: NO! Get it right. I'm director of business coordination, strategy, development and coordinated strategic development. Now what the chuffing 'ell do you want.

Pratchard: Can I have a comment on your excellent profits?

Bickerthwaite: No you fucking well can't. And if you even try to contact a partner at The Firm I'll come down there and break your bastard legs. AM I MAKING MYSELF CLEAR? And I want my name on that. Rodney Bickerthwaite.

At this point Mr Pratchard's PA informs him that Mrs Pratchard is on line one.

Bickerthwaite: I'll take this. From now on all partner calls are put through to me. Mrs Pratchard? What do you want? Jack Pratchard? No, he doesn't work here. Never heard of him. Now never phone this number again. I know where you live.

Pratchard: Tom. If I sent some flowers to Ms La Croix, do you think you two could patch things up?