The Firm

Henderson: You know, I've been thinking about The Firm's image. To an outsider, we must come across as absurd caricatures, so for once I've decided we should do things properly, act with a bit of class. For example, this ABA conference. We should show our US cousins the rich history of The Firm.

Pratchard: Hence The British Library?

Henderson: Young Pinochet, you're quicker than Jack Straw with a tailwind. I mean, these documents show that we were instrumental in the abolition of slavery. Appeal after appeal we lodged but eventually those bastards did away with it. Anyway, it's time to make a cultured impression.

Pratchard: So where do you want me?

Henderson: In this cupboard if you don't mind.

Weisenshnucker VI: Mr Henderson, I'm Theodore Buckwheat Weisenshnucker VI of Weisenshnucker Bratweizel Rama Lama Ding Dong, Chicago, Illinois visiting London, England for the ABA conference. This is my colleague Simpson H Coucous Bratweizel Jnr also visiting London, England.

Henderson: A pleasure. Before a tour of some of our finest legal archives, perhaps a glass of Chardonnay?

Weisenshnucker: No, we'll stick with this authentic English ale the guys at A&O sold us. It was brewed by 13th century monks at the Carling Black Label monastery.

Henderson: Carling Black Label? I'm not sure that's authentic…

Weisenshnucker: And I guess this £500 print of "London at night" isn't real either?

Henderson: It's just a black postcard. You can get them anywhere. Who sold it to you?

Weisenshnucker: It was the fellas at Freshfields. We'd seen William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet at the Globe, London, England – rip-off of West Side Story if you ask me. Then they took us to the very diner where King Arthur proposed to Guenevere – Pret a Manger. We were even seated at… a round table. You see at Arthur's palace of Camelot, England…

Henderson: Yeah, I get it. What else have you done?

Weisenshnucker: We saw a re-enactment of the trial of Henry VIII. He had six wives, killed two of them, divorced another couple and all the while had a string of affairs and dozens of illegitimate children…

Henderson: I guess that event must have had some intellectual merit…

Weisenshnucker: Judge Springer thought so. The best bit was when he brought out the actual Cardinal Wolsey who was waiting backstage…

Henderson: Cardinal Wolsey? It wasn't him.

Weisenshnucker: Yeah right. And Sherlock Holmes wasn't a founding partner of Herbert Smith. I tell you, if I ever get my hands on that sonofabitch Moriarty…

Henderson: Mr Weisenshnucker, all of this is just tacky tourist exploitation by normally right-thinking City firms. I don't quite know how this happened but The Firm seems to be the only voice of sanity in this sea of schmuck. It's like a parallel universe or something. Anyway, our tour of The British Library…

Weisenshnucker: I think I'm a bit worn out after all the fun I've been having. Besides, I've got to sort out the paperwork for the millions of pounds of referrals I've decided to hand to Freshfields, A&O and Herbert Smith…

Henderson: As I was saying, our tour of The British Library is cancelled. Instead I thought we'd visit Ye Olde British Library O' Horrors. Did you know King George III who fought your lot in the War of Independence went utterly mad? As a punishment he was locked in this cupboard…

Pratchard: Hello there!

the lawyer 31 july 2000