23 August 1999
Minutes of a recent meeting at The Firm between Jack Pratchard, Tom Henderson, Big Tosh from security and some overseas guests.
Pratchard: You know me, Tom. I have a strategic vision for The Firm which has seen us through this far. We copy what all the other firms are doing. If it's good enough for the Herberts it's good enough for the Firmsters. But I have to object to this latest merger madness. Americans of all people! I'd rather French-kiss a German. We don't need those damned colonials. English law rules the world and as long as the British control all the world's main shipping routes the sun will never set on Queen Victoria's glorious empire.
Henderson: The United States is now the biggest market in the world.
Pratchard: Poppycock. You'll be telling me next Disraeli's given away India.
Henderson: Jack. Do you know what year it is?
Pratchard: Err. No.
Henderson: Look, we have to face reality. If we want to challenge the chancers on the international stage we need a foothold in the US. We could set up our own office but we tried that in Hull and it didn't really work. So we have to try and merge. The good news is London is teeming with yanks desperate to find a partner. It's a bit embarrassing. They're talking to everyone including City firms, the Camden Law Centre and Wilde Sapte.
Pratchard: Good God, is this true?
Henderson: Well, all except Wilde Sapte. That was a little joke. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. But seriously, what objections do you have to these people?
Pratchard: For a start these yanks have been poaching our best people for years. Remember that brilliant assistant we had? They lured him away by doubling his salary. They paid him u50,000. Crazy money. He was only five years qualified. Then there are the cultural differences. They say to-may-to. We say to-mar-to. They say dollars. We say pounds. These people don't even know how to play cricket. Ask them to explain how leg below waist works and they go blank. And, most importantly, they've all got ridiculously long names. Firms should be called The Firm or something similarly short. Not Fried Frank Harris Shriver Jacobsen Crosby Stills & Nash. That's not a law firm. It's a rugby team. And finally, I never trusted a man called Buck, Chuck, Chad or Bubba.
Henderson: Well, I've invited a couple up for a chat. I asked Big Tosh here to join us as "cultural liaison". He served as a mercenary in Vietnam.
Pratchard: I never knew that Tosh. What was...
Big Tosh: Shut up man. You don't know cos you weren't there!
Henderson: You see. He even talks like an American. Ah, here they are. May I introduce Bradford J Weisenmeiker III and Dwight T Kordonsky Jnr IV.
Weisenmeiker III: Hey, we're all friends. Just call us Brad and Chuck. We're here representing Weisenmeiker Kordonsky Bachman Turner Overdrive Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini. We're part of a new wave of West Coast firms looking to expand into Europe. Please accept this gift from the people of San Francisco.
Pratchard: What is it?
Henderson: I believe it's called a dooby. No Jack! Don't give it to Tosh.
Big Tosh: Shh. I can hear them now. VC everywhere. "Come out Yankee. Me your friend." Sorry Charlie. I ain't spending another four years cooped up in a goddamn jungle prison.
At this point Big Tosh jumps out of the fourth floor window.
Weisenmeiker III: Okay gentleman. Have a nice day!