6 July 1999
Potential trainees are greeted by Mr Henderson, Mr Pratchard and Mr Chalmers at The Firm's annual open day.
Mr Henderson: I want to assure you that The Firm does not choose trainees solely on where they were educated. Etonians are just as welcome as old Harrow boys in my book. Just as long as you went to Oxbridge, of course, ha ha. Neither are we interested solely in academic excellence. Our very own senior partner, Mr Pratchard, doesn't have a law degree at all. He doesn't even have any O-levels. He simply popped in to the office back in 1938 to use the toilet and fell asleep in the boardroom.
All your legal education can be provided by The Firm - an education more relevant than that LPC nonsense. We don't concentrate on dry black letter law. We focus on the practicalities, or to put it another way, how to make the most money for the least work.
Here's an example you don't get at the College of Bloody Law. Make sure you always send your clients a birthday card. It makes them feel wanted, and you can slip an extra u130 on the bill for "correspondence". Also, here you'll learn everything you need to know about criminal law.
Candidate: But I thought that the firm only practised commercial law?
Mr Henderson: We do. But we encourage all our lawyers to keep abreast of criminal law, especially concerning search warrants, police radio frequencies, that sort of thing. Basically we're looking for potential in our trainees. That mysterious "X" quality. We'll be handing round some questionnaires to help us. The questions are simple, for example, "Do I know your father?" and "Can he help me get a knighthood?".
The final stage of the selection will be some psychometric tests. These are to determine what sort of chap you are. The sort who'll be loyal to The Firm. Or the sort who'll break like a twig and start blubbing at the first sign of the Plod hammering on the door and offering you a deal to turn Queen's evidence against me. The tests may involve some flashing lights and a smidgen of punching, but they're followed by an informal drinks session. So, any questions for the panel?
Candidate: You said "chap" just then. Do you operate an equal opportunities programme for women candidates?
Mr Pratchard: Of course. As long as they're not pigs. We even made a lady into a partner the other week.
Candidate: And do you hire candidates from ethnic minorities?
Mr Pratchard: Well, that depends if we need a mini-cab. I'm rather good at this, eh Henderson?
Candidate: The perception in my university is that The Firm is an outdated anachronism full of prejudice, where trainees are treated like dogsbodies and obedience to the management is more important than merit.
Mr Henderson: May I bring in Mr Chalmers, a junior partner who was trained here at The Firm, to give you his honest appraisal of our training system.
Mr Chalmers: The Firm is like the family I never knew. On my first day here I was given top quality international corporate work to handle. But I was also given something else. Love. And money. Loads of money.
Candidate: But it's widely known that even equity partners are paid a minute fraction of Mr Henderson's fat cat salary.
Mr Chalmers: Erm ... what do I say Mr Henderson? The Firm is like the family I never knew. On my first day...
Candidate: He's reading from a script!
Mr Chalmers: They're making me say it. For two years they made me clean the floor of the boardroom with my tongue. Run my young friends. Run for your lives!
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