The Firm

Internal The Lawyer memo rating The Firm's chances in last week's The Lawyer Marketing Awards.

The Firm has entered three categories. Senior partner Jack Pratchard even suggests we include a new award – best canapes. He writes: "Mrs Pratchard's cheddar scones are fabulous. At functions, Mr Henderson also seems to serve up a secret stash of treats in the toilets. He doesn't make them himself, I've heard him talk about his mate Charlie, but who cares – the clients can't get enough."

Anyway, here are my evaluations…

Client Care: I phoned The Firm to discuss its client care package and all-round user-friendliness. After the phone rang 37 times a receptionist answered: "What? What do you want?" "Can I talk to Mr Henderson?" I asked. "Who wants him? Oh, balls if I care," was her response.

When I told Mr Henderson I was interested in his client care package he was most forthcoming. "OK, how many grams do you need? I've got a special deal this week – I can throw in some free prostitutes, transexuals if you fancy. I've got pre- and post-op. Tell us where you are and I'll get Big Tosh to drop them off. Hello. Hello. You are calling from Rubble Trouble Quarries aren't you?" "No, I'm a journalist from The Lawyer," I admitted. "Solly. Solly. You got wrong number. You phone, errm, Hong Kong Takeaway. Me busy. Me go now," said Mr Henderson before adding: "I can break you, sonny. I've already traced this call. One word in print and I'll snap you in two." Client care rating: 0/10.

Recruitment: I contacted a junior partner – Mr Chalmers – for a chat about The Firm's recruitment strategy. We agreed to meet in a cafe outside Waterloo. "How has The Firm met the challenge of…" I began to ask. "Shut up," he whispered. "There's no time for that. I've only got 13 minutes before they notice I've gone. We're digging a tunnel. We're going to make a break for it, coming out in batches – the one-year qualifieds first. Some of them are in a bad way. We need your help on the outside – clothes, shelter, documents. Our plan is to head for the Continent, seek asylum. But you've got to help. Please! You don't know the things Mr Henderson makes us do. Wait a minute, how do I know you're not one of them?" Mr Chalmers then jumped out of the window and began swimming down the Thames. Recruitment rating: 0/10.

Corporate brand: I speak to Rodney Bickerthwaite, The Firm's marketing manager. "What are The Firm's core values?" I asked. "Quality, focus, value added something, some ponce about knitting, small case letters," he replied. "Do you understand what you're talking about?" I asked. "No. These southern jessies make me say it. Henderson says I should just copy Clifford Chance cos it's dead rich." He takes out a glossy brochure. "This was my idea. Look at corporate work." The page headed "Corporate" just shows a picture of Geoffrey Boycott. "Taken in 1978, second test versus Pakistan, Islamabad. Look at that straight bat, perfect footwork, steely gaze. If we practiced law like Boycott batted we'd be millionaires." I ask if he's gone bonkers. "No, son. That day Boycott batted for over seven hours. Scored 19." A tear trickles down his face. Corporate brand: -5/10.

I recommend The Firm be awarded nothing this year.

Internal The Lawyer memo rating The Firm's chances in last week's The Lawyer Marketing Awards

A grizzled Vietnam vet called Big Tosh just visited me. He asked if I was the one bothering Mr Henderson. Then he broke my legs and showed me a picture of my cat, Bubbles, sitting on Mr Henderson's knee.

I recommend we award The Firm the new prestigious award for Best Canapes…