The Firm

Messrs Pratchard, Henderson and head of marketing Rodney Bickerthwaite are lounging around the boardroom chewing the fat.

Henderson: I've just been watching the whole Gore-Bush wrangle…

Pratchard: I thought the Vice Squad confiscated those videos during their last raid.

Henderson: Enough smut Jack. It's on CNN live from Florida. At last, a triumph for western liberal democracy, something that the US people can be proud of.

Pratchard: They've chosen a president?

Henderson: No. They've decided to have more court hearings. Which means more money for lawyers. You know it reminds me of my own election to be managing partner of The Firm. I'm a bit like Bush. I'm the son of a managing partner, strong willed, and in the run-up to the election I executed 38 people – three of whom were innocent of any stationary theft whatsoever. Then there was the incredibly close result which meant I had to organise a re-fix… Anyway, this whole Florida thing has got me-a-thinking. This is a radical suggestion but bear with me – there may be money in doing law… in other countries.

Pratchard: Preposterous. It can't be done.

Henderson: Well, apparently all the magic circle do it. And as you know, our guiding strategy is "do what everyone else does – they can't all be wrong".

Pratchard: But the US is miles away.

Henderson: I know. But Europe's on our doorstep. Forget about the disaster that was our Kosovo office. That idea was too bold, too visionary. I'm talking about a London-Frankfurt alliance.

Bickerthwaite: Never! I don't trust them.

Henderson: What Germans?

Bickerthwaite: No. Londoners. Nancy southern jessies with their All Bar One's selling fizzy foreign piss for £3.10 a pint served in a curved womanly glass. I'd like to see Graham Thorpe chisel out a century on a turning track in Pakistan. Oh shit, he just has.

Henderson: But the Germans are OK?

Bickerthwaite: No. I were comin' on to them. Why do we need foreigners? It's not the British way. What's the first thing a Frenchman sees as he arrives on the Eurostar – Waterloo. Now that's funny. Don't get me wrong. I think we should have a single currency, only it should be called the pound and be imposed across the Continent. I mean the way it's going at the minute we'll wake up in five years time to find some German's head on our banknotes …

Henderson: Whereas if we scrap the pound, we don't have to have the Queen.

Bickerthwaite: Don't start with me. Brussels has a lot to answer for. A mate of mine was arrested last week just because he was trading in pounds and ounces. Alright, he was trading cannabis, but that's not the point…

Henderson: Rodney, you haven't breathed in for three minutes. Calm down. I'm not suggesting we submit to the Germans. It's like I overheard some Freshfields chap shouting the other day in the bar – "I want to go out and conquer a couple of countries." And it just so happens that Norton Rose's laughable attempts to form an alliance with Gaedertz have opened the door for us. Ah, I hear the phone ringing. That must be my contact at Gaedertz Jorge Soehring calling with the good news. I'll be back shortly…

Pratchard: So, tell me Rodney, who's won the presidential race? Nixon or Kennedy? Oh, save it, here's Tom with a face like thunder.

Henderson: They've voted our offer down by 123 votes to Zero. Recount, recount! Check the pregnant chads! It's a mockery of democracy…