Partner drops a huge motion on me for summary judgment, which I am to write in one week. This is a case that has been litigated for five years, involving more than fifty years of contracting history between the parties. The associates regularly assigned to the case inexplicably never researched many of the significant issues of the case or drafted a statement of facts. I am “the closer,” the savior, the only one who can get this done.
I am locked in a room with what seemed to be hundreds of boxes of documents, deposition transcripts and discovery responses. I am told to write the motion and given nothing more by way of guidance. After more than a hundred hours of work, I blearily forward a draft via email to the partner and other associates on the team and stumble off for a few hours of sleep.
That afternoon, I receive a terse email indicating that I am to report immediately to the partner’s office for a conference call with the client. Apparently, my draft has not been well received.
Client is incensed. At the beginning of this case, five years ago, client advised us that it did not want to make “Argument X” because of the ongoing business relationship client had with one of the defendants. The same “Argument X” that is central to my motion. Partner looks at me and shakes his head. All associates in the room turn their faces away, ashamed at my failure. Partner must placate the client—stating that I made a mistake and would fix it.
Of course, none of the people actually assigned to this case, including the partner, ever told me that the client did not want to make “Argument X.”
I haven’t spoken directly with a client since.
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