Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Lawyering up

As I have mentioned before, I am involved in a lawsuit that involves my place of work.  I can't say much about it, because Everything Is Confidential.  Suffice it to say that there are some very fancy-pants lawyers involved on all sides, and, no matter who wins, as usual, the real winners are the lawyers.

I have had to attend meetings at the lawyers' office downtown several times.  It's in one of those buildings that is designed to intimidate.  The lobby ceiling is around 60 feet high.  The lawyers' office takes up an entire floor, way up above the roofs of the city.  The lobby of the lawyers' office is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling glass windows.  The hallway walls are basically an art gallery.  The artworks are rotated in and out of storage so that the entire collection has a chance to be seen, and the décor never grows "stale".

I had a good chance to observe all of this last week when I ended up waiting in the lawyers' office lobby for two hours.  TWO HOURS.  Two very boring hours.   I was supposed to show up at 4 pm with a colleague so that an independent evaluator could ask us some questions.  At the last minute, someone decided that I should not be in the room when my colleague was answering the questions, in case that might prejudice my answers when it was my turn.  In other words, it was like a police investigation in which the suspect and his buddy are placed in separate interview rooms.  Except my interview room was luxurious, and at the 90-minute-mark a nice lady in a uniform brought me cheese and crackers.

The first time I went to the lawyers' office, I felt intimidated.  I didn't know my way there; hadn't met the lawyers before; and didn't know what to expect.  I wasn't sure if I would understand the conversation.  I don't speak much legalese, and the level of stuff going on, with numbered companies and shell corporations etc., is way outside my experience.

Fortunately, the one lawyer that I have to work closely with is a nice guy.  Of all the hot-shot businessmen I've had to work with within the past year, I like him best.  He's smart, but he's straightforward and he's not full of himself.  He doesn't treat me like I'm a "little lady" to be patted on the head and sent to make photocopies.  He translates legalese into regular English with consummate skill.

More quickly than I would have imagined, I'm becoming comfortable going to the building with the enormous marble lobby.  I am starting to feel a little bit at home on the 20-somethingth floor.  My brain is beginning to grok the difference between directors and shareholders, and that sort of thing.  I would never have ventured into this area on my own initiative, but it certainly is a learning experience.


Ginny said...

I work at a law firm and there are many people who get nervous coming in to a law firm. I'm glad you are dealing with a good lawyer. Good luck!

DarcKnyt said...

It's always a joy to find a professional professional, isn't it? They're sort of rare. I enjoy their presence in settings like you described; it makes one feel comfortable and in the presence of people who actually run a company. :)

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Good lawyer... good lawyer??? I'm confused. I guess there have to be some good ones out there ;-)

Sparkling Red said...

Ginny: I am now officially comfortable around doctors, lawyers, and engineers. I think I have all the major professions covered.

DarcKnyt: Yes, true leaders and people with integrity are quite rare.

Ron: Ya, it's like an albino tiger. A rare aberration. ;-)

G. B. Miller said...

I used to be very uptight with HR labor reps at work, but after getting to know one particular rep, I'm no longer uptight about dealing with certain aspects of HR.

Father Nature's Corner

Lynn said...

I print for some lawyers like that - same kind of thing with the offices in the sky, thick carpet and artwork. I'm glad it's turning into a somewhat good experience (all that waiting would be the worst.)

Sparkling Red said...

G.B.: HR is incredibly legalistic. I never realized that until I got some responsibility for HR at my current workplace.

Lynn: It certainly was less stressful than waiting at a doctor's office, or an airport. Always look at the bright side, right? ;-)

Vanessa T said...

I'm glad you're dealing with a decent one there! And at least you got to look at some pretty pictures while you waited, right? Not like sterile, concrete blocks.

Still, you should have presented them with a bill for all that time they made you wait, you know, your time is valuable too, certainly worth billable hours. :D

LL Cool Joe said...

Having waited for my luggage to appear on the carousel in the airport for 3 hours, I can relate.

I'm glad you are at least dealing with a good lawyer, I suppose there must be a few of them out there.

Granny Annie said...

Lawyers and law firms do not intimidate me. Usually they just p*** me off:)

Sparkling Red said...

Vanessa: Yeah, you're right! I shouldn't have settled for cheese and crackers. I'm a chump. ;-)

LL Cool Joe: 3 hours? What the heck? You could have dug it out of the cargo hold yourself in less time.

Granny Annie: That's the spirit! :-)

Jenski said...

I hate going somewhere for the first time! Glad visiting the lawyers is not an onerous experience.