Part IV: Matching the Briefcase to the Occasion
As I begin part four of this essay, I would like to say a few words about the first three parts. Yesterday, I re-read them. Coming at the material with fresh eyes, I was astonished to learn that here and there, it seemed as if I was mocking lawyers, even placing them in a comic light. I cannot explain how this could have happened, except to say I was being very careless with my writing pen.
Before I continue, I would like to make one thing clear. I believe that the law is the noblest of professions, more noble, in fact, than any other that has yet been invented. If my own children go to college and are undecided about a career, and if no job openings are available at the bowling alley or the movie theater, I would be most overjoyed for them to go to law school, pay their hundred thousand dollars, and become lawyers themselves.
I would also like to say that in the years since I graduated from law school, I have come to know many fine lawyers. Some of these I even consider friends. In fact, if I had any say in the matter, I would end this four-part essay about briefcases with this sentence, and then go on to tell you some more about the wonderful lawyers I have come to know. But I really don’t have much say in the matter. My bothersome editors are on my case again. They say I must stay focused. Focused, that is, on the problem of lawyers and their briefcases.
When I concluded the most recent part of this essay, I promised to reveal why a lawyer without a briefcase isn't much of a lawyer at all. Unfortunately, it’s time for yet another confession. In making that promise, I engaged in a bit of overstatement. In fact, it’s not true that “a lawyer without a briefcase isn’t much of a lawyer at all.” I made that bold but false claim only to increase the dramatic effect of this essay. Believe me, when I told my editors that the cliffhanger that ended the last part of this essay was a deliberate lie, they were not amused. Surely, though, they can understand that the lawyer’s briefcase is not the sexiest of topics, even for a short essay. To try to extend the essay to four parts, spread over a month, is not only very difficult but borders on the insane.
So then. This part of the essay was supposed to be about "matching the briefcase to the occasion." It was more than a month ago that I decided on this sub-topic, thinking that there would be plenty of time for me to flesh out some ideas well in advance of my deadline. Now it’s time for my last and final confession. Quite frankly, the muse hasn’t been cooperating. Since I originally conceived of the idea, I’ve come up with nothing about matching the briefcase to the occasion. It goes without saying that I apologize profusely.
It's probably a good time to bring this four-part essay to an end. I’ll leave you with a few final thoughts. If you are a lawyer, and you have an occasion to use a briefcase, make sure the briefcase you select is not an embarrassment to the profession. Take your briefcase very seriously. Select it with care and treat it with kindness. Never joke about it. If you have to set it on the ground in order to hail a cab, make sure it does not get wet.
[Like this post? It's one of many included in my book How to Feed a Lawyer (And Other Irreverent Oberservations from the Legal Underground). Details here.]