Associates working in large law firms will immediately recognize the partner-who-talks-too-fast. From somewhere outside your door, he barks a command to meet him in his office. It doesn’t matter that you were about to leave for lunch. When you arrive with a notebook, he tells you to have a seat. He has something to say about the Smithkin matter. In fact, here’s what he’s thinking: He wants you to write a letter to the opposing counsel. It concerns something very important--critically important--about the upcoming expert disclosures.
So far, you’ve understood everything he’s said. But it’s only at this point that the partner-who-talks-too-fast begins to show his true colors. He clears his throat, shakes his head, closes his eyes. Then without taking a single breath, he describes to you, in complete sentences but without a single pause, everything that he wants you to write in the letter, which if you took it down verbatim would fill most of a single-spaced page. You, however, are only able to get the first line, which goes something like this: “Dear Mr. Aspin: I think it is appropriate that we meet at a mutually-agreeable time to discuss the deadlines for disclosing our respective liability and damage experts.” This much of the letter you are able to capture in your mind, in addition to a few other random, disconnected passages; by the time you set these passages down on paper, however, the partner-who-talks-too-fast has already concluded the final paragraph.
Is the partner's fast-talking the necessary result of a monumentally important man's extremely crowded schedule? Or is it merely a case of showing off? Does it really matter? For you, the problem is much worse: the partner-who-talks-too-fast has just dismissed you from his office, and you have no idea what he did or didn’t say, only that it was critically important.
[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.]