Muttley Dastardly LLP interview once each year for eight trainees. One will make the cut. Retention rates published in the legal press are of no concern to the firm’s enigmatic Director of Education, Training, Strategy and Psyops – Dr Erasmus Strangelove LLB, JD, BCL, MBA, Ph.D, Barrister
Dr Strangelove took his seat in The Partner’s boardroom, positioning himself not at the centre of the twenty-five feet long black polished marble table, but at the head of the table on the left hand side of the room. Five of the more senior partners had gathered in the boardroom to witness the interview. They stood, as is the practice at Muttley Dastardly LLP should Partners wish to observe, behind Dr Strangelove; their features reduced to silhouette by the dim and carefully constructed lighting. It was still dark outside, the dawn just breaking over The City of London.
Eva Braun, the managing partner’s PA, elegant in a black tailored suit and black high heeled shoes, walked into the darkened boardroom followed by the first interviewee of the morning, a young man with glasses who peered, slightly nervously, down the length of the twenty-five foot long black marble table at Dr Strangelove.
“Please take a seat Mr Cholmondely-Rotherhythe… I had the opportunity of watching and hearing you….on our high definition security cameras… introduce yourself in reception to Ms Braun when you arrived, so I trust that I am pronouncing your name correctly….in the English manner…. Chumley?”
Cholmondely-Rotherhythe sat down in the high backed Charles Rennie Mackintosh chair at the opposite end of the table.
“Yes…Rather!” Cholmondely-Rotherhythe replied, with the enthusiasm of youth unburdened by the cares of modern legal practice.
“You have made a good start Mr Cholmondely-Rotherhythe by not making any inappropriate sexual advances to Ms Braun on arrival, you were on time and you were sober. You would be surprised what some who apply here do at interview.” Strangelove said, drily, tapping on his iPad to bring up Cholmondely-Rotherhythe’s Facebook page.
Cholmondely-Rotherhythe said nothing, but was clearly flustered by the question…or was it a statement?
Strangelove looked up and smiled “On the 24th December 2010, at 03.15 hours GMT, you uploaded a number of photographs of yourself onto your Facebook page. Is it a hobby of yours to dress as Dr Frankenfurter from The Rocky Horror Show or was this just a social event where you wished to express your inner rebel?”
Cholmondely-Rotherhythe shifted in the chair, his mouth dry. He hesitated for a moment “Ah! That was a Christmas Eve party…the theme was Rocky Horror. It was my only evening off from studying law all year.”
“Excellent… that you cast yourself as a principal in that wonderful show demonstrates leadership, confidence, style, elan and……. a disregard for the mores and conventions of conservatism. I note you went to Winchester, took a First at Oxford…you would not be here had you not….and endured the Legal Practice Course, coming first in your year at your provider of choice..and all without trying to persuade a City firm to sponsor you. This, we take as a positive at Muttley Dastardly. Now…tell me…. what is your view on the Court of Appeal, yesterday, removing Peter Smith J from the Mills & Reeve negligence case? Peter Smith J fears nought…or should I say dreadsnought…. but this is not the first time he has got himself into difficulty?”
Cholmondely-Rotherhythe smiled. He had read about the case that very morning when he got up at 3.00 am to do some final preparation on the legal news of the day. “Fascinating case and, indeed, I believe his last tussle with a law firm was in relation to Addleshaws. I was reading The Lawyer earlier and as far as I recall with my eidetic memory..”Peter Smith J made an unfortunate remark about abuse of process and, The Lawyer reported: “Lord Justice Lloyd made it clear that any comments made about the firm’s alleged abuse of power were “altogether unjustified” and that the firm’s “application cannot fairly be regarded as having been launched only in order to delay the resumption of the trial…..When the trial resumes, Lloyd LJ stated, it should do so under a different judge and directions should be also provided by a chancery judge other than Peter Smith J.”
Two of The Partners standing behind Dr Strangelove broke into applause and one observed “Bravo….. not to you for recalling a report in The Lawyer, young man…we expect that… but bravo to the Court of Appeal.”
Strangelove looked up at the young man twenty-five feet away. “Know any law? At least you have been taught by people who have Ph.ds and academic experience in their subject…the modern tendency is to fill undergraduate minds with practice and business contextualisation…whatever that is, from people who may not have actually done any business themselves or, indeed, have practised at the cutting edge of modern legal practice in a top City firm.”
“Yes, I know a fair bit of law.” Cholmondely-Rotherhythe replied confidently.
“Good.” Strangelove said with a smile “You will have an opportunity to demonstrate this to two of our Partners shortly. They will be most interested to hear of your observations on the new Bribery Act…. a statute of some importance in The City and, certainly, to some of our more adventurous clients. My final questions are these…. do you understand the culture of our firm? Do you understand the meaning behind our motto…Strength & Profits… in other words, do you feel you have what we will happily take from you for ten years with a view to your joining the Partners one day and enjoying those profits which form the latter part of our motto? We insist that all our trainees join us knowing what is ahead of them….as my Tort colleagues…. in those dim distant days when I taught law… would say… are you Volens?”
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