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Washington Lawyer

Legal Spectator: I Promise You, We Will Be Out of Here by One–Thirty

From Washington Lawyer, November 2011

By Jacob A. Stein

spectator Thank you all for being here for our monthly luncheon. Let me apologize for keeping you here so long at the last luncheon. There were complaints that people have to get back to their office, and I promise you we will not keep you past 1:30.

We are lucky to have today’s speaker. Those of you who have heard him before can assure the rest of us that you are in for a real treat.

While the tables are being cleared and the coffee is being served … by the way, it is all decaf. We would not want to keep anybody awake during office hours. How about that? As you saw today, we used the buffet rather than having the luncheon served. The buffet is cheaper and the dessert table is really something—cheesecake, ice cream, and the big chocolate cake. Some people have complained that the dessert table is putting some weight on us. I’ve noticed it, and I think we ought to go back to having the luncheon served, but I’ll leave it to the committee.

Before I introduce the speaker, I have several announcements to make. The Convention Committee wants you to know that they have just about settled on a resort you will love. I and the chairperson spent a week there as guests, and we know you will like it. As soon as we send out the announcement, please get your reservations in. The hotel space is limited. The golfers will love it. Before we made our choice, we visited and inspected the Hotel del Coronado, The Breakers, The Homestead, The Greenbrier, and the Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel in Bermuda. All by invitation.

Can you hear me back there? We have trouble with the mikes. Is that better? Raise your hand back there if you cannot hear me.

OK. Now a few more announcements. Still having trouble hearing me? There we have it. I want to get these announcements out of the way quickly so I can introduce the speaker.

The head of the Building Committee, Robert Benchley, could not be here, but he wants me to tell you about the cost overrun of the build–outs in my new office. There is talk about the reason the carpenters walked off the job. They claimed interference by the staff. The full story will be in the newsletter. There may be litigation because of liens. I don’t want to take the time about the details, the bids, and the workers’ compensation claims.

There are some guests here. I want those who have brought a guest to raise their hands and have the guest stand.

Our newsletter, which you all get, carries the announcements of our next meetings and the tentative speakers, so I won’t go into that except to say that the Speakers Committee continues to do a great job lining people up. We like to get people who are in the news like the speaker we have today. By the way, if anyone wants to serve on the committees, just let me know.

Let me get on with the announcements, and then I will introduce the speaker.

By the way, if anybody has some suggestions for speakers, talk to Charlie.

Just a few more announcements and we will get to our speaker. We have here today members from our Maryland group. I’d like them to stand. Thank you.

And the final announcement is the reception that will be given to honor those of us who have been given awards for public service. Our members do a lot of pro bono work and we thought we should have a reception for them, and I hope the turnout will be good.

Well, unless someone here on the dais would like to say something, I want to say a few words about the speaker. Joe, you want to say something? Let’s hold it so we can get this moving. This reminds me of the great opener I heard our speaker give. I don’t think he would mind. Let me see if I can recall it.

I think it goes this way. He opened by saying that last month he was in the audience watching the speaker. The speaker was going on too long. And then he saw someone on the dais take the water pitcher and raise it above the speaker’s head in order to hit him on the head and shut him up. As he brought it down, the speaker moved forward and the water pitcher hit another man on the dais. That man fell forward. He was heard saying, “Hit me again. I can still hear him.”

Well, I hope he tells the story because he does it better than me.

By the way, he has promised to take questions, and if you have any questions you can use the mikes that are around. I know there will be questions. I hope the mikes are working. Last month they were not working. By the way, I assure you we will do our best to get you back to your office by 1:30.

There is something that has been brought to my attention. Mr. Rogers, our treasurer, has resigned. I have put together a committee to review the accounting up to now, to the last penny, and, of course, we reported it to the Bonding Company. I am sorry to say the Bonding Company is requiring us to make a report to the police of what was taken by the self–dealing. We should have caught on when Rogers was buying a new convertible Mercedes each year, and he liked taking vacations. I will take responsibility for not calling him in and asking him where the money was coming from.

Our speaker’s bio is so long that I can only give you a summary. He tells me he is going to run again for the state Senate, and he would like our help. He knows us and we know him. His flyers are on the table as you go out. Please grab a handful and drop them off at all the neighbors’ houses. The full bio is in the newsletter. He was born and raised in Ohio and attended the local schools. Let me speed this up. Let’s see … yes, and he graduated cum laude from high school and law school and joined the department in 1970, and will you all join me in welcoming our speaker.

I am sorry about the time, but if anyone has to leave, we will understand. Reach Jacob A. Stein at jstein@steinmitchell.com.