Happy Birthday, Mr. B!

by kelly

You may have seen the novelty mug/t-shirt epithet, “Old lawyers never die, they just lose their appeal.”

To be more accurate, the saying should read, “For some d#%$ reason, old lawyers never retire!”

I don’t expect to be one of them – I have lots of traveling and other things to do in retirement -¬†but there is a large and sizable segment of the elderly (mostly male) attorney population – in my office and in many others – who officially retire from the firm, but who never really, well, . . . leave.¬†¬†¬†

Oh sure, they get in a lot more vacation time than they used to.¬† Sometimes they’ll be away for weeks or months at a time.¬†

But larger firms have a quaint custom of keeping an office around for these elder statesmen.¬† The oldest of the old are relegated to desks distributed throughout a common work room.¬† (One retired fellow with a sense of humor, whom I met for the first time after a year and a half at the firm, informed me that his desk was in this room, which he dubbed ‘the elephants’ graveyard’).¬† They may even continue to do some client work (although I hear this is closely reviewed by more active practitioners before it goes out).¬†

At my firm, one gentleman in particular embodies this fine tradition.  He comes in most every day (at least during the morning), and walks slowly around in his suit, going from office to office to chat with his buddies.    


My Office
by Koog Family.

He has impeccable manners. 

Everyone is fond of him, and you see a smile of both bemusement and protection on people’s faces when his name comes up.¬† He was a powerhouse lawyer in his day, establishing much of the current client base of the firm.¬†¬†

This is the only firm at which he’s ever worked.¬† He joined in 1952, fresh out of law school.¬† He became a partner in 1959.¬†

Those were the days (which lasted into the mid- to late-70s, as best I can tell) during which secretaries did not refer to Attorneys by their first names.  And so he is still known as Mr. [his last name] and also, because everyone knows everyone so well by now, just as Mr. B. 

He so resembles the gentlemen in the cartoon on my office wall that when I first hung it up, I hoped that he’d never see it.¬†

I’m not at all concerned that he’ll ever read this blog.¬† I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t know what a blog is.

But he turned 80 yesterday.¬† And the firm provided him a cake and a little party in a conference room.¬† I heard his secretary (whom he hired on here in 1968) ask him if he’d like to¬†take some cake home for Mrs. B.

I already told him in person, but it certainly bears repeating – not only for him, but also for all the others like him out there:

Happy Birthday, Mr. B!  

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