Going Back, Going Forward.

Me when I joined…

I’m not very good at reunions. I get oddly apprehensive. But last night my old firm of lawyers had a dinner for retired partners in their new offices in the City of London. They now occupy ten floors of an enormous tower with impressive views if you like seeing equally enormous pieces of multiple fenestration. It’s the first time London has felt like Manhatten.

I went. It’s been three years since the last get together courtesy of Covid and the firm has its first female senior partner so I thought I should put in a cameo.

And, of course, it was delightful. I met former colleagues who I’d forgotten I actually quite liked. Oh sure, there were the usual smattering of hawing arseholes dotted about but in my time we reached 500 plus partners (there were 36 when I walked through the front door in July 1981 – actually it was a revolving door and I can remember thinking it had to be a get ahead business to have one of those). In amongst 500 partners you would inevitably find the odd jackass, charlatan and greasy sychophant. But there were many who ate their soup properly, didn’t always talk about great rounds of golf and understood that Douglas Adams was a genius.

It’s been a while since I retired. Some haven’t changed much, most have the sort of glow that is denied the habitually nocturnal beige complexion that is the continuing lot of successful lawyers. But some are showing their age and the years of stress and sandwiches that feed businesses.

It wasn’t all great. Putting on shoes that compliment the suit I was expected to wear led to a crippling blister that had me lurching like the drunk I’m not. And I have a bespoke seafood allergy that was confused with another guest who avoid lactose so for a time I was denied my pudding.

But a small price to pay for renewing some aged old contacts. Those years chiselling deals out of the intransigent granite of stubborn clients and intractable competitors weren’t entirely wasted.

The same me when I left. Yes the miserable skinflints got me a mug…

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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42 Responses to Going Back, Going Forward.

  1. Darlene says:

    I love the mugs! I worked for a German woman for ten years, as a sales clerk in her gift shop. When I left she gave me a mug, the same mug I had been using on my coffee break for the past ten years! When I unwrapped it, a pearl ring fell out of it, so all was forgiven. I still have the mug, 40 years later. Use it almost every day. Hardly ever wear the ring. It’s nice to see old colleagues from time to time.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ritu says:

    Got to admit, that mug is funny!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You and I retired the same year. Of course, you were still dashing. I was a 70-year-old codger.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. willowdot21 says:

    Geoff that’s so lovely. Love the cup 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh my goodness! The mugs are brilliant. I was a bookkeeper for a law firm in Montana. I also was an accounting paralegal for the estate attorneys. I can’t say those were all good times, but sometimes I miss the attorneys.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 2012 was a good year to retire!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. L.K. Latham says:

    Love the mug! Need to get that for my hubby. Pretty sure I wouldn’t not go back to the places I’ve worked.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I retired in 2012 too. I can’t quite believe it’s been so long.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. JT Twissel says:

    Oh golly, the last work related reunion I went to was too darn depressing. My former boss (a deeply beloved man) had just been diagnosed with dementia and to watch him suffer to remember people and old times was painful. I don’t think he even recognized me. But happy you had a more positive experience (despite the blisters).

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Suzanne says:

    I get quite apprehensive and a tad nervous about meeting up with folk I haven’t seen before or for a while. There is much to be said about early retirement if you’re able too.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. George says:

    I think appreciating the genius that is Douglas Adams is a fine criterion for character assessment.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You kept us waiting until the end to find out what was on the other side of the mug 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. V.M.Sang says:

    Great mugs, Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Rowena says:

    A mug for a mug, is one of my coffee friend’s favourite sayings. As much as I love photography, I’ve never done one of those photo mugs. That said, I’m feeling a bit tempted to do some family mugs with photos of us as young children on them. That could be fun, except our mug cupboard like every other cupboard is exploding.
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

  15. noelleg44 says:

    The mug is hilarious – love it! I have only gone back to my department once since retirement – it has changed so much – physically and politically – I would feel uncomfortable. But I do like the football and basketball games, a benefit of working at a university.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi Geoff, I am slightly gobsmacked that your firm had its first female senior partner so recently. I would have thought you had a number by now. Admittedly, a lot of our female partners are not married and don’t have children. It sounds like it was good to catch up with your peers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      It’s a pretty grim indictment, for sure. When I joined in 1981 there were two and that remained the case until the year I became a partner in 1987. It would have been about 1995 when someone pointed out there were 13% female partners . Some of us were very conscious of the weakness – the many micro aggressions – that held back women, anyone from any sort of minority – as we expanded around the globe. It made it no better than we were the second best globally in terms of female legal representation as
      after the Wall St white shoe firms in those years. A lot of work has been done to try and redress the balance. But blimey it’s still a work in progress and we… they … should be better than that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah well, change is slow and painful. I chose not to be a partner because my family is more important to me than the additional money and I didn’t want to give more of my time and energy to the firm. I have never regretted that decision.

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        Back in the 80s that wasn’t an option (not sure I would have taken it anyway). You reached 6-7 years post qualification experience and either became a partner or left. There wasn’t the structure for senior professionals who didn’t make it. That became possible maybe by the end of the century. In truth, these days the work life balance isn’t much different between partners and senior professionals. Not a lot of part time roles when I left though we trialed several in my department. Most people understand these things are structurally unsustainable.

        Liked by 1 person

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