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Attorney at Law, K. Anderson never smiled. In fact, she never showed much emotion at all.
She was rumored to be cold hearted and vicious. Whether she actually was or not, ultimately was irrelevant. She was one of the most powerful attorneys this side of the Mississippi river, a senior partner in one of the most influential law firms in the country, Benter, Johnson, Anderson and Holgate. She had everything money could buy, though she never struck him as the flashy type. Designer clothes, beautiful home in the most exclusive neighborhood, personal driver, and massive corner office. No children, no husband, just work.
He was Fredrick Montgomery, and had joined the firm two years ago. He made six figures as an associate, which was pennies compared to her eight. And even with the ridiculous salary, Frederick was, as were most associates here, a lackey; he was here to get the grunt work done for the higher ups that stood in court and took all the credit when cases went the firm’s way. When cases didn’t go the firm’s way, well, he and other associates usually got credited with that too. Sounds like a thankless job, and it is, but he loved it. He could have gone to work anywhere, but instead busted his ass all through law school to graduate in the top 3% in order to be exactly where he is today. No one had ever made partner at the firm under the age of 55, and no one under the age of 45 had ever sat second chair for a federal trial…that is, except for Ms. Anderson. He first saw her four years prior, when he’d spent a few months observing federal trials. He’d watched her pull off a victory that cemented her brilliance, and he respected her ever since. He wondered if she ever smiled, if she ever had fun, if she ever- literally- let her hair down.
He had never spoken to her, never had the occasion to. She was not the kind of woman you chatted idly with on the elevator or around the copy machine, she was too intimidating to even look at, let alone attempt to strike up some sort of witty, impressive banter; Fredrick had watched many a man try, and subsequently fail, to impress her, and besides, she had a boyfriend, a perfectly annoying attorney from another firm, Thomas Reynolds.
She plucked associates off of their regular duties at will, and he’d heard horror stories about lawyers who nearly went crazy working cases with her, some had quit, some, as rumor has it, plotted murder against their tough as nails boss. As quickly as she snatched them up, she would toss them back to their simple mundane offices if they didn’t perform to her standard. Her nine hundred square foot office had three, much smaller offices attached to it; one for her private secretary, another for her paralegal, and the third, most infamous office, for the rotating associate. Those who failed their duties doomed their law careers and never made it past associate, anywhere. It was daunting.
Thankfully, Fredrick didn’t work for her, but instead for another senior partner, William Benter. Still for all the rumors, Frederick admired her tenacity and professionalism; she arrived to the office every day before any other partner, and stayed later, every day, than any other partner. Fredrick was also one to pull long hours, and they often wound up in the same elevator, many times he was already in his office when she arrived, striding past without any acknowledgement. He was certain she wore a new pair of shoes and a new suit every day; her clothes were always sharp, but never overstated, complimenting her tight size nine frame perfectly. Her deep caramel skin was flawless, and she wore her hair swept back from her face; she was absolutely breathtaking, which made her all the more desirable to him, even if it was from afar.
“Hey.” A familiar voice called from his office door. “What are you doing?”
Fredrick snapped back to the moment and looked over and James Watson, another associate at the firm who he went to law school with.
“What man?” Fredrick said trying to play the obvious down. “I’m thinking about this case, working on a brief for Benter-“.
“No you’re not.” James said matter-of-factly walking into his office. “You’re thinking about that woman again man, I can see it all over your face.”
“Please,” Fredrick said, “What do I look like?”
“You look like you’re staring down the hall into her office, that’s what you look like.”
“Really?” Fredrick said, and then shook his head. “Shit. What are you doing?”
“See how bad you have it, get your ass together man, we got a staff meeting in the main conference room in about two minutes.”
“Damn!” Fredrick said nearly spilling his coffee.
The senior partners met every day to discuss key cases and hear from senior associates, of which Fredrick was considered to be. He grabbed his note pad and stood up, stepping around his desk.
“Let’s move then.” He said.
Daily meetings never changed. Benter, who had been with the firm the longest, ran the meetings. He called out the partners, discussed and strategized their cases casino oyna first, which were always federal, and then moved to the senior associates and their superior court cases. He was the captain of the ship, noted by the largest single office in the entire building, let alone the firm, and he made sure that everyone on the crew was doing their jobs. As a senior associate assigned to his team, Frederick made sure he had most of the information to review the day before the meeting; thus, the main purpose of the meeting was to make sure that everyone was on the same page- his page.
Benter was the only one to call Ms. Anderson ‘K’. No one even knew what the ‘K’ stood for. Everyone else called her Ms. Anderson. Benter had asked ‘K’ for her case updates, and she ran down the usual list of clients and gave general updates on their status.
“The State of Philadelphia versus Charles Roles has been kicked down from federal to superior, therefore the next filing due to the court is on the 22th of this month.” She stated. “I will-“
“Wait, K., just a minute, something is wrong here.” Benter said adjusting his glasses and looking at his typed notes in front of him. “I have here that our next filing with Judge Haskins on the State versus Roles is the 7th. That’s tomorrow.”
K whipped on her glasses and flipped through the file. On either side of her were her staffers, including her most recent rotating associate, Brad. Need I say more? You could see the blood draining from his face as he peered into the file and looked at the timeline that he had prepared.
“Brad,” she said, looking to him- as was everyone else in the room. You see, Ms. Anderson rarely ever misspoke, and even rarer, was corrected by someone else. It just didn’t happen; but it was happening now.
Brad was mumbling aloud, “yes, you see here there are ten court days for the state to file their motion, and then 60 days for defendant’s response-“
“Actually,” Fredrick cut in, “those timelines are for federal, we’re now back at superior, where the case originated, that puts us back on the superior timeline, which allows for 45 days, which puts the filing at the 7th, tomorrow.” He finished.
The room was silent. Brad had just made the most severe mistake an attorney could make- he was going to miss a deadline, and worse yet, he was going to cause Ms. Anderson to miss a deadline on behalf of her client, who paid more than five million dollars to this very firm in order to retain its services, more specifically, her services. If Brad didn’t know he’d just lost his job, he was the only one.
She took off her glasses and looked at Benter. “It’s not a problem, it will be done”.
“Of course it will.” Benter said, and continued on.
When the meeting closed it seemed everyone stayed in their seats just a few seconds longer than usual, just enough time to allow Ms. Anderson all the space she needed to stalk swiftly out of the room, followed by her staff. She pulled Brad into her office immediately and closed the door.
Forty five minutes later, the office for the rotating associate, was vacant.
Ten minutes after that, Fredrick was called into Benter’s office.
“Pack your things.” He said bluntly, “you’re moving.” “Excuse me?” Fredrick said, genuinely confused.
“Your services are needed down the hall.”
After his confusion began to clear he looked dumbfounded towards his boss. “You’re sending me to work with her?”
“Fredrick, you’re my best man. There is no way I’m going to just let you go, this is temporary, I promise you.”
“How temporary?” he asked.
“It could be 3 months, it could be a year.”
Fredrick sat down, and Benter chuckled. “Trust me, it’s not going to be that bad of an experience for you. We have a client that is accused of embezzling billions of dollars. K knows how this case is going to play out, that’s why she’s one of the best. She knows what she needs to get it done, and besides that, she asked for you.”
“She asked for me?” he said in disbelief.
“She did. And had she not, I would have recommended you anyway. She has 15 cases right now. She can’t afford to have some random associate who can’t figure out his own calendar. I’m having all of your cases reassigned. Claire will prepare all the necessary documents for you.”
“So, I have no choice is what you’re saying,” Fredrick said, standing.
“Do you want to quit?” Benter asked, already knowing the answer. “Then move your ass, she’s waiting to talk to you.”
Fredrick didn’t bother with packing and instead walked out of Benter’s office and straight down the hall. As he passed James’ office, he waived off his puzzled expression and mouthed “help”. That should wrack his nerves for a time.
Ms. Anderson’s secretary showed him directly into Brad’s former office, which was more spacious than Fredrick had given it credit. On one side of the room stood a pair of double doors, which he knew led into Ms. Anderson’s office. He was also smart enough to know that if they weren’t open now, he wasn’t going canlı casino to touch them.
He moved to a desk with papers stacked high, and thumbed through them, all were related to the Roles case as far as he could tell.
“This is state’s motion”, he heard from over his shoulder, and turned quickly. For just a moment, it was like he was seeing her for the first time, and for a moment, she was vulnerable, distracted even, trying to find her stoic expression again. Within seconds, whatever he saw had vanished as if it had never been there. She was standing about three feet from him, and he realized just how small she was compared to his 6 foot 4 inch frame. She was holding out a file to him. “We need to do more than just respond, we need to have the judge rule in our favor.” She turned to the west wall. “These boxes are from our overall file, there are 16 here, but there are 60 total, the rest are in storage. This is just the tip of the iceberg but the feds have yet to send over all the information related to our discovery requests. Its’ four o’clock now. This has to be done, copies served to all parties and filed with the court clerk by 3:00pm tomorrow.”
“Sixty boxes, you said?” Fredrick asked.
“Yes.” She said simply. “Pull as many senior associates as you need to make it happen.”
“Of course,” He said.
“I will be in my office and prefer not to be disturbed when the door is closed.”
With that, she turned and walked back to her office, closing the adjoining doors behind her.
He huffed as he stood alone in his new office. She didn’t want to be bothered? This was one of the most important cases at present, with an impossible to meet deadline, but she didn’t want to be disturbed? He shook his head at her behavior, and looked back down to the papers in his hand.
It was nearly 11:30 in the evening when K emerged from her office, stunned to find the lights dimmed in Brad’s- Fredrick’s office. Surely he was no stranger to all nighters? She flipped the lights on and found all of the boxes and files for Roles were gone. “He couldn’t have taken it home”, she muttered. She walked through the office and out in to the hall and was met by voices in the distance. As she walked around the corner she spotted Frederick with about five other attorneys, in the conference room. Documents were spread across the massive table and they sat in deep discussion. She was amazed that in all the hours that had passed, he had not once knocked on her door to ask her a question. She worried that possibly he was too intimidated, but then she noticed the boxes piled in the conference room…all sixty boxes. She raised her eyebrows to herself, impressive, she thought. Fredrick looked up briefly and caught her eye. She paused, turned and walked back around the corner, into her office, and closed the door.
Nearly an hour later, K heard a knock on her office door. About time, she thought to herself.
“Come in” she called.
Fredrick strode across her office quickly.
“Do you have a question?” She asked him, leaning back in her chair.
“No,” he said, “no I just wanted to give you a copy of the draft for your review before we finalize it in the morning.”
It was the first time he’d ever been in her office, and all the talk was true; the space was massive and included a private bathroom, kitchenette, conference area, sitting room, a wall full of law books, and even a dining area. He estimated the ceilings were at least 25 feet high, and the outer wall was ceiling to floor windows overlooking downtown Philadelphia; he imagined that a person could live here; it was much bigger than the average apartment.
“Final draft?” she asked.
“Yes.” He said, holding it out to her.
She studied him for a moment. He was a man who wasn’t afraid to roll up his tailored sleeves, she could tell. Though he had a strong five o’clock shadow across his chiseled face, his eyes were still bright, as if he wasn’t tired at all. She took the papers from his outstretched hand and flipped through it quickly…32 pages in all. She then gave it a second, slower run through, catching sight of the sub-headings. She could tell it was thorough.
“I’ll review this tonight and we’ll revise first thing in the morning.” She said.
“Great.” He said. “I’ll see you then.”
“I get in at-” she started.
“6:45, I know,” he said, turning to leave, “so do I.”
Fredrick had arrived to the office at 6:15 the next morning. By 6:45 he was finishing his coffee, still reading the business section of the paper when she came in. She looked flawless in a deep burgundy skirt and matching jacket, capped off with burgundy and black stilettos. He didn’t know what to expect from her, but he certainly didn’t expect her to walk in to her office and shut the door without a word to anyone. She seemed to have a psychic connection because no sooner did Benter walk into his office at 7:29, than the door to hers swung open at 7:30. She held one thing in her hand; a copy of the response Fredrick had been charged with drafting.
In kaçak casino the car on the way home she’d started in on the document, and by the time the driver pulled to her door she was riveted- she was looking at legal brilliance on paper, it wasn’t just as if she’d drafted it herself, it was even better. Without a word she walked out of the offices and down the hall, past James, who had inherited Fredrick’s duties, and into Benter’s office, swinging the door closed behind her.
The phone on his desk rang and Fredrick jumped, then shook his head irritated with himself.
“Fredrick Montgomery,” he said.
It was James. “How is it you managed to get fired faster than Bradley?” he asked.
“Man,” Fredrick said, “I am so glad it is Friday man, I need a beer like you would not believe.”
“It hasn’t even been twenty four hours.”
“Yeah, but I’m ready to go to church on Sunday and pray for some divine intervention.”
“So what are you going to do with your severance money? Maybe a little vacation before you sharpen your resume and start interviewing for burger boy?”
“Shut it up man, you’re making me nervous.”
“Good, you should be. If it makes you feel any better, I’m nervous for you.”
“No James, it doesn’t make me feel any better. Stop harassing me and get back to work.”
It was more than an hour before the door to Benter’s office opened and she came out and walked back down the hall to her office. “Mr. Montgomery,” she said, “May I see you for a moment in my office please?”
Fredrick took a deep breath and followed her. She closed the door and directed him to a chair across from her desk.
“I read the response.” She said. “It’s good…very good.”
“Thank you ma’am.” He said, feeling like he was in the principal’s office, only, his principal was not nearly as fine as K Anderson. “I should have brought my notes in with me”.
“There’s no need for that.” She said. “I have no revisions.”
“Excuse me?” he said.
“If you’ll prepare a final copy I can sign it.” She stated.
“Of course…yeah…yes. I will do that.”
“One more thing before you go.” She said. “As you now know, the Roles case is huge. It will likely have longstanding implications at the federal level, depending on the outcome. While it is being kicked around the various courts for the time being, in the end, it will be federal, and in the end, it will go to trial, the client has made it clear he wants no deal, he wants to clear his name. In four months time, we’ll be preparing opening arguments for a jury, and I’ve selected you for second chair.”
Time stood still.
He had always imagined the moment when one of the partner’s would ask him to assist in a federal trial, but it never looked like this, this was so anticlimactic, there were no cigars, no champagne, it was so simply stated and matter of fact that he thought for certain he had not heard her correctly.
“Federal court is a dog fight. We not only have to fight evidence, and law, we have to fight politics as well. You have to eat, sleep and live this case until the verdict is in. I have more than a dozen federal cases on my plate, so you will have to bend to my schedule. Will that be a problem?”
“Uh, no… no not at all.” He said, reality sinking deep into his bones.
Frederick was a little late meeting the boys that night, but as he settled into his seat and sipped his beer, he ignored the jokes from his colleagues about his new boss.
“But you see fellas”, he said, finally, a wide smile on his face, “you can talk all the mess you want, none of that matters when you’re sitting second chair.”
Mouths fell open. “Bullshit.” James said.
“You’re serious?” Rodney, another associate asked. “She asked you to second chair?”
“Nah man, she doesn’t ask anybody for a damn thing. She told me I was second chair, period.”
“This is bad”, James said shaking his head.
“What the hell are you talking about man?” Rodney said, “the man said he’s second chair.”
“I am telling you, this is no good!” James insisted. “Think about it man, she likes your work, right? She can keep you in that tiny ass office working under her for the rest of your life.”
“First of all the office is not that small, and second of all, if we win this case, that’s it for me, that’s my legal reputation cast in platinum baby! I’m made!”
James knew that he was right. “Well spill the dirt, shit, what’s she really like?”
It had been four months since the day she called him into her office, and Frederick had learned one thing about K, she was the consummate professional; the only thing she ever discussed, was work. If it didn’t have to do with a case, she wasn’t talking about it, it was that simple. They were starting to pull 18 hour days, and even then it seemed that nothing could get under her skin, no matter the task, she was up to it. The boys often teased Frederick that he was learning a lot of secrets through the female grape vine, with K’s otherwise all female staff, but the reality was, since the boss was all about business, so was everyone else. There was no gossip, no long lunches spent shopping or at the spa- it was all about work, and it created an environment that enabled him to get a lot done.
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