In about 3-1/2 hours Lorinda Wheeler and I will reach a milestone. We started working together on March 26, 1990, 9131 days ago. (An HP12c is great for counting days; for those who slice and dice a bit less, and don’t need a fancy calculator to count, think 25 years!)
Here’s the history, in a quick nutshell. I had a secretary in my first law firm, for about 16 months. I joined another firm, where I stayed for 16+ years. I shared a secretary briefly, then I shared another for a year or so. Given a choice, she stuck by me when we hired another—back in the day attorney-secretary ratios were usually 1:1; now they’re 3:1 or greater—and we lasted until early 1990. The day came when she’d had enough of me and it ended badly, as I had a client meeting which interfered with her quitting plans.
Soon after, I hired a new secretary. I was assured, by a former partner and good friend to this day, that this woman could handle the output. Alas, she was a week behind by 1:30 on her first day.
Lorinda Wheeler showed up soon after. She looked like she was 14. She wasn’t, but she was too young to order a drink—she didn’t imbibe, and that’s only one of many ways in which we are different—and way too young to rent a car, but she got that “behind” thing resolved within days, and has been my savior ever since!
Lorinda has put up with plenty. True confession: I’m not as easy as I seem … and if you think it’ll be funny to riff on that, I’m taking names! (A former law partner, now a public official, still calls me Growly. As if!)
Lorinda and I have survived three births—two of hers, and one of “mine”—together, along with health issues, three office moves, two firm changes, and several emphasis shifts in my practice. (That means she has learned how to do transactional work, general litigation, bankruptcy, probate, etc.) Throughout, she’s been a total trouper, tolerating my moods, difficult cases, clients, and counsel (none of whom, of course, read MRW), my occasional whimsies, my moods (Oh, already mentioned!), etc. Of course, I failed to mention the fact that her output is phenomenal—she supports three of us, now—and the quality of her work is always first-rate.
On Thursday morning there will be a small celebration at Mesch, Clark & Rothschild, P.C. at 10:15 a.m. I’ve baked, and I’ll have some words to share with Lorinda and our staff. Pictures later!
If you’ve dealt with Lorinda and you want to congratulate her on 25 years with me, her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you really know her, feel free to drop by; there’s too much food, for sure! And, regardless, if someone with whom you work makes you look good every day, whether or not you deserve it or say thank you often enough, take this opportunity to give him or her a hug and say Thanks!
In closing, a few years ago—it may have been our 20th anniversary, for time does fly—a friend observed that Lorinda and I are “lucky to have one another.” Kind words, half right!