Saturday, November 28, 2009

An Akin Gump Anecdote: Earl L. Segal, Esq.

The following anecdote is drawn from memory. I don't keep a diary.

In late October 1988 I had been employed as a legal assistant at the DC law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld since March 1988. The partner in charge of the Legal Assistant Program was a real estate lawyer named Earl L. Segal, Esq. The Legal Assistant Administrator was named Maggie Sinnott.

In mid-October 1988 I wrote an autobiographical study called "The Caliban Complex: An Attempt at Self Analysis," and mailed a copy of the document to three paralegals I had worked with at another firm, Hogan & Hartson: Craig W. Dye, Daniel D. Cutler, and Michael J. Wilson, Esq. (now a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius).

I had been terminated by Hogan in late February 1988. A coworker at Hogan, Mary Jane Coolen, said at the time to me: "Think of this as a blessing in disguise."

On a rainy Friday in late October 1988 I arranged to have lunch at The Cafe Mozart, a DC restaurant, with three former coworkers from Hogan: Daniel Cutler, Mary Jane Coolen, and Cindy Rodda. Craig Dye was on vacation at the time. I know the lunch was after I sent Daniel Cutler a copy of my autobiographical study. (I had already formed the theory that someone at Hogan was in communication with someone at Akin Gump concerning me.

During the lunch I provided Daniel Cutler the name and telephone number of Maggie Sinnott, the Legal Assistant Administrator at Akin Gump. I was feeling lonely and isolated at Akin Gump, and thought it would be a fun idea if Daniel Cutler got a job at Akin Gump. I thought if Daniel Cutler got a job at Akin Gump, I would have a ready-made friend at the firm. Daniel Cutler seemed eager and interested in pursuing the job lead I gave him. He said he would call Maggie Sinnott.

Coinicidentally, Albert Einstein did the same thing when he worked at the Swiss Patent Office. He had no friends at the Patent Office, and got a job there for his old friend, Michele Besso.

I remember showing Mary Jane Coolen my pay check that contained the signature of the accounting office manager at Akin Gump, Joseph Blessing. I said to Mary Jane (referring back to the comment she made to me in February at Hogan): "You see, Mary Jane, getting hired at Akin Gump was, in fact, a 'Blessing' in disguise." She laughed. This tells me the lunch was on a Friday afternoon, after I got my paycheck.

Be that as it may.

At 5:30 that afternoon, I was leaving the office for the weekend. I worked on the fifth floor at that time. I walked out into the elevator area, and I saw two people: Earl L. Segal, Esq. and the young associate, Amy Cohen, Esq. Earl Segal looked at me in the strangest way. It was a look of strong negative emotion. I believed the look was directed at me, but didn't know what the look meant.

I got on the elevator to leave the building. Amy Cohen got on the elevator with me. The elevator door closed. Amy Cohen said to me: "I forgot my umbrella." (That tells me it was a rainy day.) Then she spurted out: "Are you stupid?" I replied: "I'm not the one who forgot his umbrella."

I reasoned that Daniel Cutler had telephoned Maggie Sinnott or Earl Segal at Akin Gump about my job proposition. Earl Segal thought that I had acted stupidly. I have no other inferences.

Are these "ideas of reference" or expressions of some other psychological phenomena? See Freedman v. D.C. Dept. Human Rights, D.C.C.A. 96-CV-961 (Sept. 1, 1998) (an employer may lawfully determine an employee unfit for employment if he exhibits "ideas of reference").

1 comment:

Gary Freedman said...

After Einstein graduated with an undistinguished record, he made a number of efforts to get a university job, and failed. He found only occasional jobs on the periphery of the academic world. He felt he was a burden on his none too prosperous family, and wondered if he had been mistaken in trying to become a physicist. Finally he got a position at the Swiss Patent Office in Bern. It was "a kind of salvation," he said. The regular salary and the stimulating work evaluating patent claims freed Einstein. He now had time to devote his thought to the most basic problems of physics of his time, and began to publish scientific papers.

Einstein's closest friend, with whom he walked home from the Patent Office every day, was Michele Besso. Einstein thought him "the best sounding board in Europe" for scientific ideas. Einstein got a job for Besso at the Patent Office so that the two friends could work together.

With other friends in Bern, all unknown to the academic world, Einstein met regularly to read and discuss books on science and philosophy. They called themselves the Olympia Academy, mocking the official bodies that dominated science.