Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A David Callet Recollection: Mind Like a Steel Trap!!

I worked as a paralegal at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld from March 1988 till late October 1991.  From 1988 till 1990 I worked predominantly on a document production task for the client Eastern Airlines.

On the weekend of Saturday August 13 - Sunday August 14, 1988 I was requested to work overtime on a task in preparation for the so-called Eastern asset transfer litigation that was to commence on Monday August 15, 1988, which also happened to be the birth date of Vernon Jordan and Napoleon Bonaparte.  Fellow legal assistant Phil Feigen also worked that weekend.

I was assigned the task of digesting a lengthy deposition transcript.  On Saturday August 13 I telephoned the home of David Callet, one of the senior attorneys on the case, to ask what degree of depth he expected.  Mr. Callet wasn't home.  I spoke to Mr. Callet's wife Bette Callet who said, "David is at the office."  (I had first telephoned the home of Akin Gump partner Joel Cohn, but he wasn't home.)

I spoke by telephone with Mr. Callet about the deposition transcript.  He said to me: "The more information you can provide the more valuable the digest will be."

I worked nonstop till the beginning of the work day on Monday August 15.  J.D. Neary, the legal assistant coordinator, told me that I could go home and not return until Tuesday.  I left a note on the desk of Maggie Sinnott, the firm's legal assistant administrator that read: "I'll be taking the day off to celebrate Napoleon's birthday."

On Tuesday August 16, 1988 I had lunch with Craig Dye and Michael Wilson at a Thai restaurant on P Street.  After lunch I asked Craig and Michael if they wanted to stop up to my office to get a look.  They agreed.  As we were entering the Robert S. Strauss Building David Callet saw me entering the office with Michael Wilson and Craig Dye.  Mr. Callet turned to the person he was with and made a comment.  I assumed that Mr. Callet was surprised to see me with two cool dudes in view of my social isolation at the firm; but that is paranoid conjecture.

Craig admired the art work that decorated the hallways at the office.  I showed Craig and Michael my office on the fifth floor.   When they were about to leave, I said: "It's been great guys."  I had borrowed the phrase from the Eastern Airlines deposition witness whose transcript I had digested.  At the end of the deposition, the witness -- perhaps the accountant Farrell Coopersmith -- turned to the Akin Gump partner Joel Cohn and others present and said, "It's been great guys." 

Coopersmith had been hired by the Eastern Airlines pilots union to serve as a consultant.

Mind like a steel trap!!

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