Thursday, June 21, 2012

One Singular Sensation: Recollections of Jeffrey Orchinik

When I was in law school I was employed as a law clerk at the firm of Sagot & Jennings in Philadelphia, from June 1981 to August 1982.  One of the associates, Jeffrey Orchinik, worked closely with Tom Jennings on matters relating to ERISA (The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974).

Mr. Orchinik was a year older than I.  He was a graduate of The Central High School of Philadelphia, a summa cum laude graduate of SUNY-Buffalo (where he majored in psychology), and had earned his law degree at Temple University.  One of his law school professors was Jerome "Jerry" Sloan ("It's all the same case," Sloan was known to say repeatedly).  Tom Jennings once told me he thought Orchinik was "brilliant."

Jeffrey Orchinik and I had extremely minimal contact at the firm.  I have several recollections of him, however.

I remember that on a Friday evening in early 1982 I worked late.  It was about 9:00 PM.  I thought I was alone in the office.  But Jeffrey Orchinik stopped by my office as he was leaving.  He had participated in a law conference and his picture had been published in a conference publication.  He wanted to show me his picture.  I found that odd given the fact we had virtually nothing to do with each other.

On one occasion in about late 1981 I was among a crowd of people walking out of a theater in downtown Philadelphia after a performance of the musical, A Chorus Line.  Someone called out to me, "Hey, Gar!"  I turned.  It was Jeffrey Orchinik.  "What did you think of the show?"  I had a paranoid suspicion he just wanted me to see his girlfriend.

In the summer of 1981 I was assigned the task of writing a pleading to be filed in bankruptcy court.  My supervising attorney, Steven Ritner, suggested I review the pleading with Jeffrey Orchinik.  Ritner explained that Orchinik was knowledgeable about bankruptcy law.  I can still remember the case.  The firm's client had obtained a state court damage award against a party whose debts had been stayed in bankruptcy.  I had to write a pleading to be filed in bankruptcy court to "stay the bankruptcy stay," enabling our client to collect on the damage award.  Jeffrey Orchinik reviewed the pleading with me.  The pleading I wrote contained the phrase "on or about."  Orchinik said, "Leonard always says, 'Don't say on or about.  You either know the date or you don't know the date.  If you know the date say on.  If you don't know the date say on about."  Orchinik said I did a good job with the pleading.  In fact our client obtained the bankruptcy court "stay of the stay."  By the way, the attorney whose case that was was a young fellow named Michael Durst.  I wonder whatever happened to Durst.  He went on to get an LL.M. in tax law at New York University Law School.  I still remember Durst's farewell party when he left the firm, held at Steven Ritner's apartment in downtown Philadelphia.  I remember the exact date.  It was July 29, 1981 -- the day Prince Charles married Lady Diana.  How could anyone ever forget: "I, Charles, Philip, Arthur, George."

1 comment:

Gary Freedman said...

"Leonard always says"

That was Leonard Sagot, Esq., father of Neil Sagot, Esq.