Marquel, TPVs Times switch correspond
It reminded Marquel of the Shakespeare line, “first thing we do is kill all the lawyers.” Not that Marquel likes lawyers especially, but this seemed to be going too far. Or maybe not. Sometimes it’s good to know some facts. But Marquel wasn’t going back to Detroit. That would definitely be going to far. Instead he went downtown where some former GM lawyers were working….as paralegals.
We met in a deli. I asked him what his present responsibilities are.
“I basically go through the mail and sort it.” He said.
“So you’re the mailboy.” I said.
“No, I’m a paralegal.” he insisted.
“Do you deliver the mail, also?” I asked.
“Of course. I don’t keep it after I sort it.” he noted.
“I believe you. You’re a mailboy.”
He squirmed. I didn’t want to lose my interview so I adopted a bit of kindness, something hard to do around lawyers.
“So what did you do at GM and why aren’t you there any more?”
“I was in charge of safety regulations.” he said. “I reviewed crash reports, engineering reports, repair reports.”
“So what happened with this ignition switch? I hear they’re blaming the lawyers.” I asked.
“Yes, that’s true. It’s easy to do, because lawyers are in a tough spot now.” I looked inquiringly. “There are far less jobs. We have nowhere to turn.”
“So where did you turn?” I asked.
“I tried to fix the switch myself.” he informed me.
“How would you even be able to do that?” I asked.
“Well the drawings were forwarded to me, and it seemed if the top half were joined too the bottom half, a heavy key ring wouldn’t tend to disconnect the switch.” he said. “So I drew a line from the top to the bottom. That’s all I did at first.”
“And the result?” I asked.
“Two more accidents. With the top and bottom joined, it was difficult to stop the car, the opposite problem they’d been having.” he said.
“So I guess that was the end of lawyer cum engineer for you?” I asked.
“No, I felt so badly that I took another look at the switch and decided they should be separated after all, so I took the line out, and I added a second key ring that would automatically break if you put keys on it.” he said.
“And that was meant to…” I paused.
“Prevent people from hanging heavy rings on the switch which tended to break the switch.” He said.
“How’d that work out?” I asked.
“Not as well as I’d imagined.” he said. “The key ring kept breaking while people were driving and they would be searching under the seat while driving on the thruway. Two more deaths.”
“Tell me,” I said, trying to look thoughtful and concerned. “What made you think that you could engineer a part that required analysis and experience?”
“I’m a lawyer.” he said.
“And?” I asked.
“We learn to be generalists. They always say that if you have a law degree you can write your own ticket. Plus my mother always said I could fix anything.”
“Your mother.” I commented.
“Yes,” he said, “lawyers have them.”
“I’ve heard that too. You can’t always believe everything you hear.” I said. “So, because law school teaches that you’re generalists…” I said.
“And can therefore master almost everything because of our heightened ability to analyze…” he interrupted.
“You thought you could solve this problem on your own.” I said.
“Yes, but you have to consider the market.” he said. “lawyers jobs are drying up. We’re a dying species. Everything is being out contracted to cheap firms, things are being done by mere executives, and everybody’s trying to save on lawyer fees, so we knew our time was limited. I felt I had to act.”
“Well you did that. And killed four people.” I said. “How does that feel?”
“It feels like I might have to go into another area. Being a generalist, I think I could probably land on my feet in any area, so once I deliver this last load of mail, I’m going to the headhunter company and see if they can get me a job as a CEO.”
“That should work,” I said, and I meant it.
BY MARQUEL: G.M. Lawyers Will Soon Come from ABA-Accredited Law Schools