Author : Matthew Harrison

It was a struggle, but they managed to get the trainees ready just in time for the cocktail.

“I don’t see why we need to bother,” Simon said as he surveyed the work. He had crumpled his suit, and didn’t have a spare. “We can just explain the firm to the candidates ourselves.”

His partner Maggie, elegant despite the rush, would have none of it. “To attract the best law interns, we have to show them we have the best trainees.”

“And it’s not just getting them ready,” Simon went on, as if he hadn’t heard her. “They have to perform…”

There was no time for Maggie to argue. The first would-be interns were already at reception; Astrid couldn’t hold them for long. Maggie went briskly through the final preparations, glanced quickly at the trainees with their rouged cheeks and crimsoned lips, and then swung the door wide. “Welcome to Chancel Rose!” she beamed at the young visitors.

The cocktail went well. The would-be applicants were awed by all the smart suits and good looks. Maggie whirled around the room, introducing intern to trainee and trainee to intern, and smoothing all with her light banter. Simon, despite his grumbles, did the same, along the way attracting quite a gaggle of impressionable young girls.

“We’re tremendously proud of the professional work we do,” Maggie was saying to one group, “isn’t that right, Michael?” And before the trainee could answer, she had hurried on, “But one thing we insist upon in this firm is work-life balance. ‘Don’t let the law get ahead of the life’ – eh, Petra?”

Petra looked as though the witticism was beneath her. So Maggie took her arm and introduced her to the most talkative of the young male applicants.

That done, she rushed to another group where the conversation was slowing and got the waiter to pour more wine. Then it was on to ginger up another group, and another. Simon was keeping things going on the other side of the room. And Astrid was doing her bit with the young people in the corner.

Just as Maggie’s inventiveness was beginning to flag, Simon picked up a glass and tapped it with a fork. The room fell silent – and then the audio rang out with the firm’s song! Holding hands with Michael and Petra, Maggie led the trainees in a spirited performance, drawing applause from the interns. Simon, throwing himself into it, switched to pop, and cavorted about on the floor. The lights were dimmed, a revolving disco ball cast spangles of light over the proceedings, and the cocktail ended in general dancing.

As the tired applicants streamed out, Maggie was gratified to hear one of them say, “What a firm!”

“Sure,” said another, “they’re so alive!”

“Did you hear that, Simon?” Maggie said afterwards. “A good evening’s work!”

Simon could only agree. And, with Astrid helping, the two of them wound down the trainees so that they could go back into storage.