The Practice
Honor Code

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Dawn of a new Lump

The Firm. Gordon Keane, an attorney for Brentford Mutual, a large insurance firm, explains the intricacies of the barter system needed to settle his case to Bobby, Eugene, and Jimmy. Apparently, his side is offering four hundred and fifty thousand while the plaintiff is holding out for six and a quarter. Emperor Rod wonders why they are prepared to go trial over one hundred and seventy five thousand dollars. Gordon shakes his head: "The insurance industry as a whole is taking a hit because we're paying out too much in damage claims." They need to change their image. Appear to be ready to litigate, so they don't come up "soft." Okay, don't even get me started on the world of insurance agencies. A necessary evil of sorts, the Joan Rivers of the business world, okay in small doses of ridicule but you really don't want to see her hosting The Tonight Show any time soon. Files are spread out all over the conference table. Jimmy sits facing Gordon, across from Eugene. Rod, of course, sits at the head of the table, waiting for someone to emboss his crown with new gold leaf. Eugene: "What about these big jury awards? That doesn't scare you?" Exactly! A voice of reason in a choir of fools. Gordon explains that they have to go to trial and win. There's no other way to keep all the money for themselves and away from legitimate victims suffering from their injuries. Jimmy bobs his head up and down, pretending to listen. I hated the head bobbers when I was in university. I wanted to know what the hell they were agreeing with all the damn time, sitting there, listening to the professor, bobbing up and down and up and down, pausing to write for a second, then resuming their bobbing. Rod: "And this starts tomorrow?" Gordon points his finger across the table at the Emperor; yes, the proceedings do start tomorrow, but if the plaintiff sees The Firm present, they'll know they mean business. So, essentially, Keane is using The Firm as a giant decoy. The Firm is a quacking mallard on the legal pond of life. Bobby explains that he and his team are primarily criminal lawyers. Gordon says he understands, but -- and there is always a "but" on this damn show -- they're going to draw a blue collar jury (Jimmy's bag) and the plaintiff is African-American, as are numerous members of the jury (Eugene's bag). They want to avoid bias on all fronts. They want Eugene to do the cross-examination, so he appeals to both the plaintiff and the members of the jury. Gordon slides a videotape across the table to Eugene and explains that it's the deposition. He's really clinging to the idea that bringing The Firm over will push the other side to settle. Jimmy's back gets up for a second: "The client is poor, working class?" Nope. Gordon: "The plaintiff is a ten-year-old boy. Our client ran him over with his S.U.V." Bobby: "But he survived." Oh! Yes! That's why the plaintiff is holding out for six and a quarter -- hey, if he had died, the family would have settled for three. No one can face Gordon after he says this, even after he apologizes for sounding like a cold-hearted bastard.

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The Practice

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