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JIM “PAPPY” MOORE: Pride of Authorship

By Jim “Pappy” Moore

Many of us have recurring dreams. Teachers tend to have dreams of classroom situations they experienced over the years. Lawyers will dream of events in a courtroom or in the office. 

Sometimes the dreams are quite accurate in the development of the matter at hand. Other times they simply seem to have one problem after another that must be solved. Recently I had a dream during one of my delightful three-hour naps which had me chuckling with fondness as I awoke.

In the dream I was at my old downtown Houston law firm. A young lawyer had come to my office with a draft of a letter which a senior partner in the firm had told the baby lawyer to write. I looked it over and then began to quiz the youngster about his instructions from the senior attorney. As he spoke, I took notes. At the conclusion, I turned to my Dictaphone, picked it up, and proceeded to dictate a letter in which I covered the topic with great panache, handed the tape to the young attorney and said “have Karen type this up and then bring me the draft; we’ll talk about it.” 

The baby lawyer did as told. Soon we were both looking at my draft. I had him make sure I got the facts right and had said the things the senior attorney had wanted. He assured me it did. I told him “have Karen put the partner’s name on it, then take it to his secretary for his signature.” 

The young lawyer did as instructed, but he wanted to talk with me about it. He said “why didn’t the senior partner just ask you to write it?” I replied “because he wanted me to teach you how to write it.” He replied “why didn’t he just say that?” I told him “because he wanted to see if you had sense enough to get help.” He grumbled the way baby lawyers do when treated like they’re toddlers (which they are). 

The reason I knew the drill was because I lived the drill when I was a baby lawyer. Back then the seniormost lawyer in the firm sat me down and rattled off a bunch of facts and law, then told me to write a letter for him to sign. I did so, using my copious notes of his instructions. His secretary typed the draft of the letter and gave it to Mr. Name Partner, who marked it up heavily and re-wrote it entirely. He had a reputation for being difficult, and often got in the bottle while having a late lunch at the Inns of Court, where I had to occasionally retrieve him after staff there called and told us to have someone pick him up.

Disgruntled, I asked a junior attorney why Mr. Name Partner had told me what to write, then blasted me for writing exactly what the senior partner had said to write. Junior attorney replied “you know the term ‘pride of authorship’?” I replied “yes.” He responded “well, he has no pride in your authorship!”

We both laughed and cussed out the old drunk for his obstinate ways.

That’s why I woke up from my nap today laughing.

Copyright 2024, Jim “Pappy” Moore. All rights reserved.

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