Bill Hangley sent the following email around the firm, and Michele Hangley did not miss the chance to tease some new associates. Bill’s message:
From: Hangley, William T.
Subject: EAGLES/COWBOYS: MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
We have four tickets available. You know the procedure.
and Michele’s joke:
Subject: FW: EAGLES/COWBOYS: MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
As brand-new associates, you may not be familiar with the ritual known as “the procedure.” Here it is:
When one of these emails circulates, run as quickly as you can to Bill Hangley’s office. Once there, you should perform a cheer (of your own composition) that includes the words “Eagles,” “HASPS,” and “Ampersand.”
Tickets are awarded based on promptness, volume, and creativity in cheer lyrics. Bonus points for costumes and acrobatics. Group presentations are permitted, up to the number of available tickets.
If Bill Hangley is not in his office, feel free to perform “the procedure” for Kathy Boyle, Bill’s secretary, who is also authorized to judge Hangley Aronchick cheers. If Bill Hangley is in a meeting, taking a deposition or on the phone, you’re in luck: go right in and perform your cheer. Because we at Hangley Aronchick feel that it is important to share our offbeat, charming ways with those outside the firm, bonus points are also awarded based on the number of firm outsiders who are present to witness your cheer.
PS: I understand that the Eagles/Cowboys tickets have already been claimed. Therefore, it is too late for you to get your tickets this time. There will be more tickets, however, so you can start working on your cheers now. For inspiration, be sure to ask others in the firm for their best “procedure stories.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: UPDATE!
It turns out that the joke was on Michele. A marketing representative from another major Philadelphia sports team perused our website, found the above entry, and concluded that Michele must be the person responsible at the firm for season ticket purchases. She can’t get rid of him.
All lawyers work under tight deadlines, but we were quite surprised by what one of our adversaries did in a pinch. In a case that did not in any way involve rock music, we received a document production during discovery that included hundreds of pages of irrelevant documents, including a printout of all of the lyrics by the progressive rock band Rush. Yes, that’s decades of lyrics. The kicker? All of the lyrics were stamped “Confidential.” We know that not everyone is as big a fan of the band as our own Alan Promer, but did the lyrics really need to be maintained in confidence?
In the past, the firm’s Executive Committee met weekly. David Pudlin generally dictated the minutes, and they were typed by his secretary, Maria Seamans. Maria circulated the memo below.
Re: EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MINUTES
1. The Executive Committee agreed that the firm should have a HASP Book Club. All employees are required to read the book selected by the newly formed Book Selection Committee. The first selection is Nancy Friday’s My Mother, My Self: The Daughter’s Search for Identity. Although this is a firm-sponsored project, the firm will not reimburse employees for their purchase of the book; that would cheapen the experience. The book discussion will take place at the Friday Lunch on July 29.
2. The Executive Committee does not approve of clichés, however it agreed that David Pudlin is a “people person.”
3. The Executive Committee agreed to hold a cow-naming contest. The winner will be selected by the newly formed Cow Naming Committee, consisting of HEH and DMS, and the announcement will be made after the book club discussion on the 29th. The winner receives a box of Omaha Steaks.
4. The Executive Committee discussed whether anyone actually reads the minutes. Maria Seamans had a good idea for a test.
The father of one of our shareholders passed away. While his family misses him, they are comforted by knowing that he lived a long and happy life. Following is the text of the card that the florist attached to the arrangement from the firm:
“Thinking of you and your family. Hangley Aronchick Segal & Pudlin. There are no commas between Hangley Aronchick Segal & Pudlin.” (Note, the firm’s name changed in 2011 to Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller. Still no commas!)
Matt Hamermesh enjoys difficult math problems, particularly word problems. He completed the celebrated “Lonesome 8” problem in less than half an hour.
Instructions: Determine all the numbers of the problem
From: Gardner, Martin, My Best Mathematical and Logic Puzzles. Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1994.
Like many attorneys, Helen Casale worked her share of odd jobs before taking the plunge into law school. “You name it, I did it,” she claims. And she probably did. Starting with a gig at Burger King while in high school, Helen has also worked at a pet store, a fudge shop, and an amusement park, among others.
Eventually, Helen found a way to incorporate her love of sports into her quest to make some extra cash. As a coach at a basketball camp in the Poconos, Helen spent weeks at a time doing nothing but playing basketball.
An accomplished athlete herself, Helen played both softball and basketball during her undergraduate years at Lynchburg College.
While in college, Eric Bloom worked in Great Britain as a barman in a London pub adjacent to Paddington Station. He learned to throw darts with either hand and achieved renown as one of the worst ambidextrous darts throwers in the history of the British Empire.
Before settling in Philadelphia, Jon Cochran engaged in some extended travel. He spent a year in Dublin as well as a summer studying Turkish in Istanbul. After his first year of law school, Jon spent the summer doing human rights work in the Liberian Ministry of Health. Among his many experiences in Liberia, Jon visited a rubber plantation and survived a home invasion by a large rat.
Alan Promer is a talented songwriter and musician. While attending Harvard Law School, Alan often performed his songs at an “open mic.” He once reported to the Hangley Aronchick litigation group on expert reports by performing a song he had written on the subject. He still occasionally performs with a rock band. He also loves classical music and once presented an hour-long lecture on Mahler’s Sixth Symphony (one of his favorites) to a group of classical music enthusiasts.
Stuart Ebby is a devotee of Irish literature and, in particular, the works of James Joyce. After reading Ulysses, he went on to read anything that he could by and about Joyce and his wife, Nora. Stuart finds Joyce’s prose refreshingly clear and straightforward compared to the mortgages and leases he spends his days negotiating.
One day, Rebecca Melley was doing some research when she couldn’t find a resource she needed. She sent an email around to the whole firm, asking:
“Does anyone know the whereabouts of the PBI publications ‘Collecting & Enforcing Judgments’ and ‘Collection and Enforcement of Judgments’?”
Dan Segal responded, with characteristic wit:
“I believe they were repossessed.”
[And, don’t worry, we found the books.]
Rebecca Melley spent many childhood vacations with her grandparents and other family in Missouri and southern Georgia, where she discovered her love of the outdoors. Boating outings led to several nerve-racking (yet amusing) misadventures on the water. At age 10, a canoe Rebecca shared with some friends got stuck under a log and quickly filled with water before a kind passerby rescued the group from the side of the river by throwing ropes and pulling the girls from the trees. On a separate trip to the Gulf of Mexico, Rebecca’s boat lost an engine just in time for her party to get stuck in a tropical storm (thankfully downgraded from a hurricane). Despite these mishaps, Rebecca still enjoys the outdoors, including boating, fishing, and hiking with her family and friends.
Bill Hangley, sent the following message around the office:
A friend of mine, Al, sent me a couple of excerpts from a book of translations of ancient legal documents. Al thought I’d be particularly interested in the Formula of Excommunication of Animals. (Locusts and caterpillars are enjoined to leave the vineyards within six days, upon failure of which “we excommunicate them through this document and curse them by the same.”) I was more impressed with a certain contract provision, circa 988 A.D. I think we should incorporate it in all agreements we write:
“Now if anyone shall think to infringe on this deed of gift or bring a false action against it, may he be seized with jaundice and smitten with blindness; may he bring his present life to a miserable ending by the most wretched death and undergo everlasting damnation with the devil, where bound with red-hot chains, may he groan for ever and ever, and may the worm that never dies feed on his flesh, and the fire that cannot be quenched he his food and sustenance eternally.”
So much for your limp little liquidated damages or equitable relief clauses.
Although being a trial lawyer is Bill Hangley’s passion, it is certainly not the first career that he has had. He taught music to elementary school children. He still has a great love for music and sings himself. He also had an unsuccessful run for state senate. Since then, he swore off politics and succumbed to a life at law.
Early in his career…really early… Bill was a Good Humor Ice Cream Man and sometimes even suggests that he is as mellow as he appears in the accompanying photo. However, there are countless witnesses and deponents who have sat through a withering Bill Hangley cross-examination who will testify he ain’t no Mister Softee.
When she joined the firm, former college softball player Bonnie Hoffman reconstituted the Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller softball team.
Since then, season after season, many attorneys, paralegals, and staff have come out to enjoy some fun in the sun (and pizza) and compete against other firms. “Team &” may not have won the championship (yet), but there have been plenty of laughs and tons of excitement. Matt Klebanoff served as chief organizer most recently.
Dan Segal and co-conspirator John Summers apparently regard themselves as entertainers. Utilizing a panoply of ridiculous costumes and props, they aggressively and insistently perform the same song, “Goodbye My Coney Island Baby,” at almost every firm function. The singing of Segal and Summers is, how shall we say it, an acquired taste.
David Pudlin is a dedicated squash player. He is active in the squash community, not only as a player but as an organizer and supporter. In 1989, 1997, 2005, 2009, and 2013, David competed in squash as a member of the United States team at the World Maccabiah Games, which are held every four years in Israel, and he was the squash chairman in 1997. In 2013, there were more than 9,000 athletes from more than 50 countries competing in 28 sports at the 19th World Maccabiah Games.
In 2009, David was thrilled to win a gold medal at the World Maccabiah Games. In 1999, he won a silver medal at the Pan American Maccabi Games in Mexico City, and he is quick to note that his law partner, Joe Dworetzky, only received a bronze medal at the Pan American Maccabi games in 2003.
Sharon McKee is a talented photographer, and she speaks Russian and Swedish fluently. Raised amidst the cornfields of Illinois and Iowa, Sharon became a confirmed Swedophile after spending a year in Sweden as a foreign exchange student. Sharon later returned to Sweden to study archaeology, before embarking for the former Soviet Union to work as a translator and editor. Her seven years in the country spanned Brezhnev’s demise and the fall of the Berlin Wall, and she capped her career with a prize for her translation of Culture and Perestroika.
Sharon is the de facto minister of culture and spirit at Hangley Aronchick, and in that capacity the chief scriptwriter for firm skits and celebratory events.
For many years the firm has sponsored lunch on Friday for all the firm’s employees. The lunch is brought in and served in the large conference room in the Philadelphia office and everyone eats together.
The Problem: Over the years the lunch fare had grown predictable and the lunches boring.
The Solution: Exploiting the enormous competitive instincts of those in the office, we set up a ten week competition to produce the “Ultimate Friday Lunch.” The firm agreed to provide to each team of contestants the same budget that the firm was spending for Friday lunches. Each team then was responsible for producing lunch for approximately 100 people within that budget. The quality of the lunch, as well as the creativity of the theme and the quality of the presentation were judged and the votes were calculated and compared to the voting on all the other lunches in the ten week period.
What began as an entertaining experiment to see if the quality of lunches could be improved quickly turned into an extravaganza. Over the ten weeks, every kind of food was presented from Pennsylvania Dutch to Southern Italian to Sushi to Texas Barbecue.
As the contest developed the thematic presentations became more elaborate. Thus, on one Friday a Chinese gong was tolled throughout the office to mark the beginning of lunch. On another, a Neapolitan accordion player strolled throughout the halls providing atmosphere.
While the competition for the best lunch was close, the worst lunch was easy to determine. Two people served a meal perfectly suited for children under five – including hot dogs, mac and cheese and juice boxes.
After the ten weeks were over and the champions had been honored, many missed the competition. As a result, we have “re-booted” the competition several times. There was a memorable Iron Chef Competition, with David Scolnic taking honors for “Sumptuous Souvlaki” (thanks to a caterer). We’ve even had a dessert competition.
Our associates often email each other with questions or comments on the law. They always welcome the important guidance that they get.
From: New Associate
Subject: When I read some things it makes me feel better about being a lawyer . . .
“The underlying purpose of law and government is human happiness and contentment, to be brought about by the satisfaction of human desires in the highest practicable degree.”
– Corbin on Contracts. . . the first sentence of the treatise.
Among the many responses:
From: Name Withheld
Subject: Re: Re: When I read some things it makes me feel better about being a lawyer . . .
The second sentence:
That having been said, the more immediate purpose of law and government is to compel our adversary to bow to our will, rendering us victorious.
The third sentence:
And all that is well and good, but the most proximate purpose of law and government is to get that deadbeat rat bastard to pay us the stinking money he owes, pronto.
Hangley Aronchick real estate attorney Richard Goldstein was concerned about some potential objections that might be raised concerning his client’s plans at an upcoming land use hearing. To that end, he sent the following e-mail message around the firm: “Subject: Please let me know if you have the name of a good noise expert.”
Joe Dworetzky quickly responded:
“My daughter, Anna, is a noise expert.”
Anna was unavailable for comment.
Michele Hangley circulated the following email to everyone at the firm:
“Does anyone have a large inflatable palm tree that I can borrow at the end of April?
Believe it or not, this is a business-related request.”
Dylan Steinberg started performing at an early age, with avian cameos as an owl and a crow in junior theater productions. He caught his big beak, err, break, when he was cast as the Pirate King in a production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance at the age of 10. He has been performing in one capacity or another ever since. In college, he sang with the men’s a cappella octet Sixteen Feet and was the music director for Chess, the first musical produced in the then-newly constructed Lang Performing Arts Center. Since college, he has been singing with the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia.
When not parenting his four frequently annoying children, Joe Dworetzky is a prolific writer and illustrator. More than two dozen of his stories have appeared, under various pen names, in literary magazines and journals. His cartoons and illustrations have appeared in The Huffington Post and various online publications. His first book – a comic novel for young adults published in 2014 – chronicled a dysfunctional family who appeared as unlikely contestants on a reality TV show. Joe is currently working on a collection of political cartoons about the 2016 presidential campaign.
Monica Rebuck grew up on a cattle farm in central Pennsylvania. She took advantage of that background when she purchased at an auction a life-sized fiberglass cow for the firm’s Philadelphia office. The cow was part of a collection of cows, each with a different design, that were displayed in different venues around Harrisburg and later auctioned for charity. One day, the cow showed up unannounced in the Philadelphia office. It’s been there ever since.