Obtuse Quotes

Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Categories: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see... " "You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?" "No, " said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people." "Odd, " said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy." "I did, " said Ford. "It is." "So, " said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't people get rid of the lizards?" "It honestly doesn't occur to them, " said Ford. "They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want." "You mean they actually vote for the lizards?" "Oh yes, " said Ford with a shrug, "of course." "But, " said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?" "Because if they didn't vote for a lizard, " said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?" "What?" "I said, " said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, "have you got any gin?" "I'll look. Tell me about the lizards." Ford shrugged again. "Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happenned to them, " he said. "They're completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone's got to say it." "But that's terrible, " said Arthur. "Listen, bud, " said Ford, "if I had one Altairian dollar for every time I heard one bit of the Universe look at another bit of the Universe and say 'That's terrible' I wouldn't be sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin.

Douglas Adams
I found that while transition into practicing law was difficult, it was eased by following a few simple guidelines. Among them were these: First, I tried to emphasize quality over quantity. My firm, as with any firm, wanted to be sure that the legal advice it provided to clients was of the highest quality. As a result, firms seek associates who can analyze issues correctly and independently, and fully explore all relevant avenues. However, the temptation as a new associate is to rush through the first few assignments, in an attempts to seem efficient. I remember a summer associate who kept racing through assignments, hoping to impress the lawyers he was working for. His first two assignments were intended to last a week or more, yet he completed each of them in a single day! His third project was even larger, and should have taken 3 weeks to complete - yet he submitted his analysis after 3 days. At that point, one of my colleagues had to explain to him that the quality of his work mattered much more than how much he completed. Needless to say, I wasn't surprised when he wasn't invited back for a permanent position. Second, I always tried to avoid asking questions when I could figure out the answers with a little research or independent footwork. Like other junior associates, I had to walk a fine line between clarifying assignments and relevant facts on the one hand, and seeming lazy or obtuse on the other. Once, shortly after I joined the firm, a senior partner asked me to research an issue for a meeting later that afternoon. Minutes after leaving his office, I realized that I didn't have a firm grasp of the issue he wanted researched. As I hastily began walking back to the partner's office, I mentioned to a mid-level associate working on the same case that I was going to ask the partner to clarify my assignment. The mid-level associate looked at me and said, 'Are you sure you want to do that?' I knew immediately the answer was no; the partner was extremely busy with his own work and would only lose confidence in me if he had to explain the issue twice. I decided to review the materials I had again and, as I did many times thereafter, eventually figured out the issue on my own. Third, I always tried to be as thorough as possible. It's just crucial to look at an assignment from every angle - to make sure that every research resource and case is current, to analyze alternative theories or approaches, and to provide a full answer to the legal issue being examined. Trust me - being thorough is a good preventative for sleepless nights. This point was brought home to me while researching some new accounting standards for a senior partner at the firm. After finding certain accounting guidelines that seemed to apply to the facts at hand, I brought them into the partner's office and told him that I thought they were the right ones. He looked at them quickly and said that there were other standards that were more directly on point. He sent me back to the library with instructions to bring him a specific book containing the standards he had in mind. I went to the library, found the book, and returned to his office, where he was waiting to review it. He flipped through the table of contents, then the index, and then through a few pages. Finally, he found the page he was seeking, and said, 'Ah, here it is. You know, there's a reason why we pay you young guys $90, 000 a year. It's because we expect you to dig a little deeper.' As it turned out, the provision he found was identical to the one I'd dug up; it just didn't seem that way to him because it was published in a very different format. But the experience revealed not only the firm's high expectations of my ability to research issues thoroughly, but also its belief that it was entitled to such thoroughness because it was paying top dollar for associates.

WIlliam R. Keates
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