There were mixed emotions at our recent management meeting. On the one hand, Mr Pettifog has blown the annual training budget by going on several overseas trips. But in fairness, and as he pointed out, he hasn’t spent any of the firm’s money on training himself since 1973. Fortunately, no-one from the Law Society or SRA has ever asked to see his training log.
On a more positive note, his frequent travel has meant he hasn’t been in the office much recently, and when he has, he has been almost pleasant to several members of staff. During the management meeting he made two constructive suggestions, which so astonished our minute-taker, Deirdre Sprockett, that she spilt her tea on the previous meeting’s minutes, which caused her great distress.
The speculation in the Silver Trough (the staff canteen for non-partners) is that he has a girlfriend or, as Stuart from accounts would have it, boyfriend. But that’s all wrong, as only the partners know. The only thing he is in love with is the possibility of becoming a UPC (Unified Patent Court) judge.
Mr Pettifog is doing everything he can think of to get himself appointed to this office. He has recently attended several meetings of the Metropolitan Grand Lodge, where he has been a dormant member for many years. There, he has pestered a number of fellow-members who are senior judges, asking them to support his application. Last week, he went on the BBC’s Today Programme, to comment on the UPC (and thereby raise his profile as an expert on international patent law), but unfortunately the editor cancelled his 8.54 am slot at the last minute, to make way for breaking news of a house fire in Weston-Super-Mare.
Someone has told him that he needs to demonstrate a proper judicial attitude, and to be receptive to formal training. He has taken this to heart by attending every meeting he comes across that might be relevant. Last month he attended a conference in Budapest, organised by the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office, with the impressive-sounding title Conference opening and press conference on the training of UPC judges and their new Training Centre. After the sixth welcoming speech by a European dignitary and the start of a question-and-answer session for the assembled press, it dawned on Mr Pettifog that perhaps this wasn’t the detailed training he had been hoping for. Still, he enjoyed his stay in the presidential suite at the Budapest Hilton.
Our finance committee can’t make up its mind whether to chastise Mr Pettifog for wasting the firm’s money, or to encourage him in his endeavours to become a judge. If the latter could be achieved, he would have to resign from the firm, which would save us a small fortune and free up his room for conversion into an open-plan office for 6 junior solicitors.