From County of Carleton Law Association Bulletin, May 1997.
April 11th. Friday. Busy office, 105 factums to be "produced" served and filed at S.C.C. Registry. Plus about another 45 expected to be served on us same day. "Produced" meaning anything from copying, assembling and binding to writing and signing. And anything and everything in between. Lotsa paper-each factum copied x 24 for S.C.C. alone. Up to 200/300 pages each. Deadline for Québec Secession Reference Interveners' factums as well. Intervention city.
Much ado. No legal stuff that day. Just work. Today anyway. No appointments. S.C.C. courtrunner sore back. Bike downstairs. Bicycle buggy too (for children later). Helmet. Shades. Spare cycling gear: tee shirt, (tartan) cycling tights. Am off. Look the part.
First to large unnamed firm with a "No-Couriers-Please" direct elevator. Helmet, shades, cycling gear. Press the "No-Couriers-Please" elevator button. Inside, Holt-Renfrew-clad-female-worker wrinkles nose on my way up. Sure I showered this morning. Knowing assigned place, exit last.
Ask receptionist to accept service of factums. No. Has to be secretary. "Please wait". Arrives. Me: "Good morning". Her: "Over here" with wave of arm to desk away from reception area. Her: "You're missing two copies". Not in fact, but say "ok". She signs. Me: "Thank you". No reply. Looks. Silence. Walks.
Back to office to get 24 copies for S.C.C., as now have necessary proof of service. Staff say secretary calls to complain about me. Staff say "He's not in", so leaves message for me: "Your new courier knows nothing. Two books are missing. Where'd you get him?"
Cycle over to S.C.C. File factums. Not noticed. No problem. Head back.
Get waved to by other couriers. Wave back. Not good at waving. Involves elevating forearm, and also small wrist movement with left hand, suggestive of Chief Sitting Bull very hesitantly coming in peace. Definitely need practice. Also need earring and walkie-talkie duct taped to shoulder strap of backpack.
Back to office again. Various screw-ups. Late-arriving factum. Faxed pages screwy. Fax machine drinking single malts all night. Factums need copying and binding and cover page, but fixing up first. Help out. "Cut and paste?" Hey, top of my kindergarten class: Cut'n paste 101.
Wee emergency. Single advance draft factum arrives from out-of-town. To be served "as a courtesy" on Department of Justice-nothing's a courtesy. Everything's a strategy. At Justice, meet couriers who've followed/preceded me. All running the same race. Same pit stops. Hippie-thumb-lock-handgrip-handshakes all around. Discuss rates per letter. Per package. Mudguards. Pros and cons of lock/don't lock. Me: "I lock". They: "New?" Me: "Yup". Heaven's Gate cult jokes. Know one about Bre-X share certificates in each wallet. Back slapped. Joined the club. Hold Justice elevator for exiting paralegal from No-Couriers-Please law firm. No need to say thank you.
Various toing and froing. Moving fast. Serving here. Filing there. One-way streets. Sidewalks. Made for a bike.
The biggie. Two Québec Secession factums served all over the place, and across river in Hull. Multiple sets. Multiple visits. Bicycle buggy filled. Time tight. No time for affidavits if service refused. Court closed as 5:00 p.m. "5 drops". (Got the lingo).
Over to Hull first. "Bonjour Madame" to receptionist. Silence. Maybe don't speak French here. Try English. No English either. She into telephone:- "Maître_______, le porteur est ici". Maître arrives. Reads first half of factum "Hmm. Oui. Ok." Accepts service. Signs. I say his first name. Say mine. Much blushing, (he, not receptionist). "Have a nice day. Must be good to get out of the office". Receptionist suddenly remembers both English and French, smiles and agrees.
Justice again, then downtown. Call office. Report that served wrong firm in Hull. Much panic. Count to 10. Then file correct status report.
Now to unnamed-law-firm-high-up-on-outside-of-building. Receptionist won't sign. "Not firm policy". Secretary on break. Lawyer? "In meeting". She: "Do Affidavit. Here's my name." Me: "Would you be so kind as to let Mr. ________ know that Mr. Meehan is here to see him for just a moment". Arrives. Walks past. He: "Mr. Meehan?" loudly. Me: "Me". He: "Mr. Meehan?" Me: "Me". Put out my hand. He: "You're not Mr. Meehan. Where's Mr. Meehan?" Take off shades. "Holy _____". Signs. Discusses weather. Whether Senators will be in playoffs.
Back to "No-Courier-Elevator" law firm. Me: "Good Afternoon". She: "You got those two missing books?" Me: "Yes". She: "Back in a minute. Wait here". Wait. 5 minutes. 10. Then go through all of Ottawa Citizen. Receptionist leans forward. Stares when sit on sofa. Read more. Eat candies from bowl. Receptionist counting. Put newspaper between her and candies. Read Sports. Don't even like Sports. Secretary returns. Signs. Offer my hand and take helmet off. Think she'll call 911. Take off shades. "Hi ________(her first name). It's Eugene. Our offices talk daily on S.C.C. matters." Silence. 5 seconds. She: "My, it's really warming up out there now, don't you find?" Receptionist now also smiles and also agrees. Me: "It was much cooler this morning".
Last drop-off before S.C.C. filing. Bicycle buggy emptying out. Cycle faster. Get to unnamed-law-firm-which-owns-own-separate-building. Park bike and buggy. Taxi arrives. Driver unloads luggage trolley, 2 boxes, 1 big bag. Female Family Law lawyer, another firm. Gets out. Looks at stairs. "Can I help?" "Sure." Load trolley. Carry upstairs. Into lobby. She: "You're so kind. You must move boxes a lot with your job. Can I give you a tip?" Hesitate. Celtic genes need holding back. Elect to decline. "Colleagues in the profession don't have to tip each other. It's me Eugene." Her face as red as tartan cycling tights.
Over to SCC Registry. On way, pick up dozen pastries. Drop off (with factums at Court. Worked there before. Know desk staff. Now recognize me. taken as much with the tartan cycling tights as with the factums. Actually, factums of little interest. Deny authorship. Pastries more interesting.
Friday next? Neurosurgery for the day. Where's that cordless drill.