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A Barrister’s Carol (Act 2 of 2)

Act 2 of 2  (A Barrister’s Carol Act 1 of 2)

The following evening, Gill is still at his desk reviewing a survey and comparing the related title documents.  He convinced himself that Roger’s appearance the night before was a dream- a product of being overworked.  He continues to work into the night.

[The ghost of first year associate appears.  This ghost is young and gentle, with a certain naiveté and perpetually confused expression. Gill, shocked, knocks his triple shot espresso over on the survey.]

Gill: Are you the spirit whose coming was foretold to me? Who are you?

Ghost 1: I am the ghost of first year associate. [The Spirit takes Gill by the hand and the two pass through the firm’s walls and onto the streets of downtown Baltimore. They float to Gill’s first job at a firm several blocks away]

Gill: My old firm! [The Ghost continues to bring Gil to his old office] My old desk! [In walks a young Gil, obviously flustered.]

Young Gill: Wow, I am so embarrassed. I can’t believe I made so many mistakes drafting that stock pledge agreement.  How did I not catch these? I am going to get fired.

[Email from partner comes in: Next time, documents go on my ledge, not on my desk.  Your typos are poor form. Review the attached IDOT and draft an assignment. Due tomorrow.]

Young Gill: IDOT? What is that? We never learned about those in property law.

Gill to Ghost 1: Look at me. So young, so naïve and so SLOPPY! Didn’t I know how to proofread?

[Young Gill gets text message from serious girlfriend asking when he will be home. Young Gill gets upset at the inquiry: What time am I coming home? I’m not! I am trying to build a career. She doesn’t get it. I need to bill these hours. Money is the key to all things.]

Gill to Young Gill: You idiot! Answer her!

Ghost 1: We must now return. It is almost morning.

[Day two, Gill is continuing to work into the night. The ghost of associate life present enters his office. This ghost is much sterner, heavier and with graying hair.]

Gill:  Who are you?

Ghost 2: I am the ghost of associate life present. Let’s go.

[He takes Gill and they go through the firm’s walls to a bar in Baltimore. Gill quickly realizes that it is the holiday party for the young lawyers section of the MSBA. He recognizes some of his former classmates enjoying themselves and catching up over drinks.  Everyone is happy to be there.]

Classmate 1: Do you know whatever happened to Gill? I never see him around. I heard he switched firms a few years ago and is at a really good one now.

Classmate 2: Yea, I really don’t know. He was a pretty nice guy in school. We had a study group together. One of our paralegals used to work at his firm.  She said he was awful to her- very rude.

[Ghost 2 takes Gill to a neighborhood just outside the city. Gill doesn’t recognize the home.  They look in the window and he immediately realizes that it’s Ann’s house. She is caring for her three young children, one is crying]

Ann to child: I am so sorry that I missed your Christmas play. I am sure that you were a wonderful Tiny Tim.  I didn’t think I would have to work late that night, but my boss made me stay.

[Gill observes Ann’s interactions with her kids and feels a sense of remorse for his recent treatment of her. Ghost 2 and Gill leave] [Day three, Gill is finishing a memo on successor liability and loses track of time.  The ghost of future partner comes into his office.  This ghost is silent and dressed in a black robe that covers his face.]

Gill: Are you the Spirit of the future?

[The Spirit says nothing and takes Gill by the arm. Together they leave his office and go to a corner office of the firm. There, Old Gill is working. He is in poor health. The walls of his office are bare aside from his framed degrees.]

Gill: Wow, I make partner! This is great news! Where are pictures of my family? Where are drawings by my kids that should be on my desk? I get married, right?

[Old Gill opens his outlook calendar. It is empty aside from closing deadlines. Gill observes that he has no planned social events and he notices that Ann no longer works for him.  Old Gill gets his coat and hat, shuts down his computer and leaves for the night. Gill and Ghost 3 follow him home to his big empty house.  Ghost 3 then takes Gill to a cemetery, where Gill views his own neglected and unattended grave.]

Scrooge & CratchitGill awakens the next day, the day before Christmas, with a renewed sense of gratitude and compassion. He stops at Starbucks to buy a coffee for Ann. Later that day, he brings toys to donate to the young lawyer’s toy drive, and, that night, he attends the firm’s holiday party and socializes with everyone, including staff.  Gill now embodies the spirit of Christmas.


  1. Excellent. Sad but true that too many can identify with Gil.

  2. Bravo!!!! The key to a successful and fulfilling (key) career in law is achieving a balance between professional obligations and personal time. It can be difficult but not impossible. Great job, Justine!