The John Doe Problem

The Magpie sisters, a pair of paralegals with polarized personalities, are feuding. This is not the first time they have stopped speaking. In 2013, their reciprocal enactment of the silent-treatment lasted a full two years.

In standard office mode, the banter of the Magpies is low impact bickering with the occasional flare-up:magpieisland

But in fight mode, they are explosive: magpies2

Like a Legal Opera with No Second Act:

  • Fiery Magpie decides to take a week off for vacation. While she is gone,

images, a lawyer, a.k.a. Guess Whose Wife Left Him Last Year, approaches Cool Magpie with billable-by-the-hour work he would have given to Fiery Magpie had she not been swinging in a hammock somewhere in Baja.

Cool Magpie “forgets” to mention to Fiery Magpie, upon her return to the office, that this coveted billable transaction has taken place. But an unknown someone clues her in.

“I would never do that to you,” Fiery Magpie growls, spitting mad.

And they haven’t spoken since.

  • Fiery Magpie proceeds to spread the drama of her sister’s financial betrayal all around the firm, from its uppermost regions to its lowest: NIGHT STAFF.
  • Not long after Fiery Magpie’s eruption, Cool Magpie prepares a series of documents on behalf of Foggy Mountain Breakdown, an “Of Counsel” lawyer — which means semi-retired and working offsite in an undisclosed location.recliner-two3
  • The documents Cool Magpie has prepared require electronic filing with the government. She delivers the documents for filing to NIGHT STAFF, following the suggestion of the global email that circulates throughout the Firm every day at 4:00 P.M., launched by an unseen Supervisor of Document Distribution hitting the SEND button:

“If you require assistance this evening, please e-mail NIGHT STAFF directly. Thank you.”

(You can almost hear a sigh of relief behind it: Thank you for not interrupting my Sudoku!)

This is how Cool Magpie’s request is received by the dynamic duo of NIGHT STAFF:

unknown    and   unknown

               Go away…                                                              It’s not my job…

 Cool Magpie complains to the Firm’s Hall Monitor, who cracks the whip.

hallmonitorAnd NIGHT STAFF gets right on it.

  • While filing the documents, NIGHT STAFF discovers that Cool Magpie did not insert Foggy Mountain Breakdown’s electronic signature on any of the documents!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For the record, an electronic signature looks like this:  /name of person/

Anyone can type it.

But in lieu of typing /Foggy Mountain Breakdown/, NIGHT STAFF types /John Doe/


For “Contact e-mail address,” NIGHT STAFF types

When he learns of this perversity, the Gecko, a Firm honcho, gets an instant migraine.

geckohead.jpeg  How can this happen????????????????

Enter: Older Guy Partner With The Too-Young-For-Him-Wife, who recently became an older guy dad, and knows from personal experience as a lawyer (and previous marriages) that his wife will leave him and sue for child support, the house, and a bucket-load of alimony as soon as the fruit of their loins turns two years old, citing abandonment —

because he’s never home  — frank-n-bride

Nevertheless, Older Guy Partner steps in and pens to Docketing this ineffectual missive:

Please remove John Doe from the docket


When Cool Magpie is asked by the Hall Monitor to fix the John Doe problem, she delivers a withering surely you jest expression that sends Hall Mother packing.

Fixing the John Doe problem falls into the open lap of Foggy Mountain Breakdown, who is more than willing to comply, not having anything of consequence on his docket — if you don’t count catching up on back issues of the What on Earth catalog from his La-Z-Boy.

In a show of appreciation, the Gecko re-gifts Foggy Mountain Breakdown a saddlebag cup holder he indirectly received from the QVC network years ago via his now departed mother because he is too paranoid to throw it out. cuppholder




  • The John Doe problem might be fixed, but the Magpie sisters are still not speaking.



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