Chapter One - The Legal Adventure

Problem solving and building relationships

“Are we going to make it?” I asked clutching my seat belt as we miraculously avoided the oncoming traffic on the narrow roads.

 It was 4.51pm. We had a 5pm deadline.

My partner in this mini-escapade had an unwavering, laid back confidence. He responded with a grin:

 

“Yeah, I know the owner. He’ll be there and has the boxes. All the boxes.”

Imagine the scene. Bermuda, thousands of miles away from home. I was part of a team of lawyers managing a multi-million dollar international arbitration, and we were running out of the one thing lawyers like more than billable hours.

 

Paper. Or, more to the point, correctly sized paper on an island that had severely limited stock.

 

Watching the documents churn from the printer trays, we realised our impending problem at 4.11pm on a Friday afternoon. The opposing legal team had the same issue which only served to intensify the pressure. As expressions of defeat crossed my colleagues’ faces, I grabbed my phone, and proclaimed:

 

“I have an idea.“

 

Let’s rewind. I should explain that I’d arrived on the island ahead of my colleagues to organise logistics. I didn’t know anyone or how things worked. I talked to as many people as I could including a local taxi driver who seemed to know everyone. We quickly established a great working relationship.

So that’s who I called - our savvy taxi driver who helped me stay one step ahead of the competition. We got the paper, it bought us some time and partially averted disaster.  

This was my first trial by fire experience of ‘running an operation’ behind the scenes.

Shared learning

- Relationship building is key because help often comes from unexpected quarters.

- Don’t underestimate the need for upfront planning and organisation.

- Be prepared to adopt a problem solving attitude.

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