I know a lot of lawyers, but I’m rarely cognizant of the firms at which they practice. Frankly, I never saw any benefit to memorizing a string of seemingly random last names … until today, that is.
Earlier this year, I donated a few bucks to a neighboring kid’s youth baseball team. I also volunteered to phone a lawyer acquaintance who once told me his firm regularly sponsors youth leagues. Most generously, “Dan” offered the firm’s resources to purchase all the boys’ uniforms. True to his word, he delivered a sizeable check made out to cash.
Excited at my success and anxious to assist even more, I volunteered to acquire the uniforms themselves. I obtained contact information for the custom outfitter which had supplied the team the past several years. I then asked my secretary to place the order and remit the law firm’s check.
Upon receiving payment, a representative of the vendor telephoned me to ask two follow-up questions, the first being: “Does the team want its logo on the backs of the jerseys again, like last year?” I’d never been told the team’s name, and I hadn’t a clue about its logo, but I couldn’t see why last year’s look wouldn’t serve equally well this year. So I answered affirmatively.
I had a more difficult time with the second question: “Some sponsors want their names printed on the jerseys, but the law firm’s name seems rather long. If they insist on the advertising, is there any way we can shorten what appears on the shirt?”
Dan hadn’t indicated his expectations regarding advertising. Rather than bother him again, I decided to go the safe route, but with a compromise. I instructed the vendor to print the firm’s initials beneath the team’s logo, rather than its entire name. Although the man’s response – “Are you sure about that?” – sounded dubious, he assured me he’d follow through with my request.
The name of Dan’s firm is “Hickam, Eckert, Lambert and Lilly.” As odd as it sounds, that information somehow escaped me throughout the sponsorship process. Compounding such omission, I’d never arranged to see the completed uniforms. I rectified both oversights today, commencing with a visit to the team’s home field. I looked up the law firm shortly after the coach apologetically corrected my mistaken assumption that the jerseys on display were the ones I’d ordered. As the man explained: “You have to understand; the boys on our team, ‘The Flames,’ belong to churchgoing families. And to be honest, a lot of the parents would’ve been outraged to see their sons wearing shirts printed with that law firm’s initials below our roaring fire logo.”