THE FIRM: Chapter 3 - The Best Lawyer

AT THE OFFICES of Messrs. Venal & Grabbit, Solicitors, the mood is sombre. The staff are gathered in the Boardroom. Edgar Venal has just informed them that assistant solicitor Hugo Belligerent has been killed in an accident on the underground.

"H-how d-did it h-happen?" Asks fellow assistant D'Arcy Downtrodden.

"He was at Chancery Lane tube station, heading back to the office from a particularly successful hearing in the Principal Registry." Replies Edgar. "Unfortunately, he was too busy tweeting about his marvellous victory on his iPhone 4S that he didn't notice the edge of the platform. Got hit by the 16.06 to Ealing Broadway. Tragic."

"A great blow to the firm." Says fellow partner Ebenezer Grabbit. "Oh - and to his family, of course." He adds hastily.

"Yes." Agrees Edgar. "His fee income - and, of course, he - will be greatly missed. I don't know how we will replace him."

Mike McCheap sees his chance. "I'll take over his files." He says, mentally calculating how much that will add to his annual fee income, and therefore his promotion prospects.

Edgar turns to McCheap. "Excellent!" He exclaims. "You may, of course, have to wipe the blood off the file he had with him when he got hit. Are you sure you can cope with his caseload as well as yours?"

"No problem." Says McCheap. He glances across at D'Arcy Downtrodden, whose expression indicates that he realises he has missed a great opportunity for advancement within the firm.

Edgar is gratified by McCheap's zeal.

"It'll mean a lot of work." Cautions Mr Grabbit.

Edgar gives his partner a withering look - he doesn't want to put McCheap off now. "I'm sure you can handle it, McCheap." He says reassuringly.

"I'll handle it." McCheap replies enthusiastically. "I'll work one hundred hours a week. I'll be the best assistant solicitor this firm has ever had!"

All of which is, of course, music to Edgar's ears. "Excellent!" He exclaims again, only louder than before.

McCheap looks pleased with himself. D'Arcy Downtrodden looks, well, downtrodden.

Edgar glances at his watch. "Right," he says, "that's quite enough time chatting. Let's get back to our desks."