فصل 01

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فصل 01

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  • زمان مطالعه 5 دقیقه
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CHAPTER ONE

Mitchell McDeere

Mitchell Y. McDeere was twenty-five years old. He was about to graduate in the top five from Harvard Law School. He had a beautiful wife, Abby. He was white, handsome, tall and physically fit. He didn’t take drugs or drink too much. And he was hungry. He wanted it all: money, power, a big house, a fast car… he urgently wanted to succeed.

In other words, he was perfect for the Memphis law firm of Bendini, Lambert & Locke. Every one of the twenty partners in the firm was given a thick file on him. They knew that he had been born in poverty in Kentucky and brought up by his mother after his father’s death. They knew that she had wasted the money the army gave her after her eldest son’s death in Vietnam, and that only the other brother, Ray, had cared for him. They knew that he had won a place at Western Kentucky University because he was good at football, and had graduated top of his class. They could see the poverty hurt, and that he wanted to climb away from it.

Now he was about to leave Harvard. Two firms in New York and one in Chicago were interested in him, according to the file. The highest offer was $76,000 and the lowest was $68,000. All the partners agreed that he was the one they wanted. They needed a new associate this year and they wanted it to be him. The first interview, in a hotel near Harvard, went well. Oliver Lambert took with him Lamar Quin, an associate who had been with the firm for seven years, and offered Mitch $80,000, a new BMW and help in buying a house. Mitch was interested, of course. Lambert invited him down to Memphis to visit the firm. He said he would send the air tickets.

The figure of $80,000 started Mitch and Abby dreaming.

‘Eighty thousand in Memphis is the same as one hundred and twenty thousand in New York,’ Mitch said. ‘We’ll be able to afford almost anything we want. And it’s only the money I’ll start at: in two years I’ll be into six figures. They say that on average an associate becomes a partner in about ten years, and then I’ll be earning about half a million dollars a year! And what about the car and the house?’

‘Who wants New York?’ Abby said, smiling, and thinking about their rusty Mazda and about new furniture in a big old house - and dreaming of babies. ‘What sort of work is it?’

‘Taxes,’ Mitch said, ‘which is what I enjoy. And we both hate the cold weather in the north-east. The firm specializes in international tax law. Bendini started it in 1944. He had a lot of clients in the south, so he moved down to Memphis. And obviously everyone who works there loves it: they say that members very rarely leave the firm.’

‘And you’d be closer to Ray.’

‘True.’

‘If they’re offering so much, why doesn’t everybody know about them and try to work there?’

‘Lambert says they like to stay small. There are only forty-one members in all. They get one new member every two years, and they approach him rather than the other way round.’

‘Why would they help us with a house?’ Abby asked.

‘It’s important to the firm that their members stay happy and look rich. It helps to bring business in.’

‘Memphis, here we come,’ said Abby. ‘I like this firm already.’

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