Sunday, September 26, 2004

The Pig Bag

In our office, we have a few of those big briefcases litigators use, and the oldest, homeliest one mostly sits in my office. It used to have about a half-dozen of my business cards taped to it, from when I flew to Texas about 10-12 years ago and had a bunch of "confidential" papers in it and was paranoid those secrets of corporate America would be exposed and I would be blamed.

My newest colleague at the firm asked me about this briefcase (or more likely, I was telling her) not long ago and I tried to explain that it had taken on roughly the significance of "the Pig Bag" in A Civil Action. She had read the book, but did not recall the reference, so here it is:

"[Jerome Facher] carried it in a battered black litigation bag that was usually heavy with deposition transcripts, motions, and interrogatories from real trials. Some years ago the bag's leather handgrip had snapped under just such a load. Facher had twisted a coat hanger into a new grip and wrapped it with adhesive tape. He owned several other litigation bags, each identified by decals of cartoon characters he'd once found in a cereal box. This particular bag, which might have been a hobo's suitcase, was his favorite. It was known as the pig bag because it had a Porky Pig decal on it. In the years he'd carried this bag in and out of courtrooms, to home and to work, Facher had not lost a trial. Some trials required the use of several bags, but Facher always brought along the pig bag. 'You don't change your socks during the World Series,' he would tell young associates at Hale and Dorr."

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