In-House Counsel, Lawyerly Lairs, Ridiculousness

Lawyerly Lairs: My Lawyer Got Stuck in a Tree

Moving in-house really is the golden ticket. Better hours, great pay, and you get to bitch around law firm partners and their associate underlings whenever you want. The only thing separating in-house counsel from the good life seems to be that they have to regularly slough into a stuffy corporate office everyday.

Well, one general counsel isn’t going to let the great indoors ruin his awesome job. The ABA Journal reports:

[Richard Russeth], an avid collector of books about tree house architecture, is taking on his own endeavor: building a sophisticated tree-office nestled 20-feet high in a grove of 50 to 90-feet tall pine trees near his home in Evergreen, Colo.

Did James Cameron put him up to this? Is this guy going to start communicating in Na’vi?

How are New York City dwellers going to react to this news? There’s a lawyer in Colorado who is going to have an office that is about the size of your apartment, and he’s going to have it up in a tree. Meanwhile, your office is probably a windowless cell of sadness “nestled” in 50-story metallic high rise.

You might think that a tree house law office wouldn’t have all the amenities needed to be a successful general counsel of an American corporation. But Russeth’s office will come fully loaded:

Future plans include a small house to accommodate his desk and a couch with large windows overlooking the mountains. The office will also have Wi-Fi and wireless phone lines, and perhaps a quaint wood-burning stove, so that Russeth can easily conduct business as the vice president and general counsel of Leprino Foods during the spring and summer months.

Dear plaintiffs lawyers: Leprino’s general counsel works out of a tree. Surely it’s worth taking a shot at these guys, just to see if this Russeth guy can still put together a cogent defense. What’s the worst that can happen, you’ll have to pay Russeth’s attorney fees? How much does a rope ladder cost these days?

Of course it might be difficult to come up with clients who want to sue Leprino. Their products aren’t usually the basis for mass tort actions. From Leprino’s website:

We are a world leader in premium- quality cheese manufacturing and the largest U.S. exporter of whey products. Leprino mozzarella cheese, cheese blends, and pizza cheese are made specially for pizzeria and foodservice operators, frozen food manufacturers and private label cheese packagers.

Our premium mozzarella cheese is the uniform source of our high-quality sweet whey, whey proteins, and lactose products.

If bulk processed cheese was flowing into the Gulf, it’d be a fiesta, not a disaster.

Apparently, he spends a lot of time protecting Leprino’s cheese patents:

By placing an emphasis on research and development, successfully combining our long tradition of cheese making with technological innovation, Leprino Foods has spearheaded most of the technological breakthroughs in the mozzarella industry during the past 30 years, holding numerous patents domestically and internationally.

Until cows get their act together and start invalidating Leprino’s derivative patents, it seems like Russeth has a pretty easy job. It shouldn’t be too hard for him to work from his new home office.

Let’s just hope he doesn’t get stuck up there. It’d be pretty embarrassing to miss a deadline because your waiting for firefighters to come rescue you from your office.

Lawyer Building Tree House Office in Pine Forest [ABA Journal]

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