Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, February 20, 2015

Blizzard 2015

View from the Cheap Seats

William O. "Bill" James

About two months ago, I began predicting that Little Rock was not going to get any snow or ice this year. Specifically, I said there would be no missed work due to inclement weather. If you’ve been paying attention to the national weather, you’re fully aware that many parts of the country have been hard hit by winter weather. That’s especially true in the Northeast. Even though there’s been a lot of winter weather to go around, Central Arkansas had none until last week. My prediction of no winter weather affecting work failed when I was forced to stay home on President’s Day.

Even as I write this, it seems strange to say that our offices were set to be open on this National Holiday. I was at the gym hours before the storm started on Sunday night, and saw a fellow lawyer. We’d spoken earlier in the week about overhead, and the fact that mine was probably higher than it should be. The fact is my desire to handle as many cases as possible mandates that I have a staff of attorneys and staff that exceeds my needs if the only issue was the bottom line. He asked me if we planned to be open, and I told him that I’d decided not to open before 10 a.m. to allow everyone to sleep in, and we could decide if we were going to open after the sun came up, when we could survey the damage. He was laughing at me before I was done with my answer.

Well, before the sun was up, it was obvious there would be no work. I sent a text to everyone at my office and gave them the day off. I had forwarded the calls from the office line to my cell phone and started fielding calls a little after 6 a.m. I’d decided I’d sleep in, or at least lay around if the ice came. I stayed in bed, but by 10 a.m. I already had 10 or more messages, and the phone was ringing about every five minutes. We had a large number of appointments set, so I was also tasked with calling everyone that was coming in and telling them we would have to reschedule.

I managed to make it until after noon without a shower, and didn’t start on the work I’d brought home until about 2 p.m. I read a file that filled four large notebooks and continued to take calls all day. I had a TV on in the back ground, but it wasn’t much of a day off.

The highlight of the day was getting to take my truck out on the roads and try out the four-wheel drive. The only reason I had to go anywhere was because we had no Fritos to go with the chili Patti made as I “relaxed” in bed answering the phone. I didn’t drive very far, but I was never concerned about getting stuck. If I’d wanted to go to the office, I could have made it without any problem. Freedom is a beautiful thing.

In the end, I was disappointed that my proclamation of a no snow or ice winter turned out to be a bust. I was sure I had more control over nature than I apparently have. The storm wasn’t much, so maybe my “mandate” at least minimized the event. I’d like to think I helped.

Even though I was wrong about the absence of a winter event from this year, I feel confident that we’re now done with winter. When I went out this afternoon, I saw my shadow. As tradition would have it, that means we’re now at the end of winter. Spring is coming. That’s good for everybody, especially those of us way up in the CHEAP SEATS!

Bill James is a criminal defense lawyer with offices in Little Rock, Conway, and Fayetteville, Ark. He had the toe nail taken off of the big toe on his right foot two weeks ago, and it still hurts. He may be contacted at Bill@JamesFirm.com.