The Meeting

I wrote this as a brief continuation of my prompt response yesterday.

As Vicky Mahmood arrived at reception, Simon dashed out of his office to greet her.

“Vicky…”, he enthused, “how are you? How are Omar and the boys?” It sounded like they knew each other already. “This way”, commanded Simon, “I’ve booked the Board Room out. This is Anna.”. Anna stepped forward. She was getting used to Simon doing everything at a hundred miles per hour.

Smalltalk over, it was impressive to see how Simon chaired the meeting. “This is an appeal”, he started, “the first thing we must show is some procedural flaw when they made their decision. We can’t rake up detail again unless they buy that. Vicky?”

“Okay, it is a five-page judgement. Just one para goes into Salman’s background. I think we argue that they didn’t take account of his personal circumstances.”

“Right. Anna, read this judgement, top to bottom. Do that this afternoon, and let’s meet again at close of play and let me know what you think.” Simon was far from knowing all the answers but did seem to be incredibly good at knowing the right questions. Anna even managed to chip in with a few points, which seemed to be appreciated.

At meeting’s end, Simon closed. “Right, Vicky. Thanks for coming over. We’ll start work on this right away and I’ll touch base again tomorrow morning. He asked Anna to wait in the Board Room while he showed Vicky out. Perhaps her comments had not been so well-received after all?

Five minutes later, Simon returned. “Look”, he said, “I couldn’t say anything in front of Vicky, but this guy is just one of four cases I’m juggling now, so I really need your help on this.” Good. She wasn’t in trouble.

“As a partner here”, he continued, “the firm has been extremely impressed with you so far. We want you to take the next step.” It had not occurred to Anna yet that this was going to be a pep talk.

“As your boss”, he went on, “I see you perform out there every day”. He gestured toward the office. “I wouldn’t ask if I wasn’t 100% confident that you were up to it. I want you to be my eyes and ears on this. Get to know Salman Mohammed’s back story, get to know the judgement back to front, and let’s meet here again later to discuss next steps. We need to be on the ball here. Odds are it’ll all take weeks, but the Home Office have a track record of moving quickly on these cases, so we need to be ready and waiting.”

“Late night at the office”, thought Anna.

I wrote a background to these characters here:

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