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In praise of piles

Hail the powerful and protean pile! As venerated, useful, and overlooked as the pencil, the pile commands an honored, if humble, position of esteem in law department management.

The pile is integral to knowledge management. We each know just where that article is from a year ago in the pile on the window sill. Piles are the foot soldiers of productivity. When the call comes about that superfund site, we reach quickly to the pile in the back right of our desk. The pile pattern serves as our to-do list (See my post of Jan. 3, 2008 on other organizing devices.). Our piles bare our soul and norms to whoever glances into our office. “Chris must be busy, the desk is stacked high.”

And not to forget, piles pull the purse strings; small mounds of invoices to be reviewed and RFPs to be analyzed. Balancing and shaping piles, with the necessary props and flying buttresses presents us with legal technology in its simplest, yet most subtle, form.

Not to pile on the accolades, but the pile epitomizes all humanity. Though so integral is the pile to law department management yet no comprehensive data exists on piles per lawyer or lawyer-pile inches as a percentage of revenue.

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