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“Sweeping up after the elephants” – the sad lot of most in-house drones

“For the most part in-house lawyers spend their time sweeping up after the elephants,” says Stephen Weiss, Chief Counsel of Bank of the West (and former general counsel of Sanwa Bank and United California Bank), from inform: Life Law, & Business, Issue 1 at 16.

A most sad and dispiriting image! Aside from its excretory whiff, the image belittles lawyers since the huge clients (the elephants) dominate the scene. The positive action and actors are on the business side. Darker than that, the vision reeks of passivity and reactivity; why not diaper the pachyderms, toilet train them, or invest in a pickup robot? I grimace also at the metaphor’s brainlessness – they poop, we scoop – and the association with circus frivolity and clowns.

You can chide me for missing the point: but what else does Weiss’s custodial metaphor conjure up? I beg to differ with Weiss.