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A Cup of Coffee at One of the Country’s Largest Mental Asylums: A GAL Breakdown?

I am fortunate to work at one of the largest renaissance and redevelopment zones in the country, Grand Traverse Commons.

Grand Traverse Commons Sub Areas 2 & 3

Every morning,  I enter the secret back door to my office, turn on my laptop and start Outlook (which I know will take about ten minutes to boot up) and head for a hundred foot snowy walk from the 20 building to the infamous building 50 at this old 1870's asylum.  We are four years into the redevelopment project.  My law firm was one of the first doors.  As I contemplate the last four years, I realize that one of my favorite parts of my day is walking out my private entrance and across the way to building 50 as I venture forth to think of my morning cup of Joe.  As I walk through the basement corridors towards my favorite coffee shop, I usually dictate a GAL post such as I am doing right now.  As I arrive in the coffee shop, most of the people sitting at the counter are the ones who are there each morning.  We all know each other.  We all say good morning.  Since I am in the coffee club and pay for my Joe by the month, I walk behind the counter, get my cream in my special mug, and help myself to coffee.  I smile on my way back to my office knowing that this familiar daily ritual is one of the simplest and most pleasurable things about my day. This morning I am especially pleased.  For some reason, it occurred to me that this walk would not be possible at my old firm.  In a hyperaggressive hourly billing operation, you don’t leave your chair once you sit in it in the morning unless it’s business.  The concept of an early morning stroll to grab a cup of Joe would be bad precedent and send all the wrong signals to the young associates. 


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