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Working Together… And Then Not!

From the History Channel ( comes a story from September 13, 1942, that is a feel good story until it becomes a feel bad story!

A German submarine (U-boat) sunk the British troop ship, the Laconia, killing more than 1,400 men. The commander of the German sub, Capt. Werner Hartenstein, then realized that also on that sub, there were Italians prisoners-of-war being transported among the passengers. So, he gave an order to attempt to rescue their sunken allies.

The Laconia, a former Cunard White Star ship that was being used to transport troops, including prisoners of war, was in the South Atlantic bound for England. There, it encountered  U-156, a German sub.

The sub attacked and sank the troop ship, while also sinking more than 2,200 passengers. But as Commander Hartenstein, the sub commander,  learned from survivors that they began taking on board, there were 1,500 Italians POWs still below on the sunken ship. Realizing that he had just endangered the lives of so many of his fellow Axis members, he put out an emergency call to an Italian submarine, and two other German submarines in the area, to ask for help in rescuing the survivors. (Italians)

In the meantime, a French and two British warships sped to the scene to also assist in the rescue. The German subs informed the Allied ships that they had surfaced to the top “for humanitarian reasons”.

The Allies assumed it was a trap. Suddenly, an American B-24 bomber, the  Liberator, saw the German sub and bombed it—despite the fact that Hartenstein had draped a Red Cross flag prominently on the hull of the surfaced sub.

The sub, damaged by the air attack, immediately submerged under water. Admiral Karl Donitz, Supreme Commander of the German U-boat Forces, had been monitoring the rescue efforts. He ordered that “all attempts to rescue the crews of sunken ships…cease forthwith.” As a result of the attack and then subsequent order, more than 1,400 of the Laconia‘s passengers, which included Polish guards and British crewmen, drowned.

The stick that lit the firecracker. No one trusted, despite attempting to work together for one moment during the war. No good!

And for pic o’ day, how about some funny politics!


The Story of Warrick

Every day, I see team in action. It starts when I receive an email that tells me that a new case has been entered into our case management system. Soon, the case is assigned to a team that includes the attorney, paralegal, assistant paralegal; and sometimes an additional negotiator and investigator.

I truly enjoy the concept of team. I was reminded of that when I read the following motivational team story at The story of Warwick!

Once there was man who was lost while driving through the country. As he tried to read a map while driving, he accidentally drove off the road into a deep muddy ditch. Though not injured, his car was stuck. So the man walked to a nearby farm.

There he saw an old farmer and asked for help. The farmer replied, “Warwick can get you out of that ditch,” pointing to an old mule standing in a field. The man looked at the old run-down mule and then looked at the farmer who just stood there repeating, “Yep, old Warwick can do the job.”

The man figured he had nothing to lose. The two men and Warwick made their way back to the ditch. The farmer hitched the mule to the car. With a snap of the reigns he shouted, “Pull, Fred! Pull, Jack! Pull, Ted! Pull, Warwick!” And the mule pulled the car from the ditch with very little effort.

The man was amazed. He thanked the farmer, patted the mule and asked, “Why did you call out all those other names before you called Warwick?”

The farmer grinned and said, “Old Warwick is just about blind. As long as he believes he is part of a team, he doesn’t mind pulling.”


And for pic o’ day, here is some ole-fashioned spam!


The Joel Bieber Firm Team

I reached into my sport coat pocket and found a small note from the manufacturer that said the following: “It took 121 people a total of 233 hours to complete this garment. We almost hate to let it go- wait… wait… we said almost!”

My experience with a team concept started small. I worked at a Burger King. I was called the Porter, which meant that I pretty much did it all including trash and mopping. That included getting there at 7AM to pick up trash in the parking lot. Later, I would be in charge of sticking burger patties on the broiler.

I would hear an order for two burgers, french fries and a coke come over the intercom. I just kept the burgers coming down the broiler chain. Sometimes I would have to run to the freezer to grab another box. Someone stood on the other end and would put them on a bun with include pickle, ketchup and mustard.

Of course, you could “have it your way” and hold the burger and bun if you wanted. At the register, the crowd would pay for their bag of food, and that doesn’t even include the adventure of the team at the french fry station or the apple pie station. Somehow, everyone got fed.

During college, I found myself working at Norfolk Shipbuilding and Drydock Corporation. As a pipefitter’s helper, I really had little to add. I was assigned to work on a new ship called the “Aquina”. Hundreds of employees all did a little bit. By the end, there was a ship ready to be taken out of dry dock and placed into the water. Low and behold… it floated. I did try to find a picture of it to post. I couldn’t… I hope it’s still floating!

We just finished moving our  Joel Bieber Firm Richmond law office. It was a reminder of teamwork as we boxed for the movers. We have that same feeling everyday as we work on cases. The lawyers might be the face of the case but its the paralegals and investigators who help build the foundation.

It is not unusual to finish the disbursement to a client and then have the client ask me if they can say thank you to the paralegal.  A reminder of  team.

For pic o’ day, I had to go with teamwork!

How Bout Team

I know that rain or shine, I’m supposed to post a blog. At least, that’s what the Social Media team here keeps telling me. If I’m running late in getting it posted for optimization, they’ll say, “where’s the blog”. Kinda with the same tone as “Where’s the beef”.

As a Firm, we did have 4 jury trials this week. I could use that as an excuse for a shortcut blog, but none of those cases were mine.

I’m just posting pic o’ day as the blog. A blog without Beef! Amy M. sent sent this pic 0 to me.

It was a good reminder to me  that we should all work to help each other.  Teamwork!


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