Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I wish I could have met this guy.

This weekend I read the obituary of Nicholas G. Manos in the Chicago Tribune. I had not heard of Mr. Manos before, or the Rock Island Railroad bankruptcy case, but I guess that just shows my inexperience in these matters.

According to his daughter, who witnessed the incident, Mr. Manos delivered probably one of the greatest opening lines of all time at oral argument. Here is the story:

"On the day of final arguments in the Rock Island Railroad bankruptcy case in the late 1970s, attorney Nicholas G. Manos stepped up to the lectern for one of the biggest moments of his life.

Silence fell over the crowded federal district courtroom as Mr. Manos looked straight into the judge's eyes and said:

"Your honor, I can hardly wait to hear what I am about to say."

With that, the courtroom exploded with laughter. Mr. Manos' daughter, Stathy White, who witnessed the moment, said the comment illustrated her father's intelligence and charisma.

"That really says a lot about the confidence that he had," she said. "He had a wonderful wit about him, and his presence was unmatched."

After the trial, Mr. Manos drafted a reorganization plan for the ailing railroad that satisfied all sides. In 1983, the plan was approved by the Supreme Court and the Interstate Commerce Commission, making it one of the most successful railroad reorganizations in history."
Awesome. I wish I had the guts to pull off something like that.

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