Eagle Squad

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The anthropology of the office™

Licence to die... in a ditch.

The JC puts on his pith-helmet, grabs his butterfly net and a rucksack full of marmalade sandwiches, and heads into the concrete jungle

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The brave men and women of the GCHQ, here to save the world.

Legal eagles have unique empowerment from the highest reaches of the great modernist machine.

Now, James Bond famously had a licence to kill, but — let’s face facts — there is only so much you can do with that. Once you have bumped off Scaramanga that’s really that.

Eagle Squad’s power is all the more fearful in that it contemplates indefinite torture of the living. Legal can insist on the most petulant, self-contradictory or wilful editions, on pain of everyone having to stop and wait till it is resolved to legal’ satisfaction.

Others in the legal documentation flow — notably, the heoric, benighted negotiators who are the real brave foot-soldiers of legal practice, however hotly the eaglery denies it — have meaningful commercial constraints on the perversity they can bring to their task; a fully-credentialised Eagle Squad member suffers no such constraint.

Yeomen negotiators are measured, their performance gauged, their daily activity reduced to metrics, service level agreements and KPIs. There is a whole ornate smörgåsbord of modernist fripperies by which management overlords can impel most people in the back office to keep shunting whatever rock they are assigned to shunt up whatever hill their masters demand. They must find solutions, make accommodations, engineer compromises and box on. There is no tolerance for gratuitous abstrusity.

But here a legal eagle has a secret pass. She is a special agent; she is differently empowered. She can resist a sovereign immunity waiver from an industrial corporate having no particular association with any organ of state indefinitely, on principle, notwithstanding the fatuity of the request — indeed, because of the fatuity of the request! — with no second-guessing or cajoling from management. This is ineffable legal stuff. It may even occur to the overlords that a corporate customer would have no hope of claiming sovereign immunity, and this seems a waste of time and effort, but scarcely would anyone be brave enough to say this.

Matters legal passeth all muggle comprehending, and that is that. Eagle Squad has not so much a licence to kill as a licence to die in a ditch.

See also