Epperly | Elam (Pamplona, Spain).
Thousands of sweat-soaked bodies pack the narrow cobblestone alleyway in old Pamplona. I'm squeezed into the middle of it - anonymous and wary of what is to come. The humid air smells like body odor and alcoholic breath; the summer sun beats down on my face. I am boxed in and nervous, but there is no turning back.
Just when the oxygen begins to escape the reach of my straining lungs, the rockets blast, the gates open and we are off - finally some breathing room as the runners stretch up the course. I make my way up a couple hundred feet - just past the “turn of death” - when I hear the rockets blast off again: the bulls are on the course now. I anticipate a feverish stir, but the bulls are way behind us and, like a calm before the storm, there is little movement. The runners are relaxed; taking their last sips of wine, their last pulls of smoke, and their last stretches of muscle. I wait for a few more seconds and begin to wonder if today is the day the "sun also rises." I relax a bit and find myself reflecting on the loss that led me there.
Then it hits: a thunderous roar of cheers from the onlookers in the balconies above and deathly screams from the runners below. I look back to find a frenzy of movement – a panic-filled mad dash toward me and fast. The once-relaxed runners have morphed into schools of fish; swimming in unison away from an invisible predatory shark. Indeed, they are now running for their lives. For a split second, I meet eyes with an older man standing in a still gaze just opposite of me amidst the sudden chaos. They tell me his life story as it flashes before him.
Before I can look away, the first bull blows right by me; then the second and third. I go numb. All of my worries, sorrows, and everyday thoughts blackout as the moment consumes me. Suddenly, I feel a sensation of wind in my face and bouncing in my head. And by the time I finally pull focus, I realize I am already running. I feel not a single cobblestone under my feet or a breath of air in my lungs. My mission acts as the only motor propelling me forward.
Masses of people are piling up to my right, then to my left, then directly ahead of me. If I stay on one side, I will fall victim to the constant pile-ups of runners. But if I retreat to the middle for too long, I will be overtaken by the bulls. I am dodging and cutting in a silent tunnel where sound and sense are gone; only sight and reaction remain. And I have only one objective: make it to the arena.
Two more bulls pass by my left side. Still more behind me. Bodies to my right... pass them. Cries to my left... pass them. An officer standing ahead of me... stiff arm, pass. Get to the arena.
Alas, I see it; and steering clear of immediate danger, I dash in. The run is over. I finally shake off the haze to find a roaring crowd filling the arena seats surrounding me - they cheer the runners like ancient Romans cheering gladiators. We did it: we just ran with the bulls.
In retrospect, "the run" parallels "the why" of this firm. Our Firm has a passion for adventure and for problem solving. We invite challenge. And we accomplish our objective by remaining authentic and courageous amidst the chaos. The best part of practicing law is discovering new opportunities for clients while strategically maneuvering away from threats as we advance toward our common goal.
We live with big bull-beating hearts. We run with them; we engage people with them; we take on challenges with them. And we practice law with them.
Tell us Your Story (Contact us)