Quick story or not so much a story but a pet peeve I’ve never gotten off my chest: I hate when people use the nickname “Stevie” when referring to hedge fund manager Steve Cohen. It’s like nails on a chalkboard when anyone says it but particularly when deployed by total strangers creating false intimacy with the guy, as though they’re boys and/or they just finished sucking Cohen off. For her part, Mrs. Cohen is also said to be irked by the moniker, as she finds it childish. Having said all that, I’ve never taken someone to task for the offense* and, presumably, the Missus hasn’t either or at least not in the spectacular form demonstrated by Cohen’s lawyer. Earlier this year, the SAC Capital manger sat for two days of deposition, which was recently unsealed, as part of a lawsuit filed in 2006 by Canadian insurer Fairfax Financial against a group of hedge funds that included SAC. At one point, Fairfax’s lawyer Michael Bowe addresses Cohen as “Stevie,” and in response, Martin Klotz, the attorney representing Steve and SAC, goes absolutely ape shit.
BOWE: Okay. So the compliance manual — you have authority, Stevey Cohen, to ignore the compliance manual?
KLOTZ: Object to the form. And I particularly object to the obnoxious, deliberate use of “Stevey” in addressing Mr. Cohen.
BOWE: It wasn’t deliberate. It was a mistake.
KLOTZ: No, it was intentional.
BOWE: Knock it off. How do you know?
KLOTZ: Because I know.
BOWE: I know you’re trying to be a tough guy in front of your client, but why don’t you knock it off? I know you’re trying to be tough — defend your big client. I understand that. This was a mistake.
BOWE: I’m sorry I used the word “Stevey” if I offended you.
COHEN: I’m not a big client.
So…yeah. That happened. Clearly there’s a bias here given my previously stated hatred of the nickname “Stevie” and applications thereof, and also due to the fact that I’m a big fan of what some would characterize as disproportionate reactions and white shoe lawyers talking like they’re in Goodfellas, but I don’t think I’m going out on much of a limb here to say this is one of the greatest pieces of dialogue I’ve read, ever. Like, you wouldn’t be shocked if instead of Bowe saying “I’m sorry I used the word “Stevey” if I offended you,” the line went “I’m sorry if the word ‘Stevey’ offe– [gun shot ].” Martin– call me.
*Choosing instead to simply burn up inside.