How to speak lawyer: a guide for trainee solicitors and pupil barristers

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The relationship between a trainee/pupil and their supervising lawyer is a complex one, fraught with potential for miscommunication. @Wigapedia provides a translation table to help both parties better understand each other…

What supervisor says

What supervisor means

What trainee hears

I hear what you say

I entirely disagree and do not want to discuss it further

He accepts my point of view

With the greatest respect

You are a total idiot

He’s giving me respect

   That’s not bad

That’s good

That’s poor

That’s a very brave Advice

You are clearly insane

He thinks I have courage

Quite good

Not very good

Quite good

I might suggest…

Do what I say exactly, or be prepared to justify yourself

Consider my idea, but do what you think best

Oh, incidentally/by the way…

The primary purpose of our discussion is…

This can’t be very important

I was a little disappointed that …

I am very annoyed that …

It doesn’t really matter that much

That’s very interesting

That’s plainly bollocks

They are impressed

I’ll bear it in mind

I’ve forgotten it already

They will probably do it

I’m sure it’s my fault

It’s entirely your fault

Why does he think it’s his fault?

We must have lunch

We’re not having lunch, I’m just being polite

I’ll get a lunch invitation soon

I almost agree

I don’t agree one bit

He’s not far from agreement

I only have a few minor comments

Please redraft this completely

He has found a few typos

Perhaps we could consider some other avenues?

Your suggestion is ridiculous

He has not yet decided



Wig and Gown

Has @wigapedia heard of passing off? This is the well known British/EU or British/Foreigners translation table that have been doing the rounds on the Internet since legalcheek was in nappies.


Alex Aldridge

Has Wig and Gown ever heard of using an existing format to write a very funny and original article about lawyers?


Passy Fist

Have Wig and Gown and Alex Aldridge ever heard of chill pills?



No, this is literally plagiarised. See for example:

Very poor form from Legal Cheek – you’re so much better than this!


Wig and Gown

I have Alex, but ‘using an existing format to write a very funny article’ involves the courtesy of crediting the original author rather than passing off someone else’s work as your own.

You (rightly I should add) get cross when other publications claim an exclusive on a story that you broke first. This is no different.



This table comparing ‘what they say’ with ‘what they mean’ had been around since at least the 1930’s initially mocking funny foreign people and it developed over time to mock Europeans, Londoners, Southerners, Sloanes etc. according to the social targets of the day.
no-one claims ownership of it anymore than anyone claims ownership of knock-knock jokes.
I didn’t invent it and Legal Cheek didn’t claim to either.
Read it and laugh or don’t as the mood takes you. I’d say ‘keep calm and read on’ but that’s be plagiarism too, presumably?


If it's not Patrick Swayze it's nothing

Legal Cheek could have had the author modify the table to be more relevant to the legal profession and therefore actually generate some content. Instead it was just a copy and paste job. Can I become a Legal Cheek contributor by taking various “LOL ENGLISH PEOPLE” jokes I find online and inserting the words barrister/solicitor/partner/supervisor?


Your name

Nice to have Flatmate 1 on the comments section.


In Chambers On Saturday

Plagiarised or not, I have a pupil starting with me in February and they had better know this table by heart by then or…I shall be disappointed.



Like the fact that a supervisor is always a “he” according to this


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