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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