Junior and senior lawyers speak a different language
As the poor, tired, huddled masses of trainees and pupils gird their loins for their arrival on the legal shores, yearning to breathe free, Wigapedia publishes another helpful* guideline for them (and their selfless supervisors) to cope with the linguistic pitfalls that can befall both.
*’Helpful’ in this instance is not the OED definition but is used in the strict legal sense of being entirely useless.
What the supervisor says
What the supervisor means
What the trainee hears
|I’m not sure I follow||What the hell are you on about?||He doesn’t quite follow my idea|
|That’s not bad||That’s adequate||That’s poor|
|That’s not too bad||That’s surprisingly good||That’s not good|
|That’s not bad at all||That’s fabulous||That’s OK|
|Yeah, we could do that||That’s a terrible idea and I’m desperately trying to think of an alternative plan||He’s considering my idea|
|Anyway I won’t keep you||Bugger off right now||He values my time|
|How’s the rest of your afternoon looking?||I’m about to give you so much work to do, you’ll need a camp bed and at least one change of underwear||He’s interested in what I’m up to later|
|I hear where you’re coming from||You’re talking out of your arse||He’s listening to my point of view|
|Let’s come back to that…||We’ll never speak about that again||We’ll discuss that later|
|I’m sure it’ll be fine||I’m about to get sued for professional negligence||He thinks it’ll be fine|
|Don’t take this the wrong way||Be prepared to be more insulted than you’ve ever been in your entire life, you total waste of space||He’s about to offer some constructive advice|
|Each to their own||Your idea is certifiably mad||He respects my view|
|No harm done||You have just caused a totally catastrophic disaster||My mistake was pretty minor|
|These things happen||These things happen because you’re a complete cretin||It’s just one of those things|
|You’re looking well||You’re looking very fat||He thinks I’m looking well|
|That’s certainly one way of looking at it.||The completely wrong way||He thinks my perspective is worth considering|
|With all due respect||If your IQ was any lower, you’d need watering twice a week||He respects me|
|Let me give you some feedback on your advice||Your pathetic effort is already in the bin and I’m about the make you feel about 6 inches tall||I’m going to get some useful feedback|
|Have you thought about drafting it this way?||Draft the document this way, or find a new job||I’m being given the option of drafting it differently|
|That’s an interesting observation||How on earth did you pass any exams, let alone our recruitment criteria?||He thinks my point is an interesting one|
|I think we need to have a little chat||You’re fired||We’re going to have a chat about our interests and hobbies|
Hat tip to the hilarious @VeryBritishProblems for inspiration and ideas.
Wigapedia (aka Colm Nugent) is a barrister at Hardwicke in Lincoln’s Inn in London.
How to speak lawyer: a guide for trainee solicitors and pupil barristers [Legal Cheek]