Language of the legal directory decoded: the 2016 edition

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By Wigapedia on

The venerable Wigapedia returns to make his annual translation of the Legal 500


Earlier this month the latest edition of the Legal 500 hit shelves, once again sparking a social media frenzy among lawyers quick to *cough* subtly point out they’d been included.

Putting the humblebrags to one side for a moment, have you ever wondered what the Legal 500 actually is and what it all actually means? If so, we’ve got a treat for you.

Wigapedia has made his much-awaited return to Legal Cheek, to help decipher the popular legal directory.

The Legal 500 says

What it really means

‘Robust advice’ Often shouts at the clients.
‘A class act’ Probably has three-piece pyjamas. Definitely wears a watch-chain.
‘Polished’ Slippery as a groom’s new shoes.
‘Tough cookie’ There are a number of former opponents reputedly under his patio.
‘Easy-to-follow, concise advice’ Advice is colour coded, using short words and helpful pictures.
‘Technically excellent’ “Technically” quite good. Like Betamax.
‘QC clout without QC attitude’ Sometime picks his nose in conferences.
‘Meticulous preparation’ A bit OCD, makes everyone sit in height order in conferences.
‘A good all-rounder’ A bit like the Woolworths of the bar.
‘Balanced counsel’ Incapable of actually making a decision.
‘Very user-friendly and easy to communicate with’ Takes his iPhone into the loo and while swimming.
‘Quick to provide commercial advice’ Never seen the inside of a courtroom.
‘A reassuring presence’ Stands at the door of the court and won’t let clients in with casual shoes.
‘Unquestionable knowledge’ Doesn’t take queries about his advice terribly well.
‘Impresses clients’ Expensive suits; has a repertoire of card tricks for dull moments in mediations.
‘Gets to grips with complex cases’ Expensive suits; has a repertoire of card tricks for dull moments in mediations.
‘Great technical ability’ Can operate a fax, an android phone and can usually attach his advice to an email.
‘Commercially minded’ Demands payment upfront.
‘Impressive’ Large briefs.
‘Down-to-earth’ Swears in conferences; needs to wash more.
‘Focuses the minds of all parties’ Charges a fortune to go to court.
‘Collaborative approach’ Settles most of his cases down the pub.
‘An astute thinker’ Knows by lunchtime how badly the case is going.
‘Conscientious and client friendly’ Her conferences are a legal desert.
‘Recommended for copyright matters’ Other stuff, not so much.
‘Plenty of courtroom experience’ Has lost his driving licence on multiple occasions.
‘An invaluable resource’ Does a lot of free telephone advices.
‘Sees the bigger picture’ Rarely reads the actual papers beyond the instructions.
‘Personable, approachable’ Accepts instructions via Facebook.
‘Gives clear and practical advice’ Tells most clients to emigrate quickly before the judgment.
Very bright advocate’ Uses a lot of Latin. No idea what she’s on about most of the time.
‘Adept’ You may want to count the spoons after the mediation has ended.
‘Nice’ Dim.
Well respected’ Well past retirement.

Disclaimer: For entertainment purposes only. Inside knowledge gleaned from long lunches with Legal 500 researchers is not admissible as evidence. Your Legal 500 entry may be at risk if you put it on Twitter too often.

Wigapedia (aka Colm Nugent) is a barrister at Hardwicke in Lincoln’s Inn in London.


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