Photo by Jamie Davies on Flickr
I have Olympic fever, literally. Sore throat, headache, sneezing, the works and whilst other colleagues in the office have been immune to my legal lurgy, many have been competing in their own office-based events.
This week, for example, I’ve witnessed a secretary in the 400m backpedal. She claimed to have sent out an engagement letter before later confessing. We’ve also had a team of trainees in the 10m Due Diligence Dive into a sea of papers and a corporate partner in the Long Client Management Jump. The client was upset about calls never being returned promptly. Has nobody told him that the Olympics are on? In London?
Today some of my colleagues will be competing in the following events:
Men’s 100m Out Of Court Settlement Sprint
Men’s 42kg Warranty Wrestle
Women’s 62kg Trademark Taekwondo
Men’s 200m Confidential Canoe Sprint
Women’s Synchronised Shareholders Agreement
Men’s Bona Fide Boxing Match
You’ll find me in the cheap seats, cheering them on. Achoo!
Photo by Kevin Dooley on Flickr
Lawyers hate to be wrong. Period. It’s in their DNA. It’s unlawyerly and utterly unacceptable or as Lemony Snicket puts it, “it is very unnerving to be proven wrong, particularly when you are really right and the person who is really wrong is proving you wrong and proving himself, wrongly, right.”
But in this post I want to propose five reasons why being wrong – a little wrong, wrong in a whoopsie don’t I look stupid kind of a way, rather than this is likely to get me booted out of the profession kind of a way – may in fact be, erm, right.
1. It will lull the other side into a fall sense of security;
2. Change is good. It will put a spring in your step and you’ll feel like a new lawyer;
3. Clients will find it comforting to see your human side;
4. Losing control is character building; and
5. You’ll probably become better acquainted with your professional indemnity insurer. Well haven’t you always thought that he sounds like a right laugh on the phone?
Photo by iglazer on Flickr
If you sit around all day in a law firm drinking coffee and eating crap, you get fat. Period. Seriously, the scales of legal justice are incredibly unforgiving. I myself have gone through a period of denial for the past month or so, a month in which I have barely left the office. It’s just that weird light or that dodgy mirror that is making me look fat. I’m fine. I don’t need to exercise. I have a super-human metabolism. I haven’t gained a pound. Seriously, there’s nothing to see here. Classic, classic denial. Anyway, I bit the bullet last night by weighing myself and I am in denial no longer. I have been presented with a number and I don’t like the look of it. Not one bit. Admittedly, it would have been better if I had jumped on the scales earlier, but I didn’t. End of. It’s just that managing and indeed losing weight would have been so much easier if I had been more mindful of my every expanding waistline. I have, however, now seen the sugar-free light. Address this problem, I will. I must.
On the flip side, this period of denial has also taught me a thing about file management. From this day forth I will no longer hide nasty correspondence and ignore problems – an approach which only leads to really nasty correspondence and bigger problems. Moreover, no longer will I hide files until I change seats. Oh no, not this trainee. I will forevermore manage files and my waistline as if my future practising certificate depends on it.
Beats self up for eating a chocolate croissant this morning.
Adds “must dig out trainers” to my to-do list.
Posted: March 23, 2012 in Dear Diary
Tags: Attorney, English Law, Improving The Trainee Solicitor Experience, Lawyer, Magic Circle Law Firm, Solicitor, Trainee Attorney, Trainee Solicitor, Training Contract, UK Law
Photo by Oyvind Solstad on Flickr
At the request of some bods in human resources, I’ve been asked to come up with some thoughts on how and in what way I would improve the trainee solicitor experience. This is what I’ve got so far…
1. George Clooney as a supervisor.
2. Freedom to choose the clients I work for and my hours.
3. Free designer shoes, nutritious meals delivered to my flat and a cleaner.
4. A duvet day once a month. No questions asked.
5. And a secretary who is happy to do “trainee work.”
*deletes the above* *goes back to the drawing board* *stares at a blank page*
Posted: February 17, 2012 in Dear Diary
Tags: Attorney, Eggs, English Law, Lawyer, Life As A Trainee Solicitor, Magic Circle Law Firm, Solicitor, Trainee Attorney, Trainee Solicitor, Training Contract, UK Law
Photo by Rachael Powers on Flickr
Before I started working as a trainee solicitor I imagined that my days would go something like this:
6.45am – Alarm goes off. I jump out of bed. I feel great. Fresh. Alive. Pumped. 6.55am – I prepare and eat a nutritious breakfast. I take my time. I’m relaxed. I’m totally excited about the day ahead. 7.15am – I shower. I like to sing in the shower. So I do. 7.45am – I find myself waiting to get on the tube to work. Everyone’s smiling and I get a seat. There are no delays. There is no smell of urine and every part of my commute goes swimmingly. Like clockwork. 8.15 am – I arrive in the office. My secretary loves me. We high-five each other. I rock. She rocks. We both rock. We’re all one big family here and my colleagues could not be more supportive. 8.40am – I open my inbox. A client writes to tell me that my letter before action was a masterpiece. She can’t thank me enough. 8.45am – I review some evidence. I find something that proves our client’s case beyond all reasonable doubt. The other side cave in and the managing partner pats me on the back. The managing partner knows what I’ve done. He knows my name. In fact, he tells me to book a spa weekend on the firm. So I do. I won’t be working over the weekend any time soon. I know it. He knows it. 9am – My supervising partner tells me that he doesn’t know what he would do without me. He asks if I want one lump of sugar or two in my coffee. I tell him that I’d like one lump and an almond croissant, lightly toasted. He should know how to work the office toaster. He’s had enough non-chargeable practice. 10.02am – I stare at a contract. It stares back. 10.35am – I propose some amendments. My client loves them and my opponent is too dumb to understand grasp their impact. It’s like stealing candy warranties from a baby. It’s too easy. I’m not breaking a sweat. Actually, I’m not even thinking that hard. 11.00am – My opponent calls to discuss the proposed amendments. I dazzle him with my contractual charm and the whole thing is wrapped up by lunchtime. He has no idea what he has done. And I needn’t worry about printing off copies and getting everything signed. That’s what paralegals are for. Right? 1pm – I sit down for a nice long lunch. I have a great view of London and everyone laughs at my witty anecdotes. I’m hilarious. Glasses are clinked and everyone cheers. Heck, the client is paying and everyone just wants me to be happy. Some firms think paying you is payment enough. Not this firm. Not these clients. My happiness is paramount. 4pm – I stumble back into the office. Everyone cheers. I hear a whoop and a whey hey! I love the enthusiasm. The dynamism. It’s just want the trainee recruitment brochure promised. 5pm – The New York office calls. They want me to give a talk about adding value. In person. And the legal press wants a quote on how I ruddy well do it. I’m amazing. I know it. My firm knows it. The legal press knows it. 6pm – I skip off home. Not a minute later. I go to a yoga class. I meet a friend for dinner. I can’t wait for tomorrow. I sleep like a legal log.
In reality, though, my days as a trainee solicitor tend to go something like this. Strike an eggy pose.
Photo by Bernard Goldbach on Flickr