Every corporate lawyer knows that a great corporate clerk is essential to running their practice. However, in order to work most efficiently with their law clerks, corporate lawyers need to be able to communicate with them effectively. Here are some translations from Lawyer Talk (LT), which is the language that lawyers use to speak to their law clerks, to Plain English (PE):
LT: This is urgent.
PE: I sat on it for three weeks and my procrastination is now your emergency.
LT: Can you get this done today?
PE: Please stay until midnight if necessary.
LT: You know how to do this, right?
PE: I’m hoping that you do. If not, could you please figure it out. I don’t have a clue.
LT: Put aside everything else and work on this.
PE: I am the biggest of the big shots around here so I get to have my work done first.
LT: Do you have a few minutes to do something urgent? It won’t take much time.
PE: Do you have half a day to clean up one of my messes?
LT: Here is how I think you should do it.
PE: You know as well as I do that I have no idea how you do what you do. I am just talking to make it look like I am in charge. Just ignore me and do it however it is that you do this type of thing.
LT: Can you explain why you did it this way when I told you to do it that way?
PE: Thank you. I don’t know exactly how you just saved my ass but I know that you did, and if you explain it to me slowly, using small words, I may get it right next time.
LT: I have done all of the documents except for some minor resolutions and share transfers. Can you do those this morning?
PE: My billable hours are low this month so I did the “clerk work” to keep my hours up. When you try to do the “minor resolutions and share transfers” you will find out that everything that I did was wrong and you will have to fix it all up in order to get the job done so that the firm will not be embarrassed and I will not be sued for negligence. When it comes time to bill the file, we won’t be able to bill all of your time and my time, so I will write your time off. When you ask me for a raise, I will tell you that your hours were very low this year.
Again, you are most welcome.