Beginner lawyers need to understand Partner Talk (“PT”), which is the language that law firm partners use.
Here to help the newbies are some translations from Partner Talk to Plain English (“PE”):
PT: Your first few years of practice is the time to learn your craft. You do not have to worry about business promotion at this stage of your career.
PE: For now, we just need you to focus on your billable hours. You may think that we are going to teach you how to promote business when the time comes, but that won’t happen because we will be too focused on continuing to pile work on your desk. At a later stage we will tell you that you cannot be considered for partnership until you have your own client base.
PT: Your written communication skills require improvement.
PE: Back when I was a young person, we graduated from school knowing how to write. You don’t. You better learn.
PT: I see what you were thinking here, and you are not actually wrong.
PE: Back when I was a young person, we learned how to work things out the right way. You have not approached this the way I would have done it, but I guess that your answer is kind of right.
PT: The substance of your document is fine but the style can be improved.
PE: Back when I was a young person, we learned to draft properly. You did not do it the way I would do it. Even if your way is better than the way that I would do it, you have to change it.
PT: I have made some comments on your draft for you to consider.
PE: Make all of these changes using the exact words which I have marked.
PT: Can you possibly get this done today?
PE: Do it today.
PT: Do you have any plans this weekend?
PE: I have a file that I need done by Monday morning.
PT: The client needs this to be done this morning.
PE: The client gave it to me two weeks ago. I never got to it. They called again five minutes ago to ask where it is, and they are not happy. Now it is your problem!
PT: The client says that they want an aggressive litigator on this one.
PE: Our case is weak. I need you to think of something that we can argue that might survive summary judgment. Then I need to you explain it to the client in an animated manner and remember to tell them how we are going to kick ass.
PT: The client specifically asked for you Sam because he thinks that you can be aggressive. Ask Susan to help you with this.
PE: Even though Susan knows this area of law better than you do Sam, and we both know that she is smarter than you are, the client is a misogynist and I don’t have the guts to stand up to him.
Once again, you are welcome.