In Lieu of What I am Actually Thinking


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

It was a period of gainful productivity that exceeded the average yield, it was the first year of law school.

On second thought, maybe lawyers like me cannot be Charles Dickens. Yes, most of us get paid in six-minute intervals, but we cannot get paid by the word. Our writing has to be concise, to the point and, zealously arguing on behalf of our clients. The proper word choice and the voice and phrasing play such an important part in everything that I send out on behalf of my clients. This means, at least for me, that I cannot publish what I actually want to say when I am writing a f***-off letter for a client or a submitting a f***-them brief to a court. My problem (well, one of my problems) is that I usually cannot write in the canned lawyer speak that is acceptable for public professional consumption.

Doesn’t everyone have a boilerplate MOTION TO COCKPUNCH OPPOSING COUNSEL? Oh… I guess that’s just me…


Since vulgarity, personal attacks and martini-induced parlance are frowned upon, this means my court filings, letters and emails are full of replacement words that take the place of what I want to say. I am going to guess that I am not alone in my censoring that goes on as our professional missives are refined. In an effort to help those who face the same dilemma that I face when attempting to craft lawyerly writings, I wanted to provide a quick reference guide with several phrases that you can use in place of what you really want to say.

Ex. 1: The Time Waster

The message you are trying to convey: Your opponent has a history of being a whiny boil that has misused the Court’s time on multiple occasions.

What you want to say:

Mr. Hackey-McDouche, Para-Lawyer at Llaw, has filed multiple motions to waste my f***ing time.

What you can say:

As the Court will recall the prior issues between the parties.

Ex. 2: Irreconcilable Differences.

The message you are trying to convey: Your opponent will not bend from his extreme position.

What you want to say:

Defense counsel has adopted the negotiating tactics, mental state and fashion sense of Kim Jung-Il.

What you can say:

Counsel insisted on his interpretation of the agreement.

Ex. 3: Negotiating Impasse

The message you are trying to convey: We offered a great deal to the Plaintiff for a settlement.

What you want to say:

I offered to blow the Plaintiff.

What you can say:

We attempted to resolve the pending issues.

Ex. 4: Bonehead, Esq.

The message you are trying to convey: The last time opposing counsel stopped listening to reason, he lost. Badly.

What you want to say:

Counsel has seemingly forgot the resounding judicial bitchslap that occurred only weeks ago.

What you can say:

The Court ruled against counsel.

Ex. 5: He asked for it

The message you are trying to convey: Your opponent is continuing to be a moron but nevertheless, you attempted to throw him a rope to save himself. He responded by tying it around his neck.

What you want to say:

Despite my offers to fellate the Plaintiff, Plaintiff’s counsel’s losing record and the fact that the Court has never taken kindly to his insolence, Plaintiff’s counsel said damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.

What you can say:

Unfortunately, counsel was steadfast in the certitude of his position.

Maybe one day, maybe one day real soon, I will be able to start writing without censorship—but not yet. At the moment, I am only left to submit drafts that contain colorful language to the people that see my first drafts: my partners, my law clerk and those who read my blog.

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/40964293@N07/4160835158/)

Read more posts on Bitter Lawyer from the Namby Pamby. Or follow his writing on thenambypambyblog.com or @thenambypamby.

5 Comments

  1. Guano Dubango

    July 5, 2011 at 9:24 am

    This man has something to say. I say provide him with freedom of the press! I love America! I may stay here and become a citizen if I can find an American woman willing to marry me and bear me issue, even if my Aunt Ooona does not approve of her.

  2. Linda G

    July 5, 2011 at 11:26 am

    So interesting these legal posts. I am thinking of going to law school, but need a mentor who can guide me as to what I should not do, how I should study for the LSATs and which school’s to apply to once I get my results.

    I am a college Junior, and hope to become a lawyer in Washington DC. Right now, I am at Illinois State where I am a physical education major. I do not know if this will help or hurt me to get into law school, and the guys I talk to do not focus on my questions to much.

    If there is someone out there who is willing to mentor me, I would be very happy. Thank you.

  3. Strenuous Objector

    July 5, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I’ve always believed that the best way to get revenge on the idiot lawyers is to 1. let them hang themselves with bad motions in court while pointing to those mistakes, 2. bury the pain deep inside and never ever let it come out, and 3. except when firing a summer associate who will one day be said fuckass. The pent up rage will only fuel your desire to win and then beat him up in the parking lot.

  4. Desire Empire

    December 14, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    And this is why I left the profession 10 years ago and now blog about design, gorgeous food and coastal lifestyle. The things that really matter.
    Carolyn

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