Saturday, April 14, 2007


You asked me to work some changes into a document for you a couple of days ago.

Let's talk about that.

Non-legal readers may wonder why a qualified lawyer is needed to make changes to this document.

Well, the trainees are mostly occupied doing menial tasks - bless their socks - for a partner who is higher up the pecking order than you are. Your secretary could probably put through a couple of the basic changes but unaccountably she left at half past five and the one night secretary on the floor is busy handling work for - you guessed it - those same senior partners. Doc Centre has refused to work with you since 1998 on account of your bizarre scrawl.

That leaves me.

I'm the obvious choice really. Because I have some background on the matter -thanks for taking me to that meeting - I can pick up the points you meant to put in, the comments you almost mentioned, and the devastating analysis that you swore you wrote on the document but which you actually absently doodled onto a stray piece of paper that you won't discover until you open your Telegraph on the train back to the Home Counties tonight. I can do it quicker, cheaper, and faster than any other practical alternative.

That's not saying much.

First, I guess I skipped the cryptography classes at law school. As the Americans would say, strike one. The initial forty pages of comments read like Linear B. I mean I tried my Greek primer but it's got nothin', and the bit of the Rosetta stone dealing with completion mechanics must have dropped off before the British Museum got hold of it.

Never mind, let's say I decode that. Then we hit the Warranties. You certainly let them have it with both barrels! At least, I think you did. Your by-hand amendments run joyfully across the page. They leap, they turn, they twist. They frolic between lines, curl against corners, shoot off at 170 degrees and then, with a cheeky and knowing glance, they duck around the page to continue overleaf. Sometimes they are large, bestriding the carve-outs like colossi. Sometimes they are small and crabbed, skulking between riders that you've made on separate pages.

I think that that section you wrote on page 56 was in Arabic. But it's hard to tell, since it's crossed out, marked up, lined down, cross-referenced against a section written in block capitals in rider 64B1 and double-cross-referenced back to clause 19 of the version you used in That-Matter-No-Don't-Tell-Me-It's-On-The-Tip-Of-My-Tongue-Anyway-It-Was-About-The-Same-As-This-One-But-Better.

And clients have a problem with the hours juniors work.

Bite me.

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