I like my partner.
Maybe “like” is too strong word. Mutual tolerance is closer to the mark.
At the moment we have a few relationship issues, which threaten to distract us.
For instance, it’s my fault if he doesn’t understand something.
An idea or concept explored in a client advice that he does not grasp immediately is thrown back at me with: “You obviously don’t understand the issues here.Go and do some more research.I’m sure there was a case a few years back on this very point.”
I used to respond meekly, “OK, I’ll see what I can find”.
More recently, I’ve asserted myself: “I have already read that case, plus five others and come to the conclusions set out in my advice.”
A row ensures – raised voices, flared nostrils, nasty glares.
Frequently he insists we should brief counsel to explain, as I clearly don’t understand what I’m writing about.
On one emboldened occasion I shot back: “No, you don’t understand.Don’t bother wasting the client’s money with counsel, I can explain it to you if you’ll give me two seconds and actually listen!”
Strangely, he listened and the advice was sent, as is.
Yet, on the occasion of another unpleasant flare-up I was ordered to redo my research and rewrite the advice.
I left his office, and on my way past his secretary’s desk, I popped the advice back into his in-box.
The next day, it was returned to me signed with a compliment about how well written it was.
Sometimes the frustration is too much and I imagine strangling him with his badly patterned Ferragamo tie.
When senior associates are added to the mix, suddenly the bodkin on the SA’s desk starts to look like the easy way out.
A particular SA I had the misfortune to work for went out of her way to ensure I understood how poorly my letters and advices were drafted and how charitable she had been in rectifying this incompetence.
She would chop and change my advices until they were unrecognisable.They would then be sent to the partner, who would chop and change everything back!
There was a pleasant hiatus when she went on maternity leave.
After she returned my partner was so stressed and busy he passed several of my advices to her for checking.
She promptly informed me they had been given to her because they were so terrible my partner could not bring himself to read them.
I sat poker-faced for 15-minutes while she sneered and picked at my work.
As soon as I could I headed downstairs, out of the building, across the street and into the public toilets.
I locked myself in a cubicle and screamed from the top of my lungs until the fury subsided.
This seemed like a better option than killing her with her own water bottle and leaving her child an orphan.
I was then able to return to the office and butcher my advices in accordance with her instructions.
Just another day in the law.