User namePassword 

 Print this Issue Home  •  Archive  •  About Us  •  Contact  •  Advertise  •  Merchandise Subscribe  •  Free Trial
Victoria Mole
6 May, 2009  
The L word

There are limited social occasions when it is safe to mention that you are a lawyer. Vicki advises to use the L word sparingly, otherwise you’ll look like a “twat” [surely “twit”? Ed.]

Yep. They let me in. I even have the affidavit stamp to prove it (although she’s almost out of ink already):

Victoria Mole. 666 Collins St, Melbourne. An Australian Legal Practitioner within the meaning of the Legal Profession Act 2004.

Did I mention that I’m now a lawyer?

I’m already being given less things to proof-read and hole-punch now that my bill-out rate has doubled.

I’ve graduated to completing pro forma applications and cutting and pasting the rear ends of contracts.

I even have my first file as a billing solicitor – a $6,000 debt recovery for my supervising partner’s brother’s plumbing business.

I re-write my file notes in nice handwriting every time I get off the phone because I want my files to look absolutely perfect. Good habits from day one and all.

My newly admitted colleagues are doing the same.

I told Ned the other night how one of my fellow articled clerks has even changed his voicemail message on his personal mobile to advise the world that it is “Jai Thompson, Lawyer of the Firm” who cannot come to the phone right now.

I found this mildly amusing, but Ned went into hysterics. I retorted that he always plays the lawyer card – so what’s the difference?

For the benefit of all newly admitted lawyers out there, here is what he came up with.

It is OK to use the L word outside work hours:

* When you, your mum or a mate are getting screwed over by mobile phone dealers/ mechanics/ gyms/ insurance companies/ debt collectors etc;

* When call centre muppets incorrectly use the Privacy Act as an excuse to be even more unhelpful;

* When appealing fines with lengthy invectives about invalid liquidated damages clauses, habeas corpus or Wednesbury unreasonableness. It is one’s professional responsibility to assist statutory authorities and private carpark operators iron out kinks in their enforcement regimes. That said, wait until you receive the notice and don’t waste your breath explaining civil liberties to Melbourne ticket inspectors. And never do an Einfeld;

* When communicated by the subtle handing over of business cards in an attempt to negotiate border crossings or minor traffic offences in South East Asia; and

* When meeting your partner’s family (even if they are mobsters, it tends to make everyone feel a bit better about things).

Beyond these limited circumstances to play the L card without being directly questioned on the subject maketh one a twat.

And it will leave you having to pay for drinks and advise on fence disputes all night.

Like that other famous L word (no, not the one from the American series, although I suppose the same goes), use it responsibly, sensitively and only when it is justified and you won’t go wrong.

Reckon I can claim CLE points for that?

Yours faithfully,

Victoria Mole


Reader Comments

Posted by: Anonymous
Date: May 6, 2009, 10:30 pm

Ed - twat is legit slang for drongo. The OED Online says "a term of vulgar abuse cf twit and cvnt" My god, what is the OED coming to?
Posted by: Anonymous
Date: May 7, 2009, 2:56 am

"My god, what is the OED coming to?" Uh ... that's always been the definition of twat in the UK.
Posted by: Anonymous
Date: May 7, 2009, 10:09 pm

Dear Anon, I am from the UK (at least at one time). My feigned shock was more that the OED was going beyond defining extreme terms like cvnt and using such terms as either a cross-reference or as a means of explaining other terms. It's not entirely different from "sechsual intercourse - the act of union between or among men and women potentially leading to conception, cf jolly good shag". As I say, what is the OED coming to? Love, Anon.
Posted by: Anonymous
Date: May 8, 2009, 1:34 am

TWAT = The War Against Terror