JLU: Junior Lawyers' Union

Asserting the rights of junior lawyers, who have much more power than they realise.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The art of drafting

A partner at the firm I work for recommends a form of catharsis whereby, before drafting a letter to a client or another party, you draft the letter you genuinely want to write to them. Then, feeling purged, you delete it and write the letter you need to write.

This same partner, for example, recently punched out a quick client letter in my presence, advising how tremendously pleasurable it was to present said client with an enormous bill each month for doing very little. He signed off the letter "Love and kisses". He then deleted the bulk of the letter and replaced it with a solemn advice on the various steps we were currently taking to continue generating large fees while running on the spot. "Love and kisses", however, inadvertently remained.

It was left to this junior lawyer to quietly replace "Love and kisses" with "Kind regards" before the letter went out.

Despite that incident, your loyal Shop Steward has adopted the approach as best practice. So taken with it am I that I have drafted and redrafted my resignation letter several times. Most recently, I decided to put the whole letter in square brackets and move the opening bracket one word to the right each time something evil happens at the law firm at which I work - until the entire letter is revealed, at which point in time I intend to submit it.

That bracket is creeping ever closer to "Love and kisses".

Perhaps I should have written a longer letter. Or joined a better firm.


Blogger Legal Eagle said...

Ha ha, I like it. I wish I'd said "Love and kisses" on my resignation letter.

One of my former bosses had a short letter he wanted to send various clients and solicitors on the day before he retired. It was short...but suffice to say, it was not sweet.

05 September, 2006 21:49  
Blogger the angry bee said...

Be careful where you keep your drafts - one of my ex-boyfriends (although not in the legal industry) drafted his resignation letter, but kept putting off handing it to the boss, and just updated the date on it each week.

One night the boss was alone in the office and rifled through the papers sitting on my ex's desk - only to find a stack of 20 or so resignation letters, each dated a week apart. He got the message...

06 September, 2006 09:51  
Blogger Shop Steward said...

The resignation letter in question, AB, is saved as "confidential" on our system and, theoretically, can only be seen and accessed by me. I think it would be quite amusing to see the reaction if my resignation letter was "discovered" in these circumstances. As far as I know, there's nothing improper about drafting a resignation letter and the other parties involved would need to produce a reasonable explanation as to why my confidential documents were being perused.

A question I have been pondering, though, is to whom I should hand my resignation letter when the time comes. There is, as Legal Eagle observes, the inescapable question of office politics.

I can't face the prospect of handing it to the partner I work for, as he tends to be somewhat emotionally erratic and there's no telling what he might say or do in response. But going over his head to the Staff Partner or some other senior figure seems to be breaking the chain of command as well as a little melodramatic.

The idea of advising HR, meanwhile, seems silly. HR is really the outer arm of the law firm galaxy. Once you're hired, they play no role of any consequence. All real decisions are taken by the partners.

At this rate, I'll manage to avoid resigning altogether simply because I can't work out who to inform of my intention to resign.

07 September, 2006 09:44  
Blogger Legal Eagle said...

When I resigned, I notified both HR and my former bosses at the same time. I then sent an e-mail around to my colleagues and friends saying that I had resigned.

A week later, HR got around to sending a firm-wide e-mail telling everyone that I resigned. Everyone forwarded it on to me saying, "Tell us something we don't know!" What is it that HR does exactly?

12 September, 2006 23:07  
Blogger I am the Queen of F*%&ING EVERYTHNG...OK!! said...

Do it , you know you want to...move that bracket forward and just shove it under their noses :)

16 September, 2006 23:37  
Blogger I am the Queen of F*%&ING EVERYTHNG...OK!! said...

Do it , you know you want to...move that bracket forward and just shove it under their noses :)

16 September, 2006 23:37  

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