Being a lawyer is more straightforward than most think. There are a few tricks of the trade that can be learned. Sure, getting the degree, doing the post-graduate admission course, getting admitted to the bar and taking an affirmation, finding a job, selling your soul, giving up your weekends, living in constant fear of being sued, waking up in the middle of the night because you’ve missed a deadline for serving documents, are all necessary evils.
But if you don’t want to trouble yourself with the toilsome official part, skip all that and get to the real meat of being a lawyer in 4 easy steps. I accept no liability for any loss or damage suffered from your reliance on these helpful tips, should you find yourself criminally liable for fraud or suffer detriment to your credibility – of course.
Step 1: Tell everyone
When one first becomes a lawyer, everyone needs to know; Including most of the general population that appear not to care. I recommend slipping it into a conversation where ever possible: “Derek could you kindly pass me a napkin? I’m a lawyer, so I don’t want to leave food on my face.” Of course, it must be mentioned at work, “Hi John, I heard you were a little under the weather – don’t get me started on climate change and environmental rights, I’m a lawyer you know.” Or when asked how to get to the nearest post office, “the directions I am about to give you do not constitute legal advice and I accept no loss, damage or liability as a result of your reliance on them – I’m a lawyer you see.” And even at the supermarket, “I see these cherry tomatoes are priced at 54p on the shelf. However, when I scan them they ring up at 56p. You’re in breach of the Fair Trade Act. I’m a lawyer and I know my rights”. It goes without saying that posting pictures of yourself holding a briefcase on Instagram with the captions #lawyer #law #lawyerlife is essential. Any blogs, twitter accounts or Facebook details should be changed to insert the word “lawyer” before your first name.
Step 2: Get a mug
As with step 1, don’t leave anyone uninformed about your new position. A mug is a sly yet blatant way of getting the message across and forcing people to look at it, just like ad breaks you can’t skip in the middle of YouTube videos. My personal favourite lawyer mug slogans at the office include ‘World’s Sexiest Lawyer’, ‘Talk is cheap until you have to talk to a lawyer’, ‘SOLICITOR: Miracles performed daily’ and ‘Don’t confuse your Google search with my law degree’. I did request one of these mugs from my secret Santa at work; instead, I got a plain mug that said ‘You’ve been poisoned’ on the inside at the bottom.
Step 3: Dress to impress
Lawyers need to look the part. The lawyer dress code fits on a scale ranging from ‘tasteful and sophisticated news presenter’ all the way down to ‘I’ve given up and will be drinking myself into a stupor come 4 pm’. I usually score a firm ‘I tried for news presenter, but I was in a rush and had to take a shortcut through a muddy field’. Endeavour to start at the top before inevitably sliding down the scale over time.
When you’re starting out, you may enjoy taking pride in your appearance and refuse to wear yoga pants with heels. As the weeks go by, the distinction between professional clothing and casual clothing could become blurred. You may catch yourself reviewing your employment contract to check whether you can get fired for wearing pyjamas in the office. At this point, you could be on the cusp or be offered a promotion, or it could be the early signs of a mental breakdown.
Step 4: Send haughty and unnecessarily wordy emails
The lawyer look is not complete without ensuring that you’ve confused everyone. This can be easily achieved by providing long-winded answers to simple questions, ensuring that you avoid giving any constructive or helpful advice. My favourite phrases include, ‘it depends’, ‘I’ll need to seek further instructions’ with good scatterings of ‘furthermore’, ‘nevertheless’, ‘herewith’ and ‘albeit’. Finding obscure Latin words or phrases to throw in mid-sentence is also a popular tactic to disguise the fact that you’re less sure about the answer than the person who asked the question in the first instance.
So there you have it; the fake it until you make it guide to being a lawyer.
Alternatively, consider becoming an actress pretending to be a lawyer in a popular American television series. You’ll look a lot fresher for it come Friday, plus you have a better chance of marrying a Prince.
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