How to Feed a Lawyer (and Other Irreverent Observations from the Legal Underground)

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That's not unique to law practice... I send the CYA e-mail summary for *all* meetings I have in virtually every job that I've had. They not only serve to save yer butt when you have to deal with someone who conveniently "forgets" a conversation, as your memory starts to fail you in old age, they serve as a useful personal knowledge base. ("Now *what* did I promise Bob I was going to do??!")


I always try to disguise mine. In this case, the memo would've had a cover letter, something like "Here's the memo you requested regarding the status of Project Y. The project for Lawyer Q, to which I've been reassigned, will take until (Date). If you would like me to work on Project Y after that time, please let me know. In the meantime, if (the other peon to whom you've assigned Project Y) has any questions about this memo, I'd be happy to assist." Not incredibly subtle, but effective. Important when dealing with rat bastards like Hateful Eighth Year Associate.


Stan, your post reminded me of a conversation with a former boss:

Boss: Mike, did you finish that article yet. (I was ghosting an article for her.)
Me: Ummmm, you told me to shelve the article to work on x-matter.
Boss: No, I didn't. You must have misheard me.
Me: Well, if you want me to work on the article now, that's fine. I can finish it in two days. But I don't want you to think I can't follow instructions. Please hold on a second to let me pull up the e-mail you sent me.
Boss: Oh, I don't need to see any damned e-mails! Just finish the article like I told you to in the first place!


Stan, if you hate being realistic, you can pretend that it's merely a device to avoid misunderstandings. Then your conversation in pretendland goes like this:

Hateful Eighth Year Associate: I don’t remember the conversation.
Stan: Let me forward you the e-mail I sent you about it afterward.
Hateful Eighth Year Associate: Oh my god! I completely forgot about that. Thanks for reminding me, Stan.

Marcin Tustin

Do American lawyers not have some kind of professional logbook or journal? All engineers keep one, not least these days for the purposes of CYA; English solicitors have to write "attendance notes" regarding client advice and meetings, although I don't know if the same mechanism is considered appropriate for general internal CYA notation.

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