• Sardonic Solicitor

The new blog: welcome to the Sardonic Solicitor

Updated: Oct 30, 2021

Hello and welcome to my new blog. Thanks for reading. I hope that you will enjoy this going forward. I appreciate your support.

Why have this blog? What inspired me to start blogging?

Great questions I hear you ask. If you asked me those questions six months ago, I would have laughed off the idea as ludicrous. However, the world is almost unrecognisable now. The novel coronavirus #COVID19 has changed everything. With the advent of lockdowns around the world, we have seen large scale and tragic loss of life in addition to seismic social, economic, political and environmental impacts.

Scientists continue to study COVID-19. The race for a vaccine is ongoing. However, it is unlikely that vaccine trials with a scalable global rollout would occur before the third quarter of 2021 at the earliest. We are still riding in the wake left behind by the speeding oil tanker of chaos that is COVID-19 on global waters. Trillions have been wiped off global indices. Millions of people around the world have lost their livelihoods. Many industries have been brought to their knees. Airlines have been crippled and smaller operators have fallen into administration. Several staples of the high street have either closed huge swathes of their network or shuttered up for good. The hospitality and travel sector have been beset with losses.

Conversely, this period has seen record growth for tech companies. Apple is the first company to hit a market capitalisation of US$2 trillion, overtaking Saudi Aramco as the most valuable company in the world. Amazon has seen record growth in the first quarter of the pandemic with net sales for its third quarter representing some 30% growth. Additionally, renewable energy sources have received record investment globally.

Against this backdrop, millions of workers across the world have started working from home (or #WFH). Juggling work, home-schooling and family life, from kitchen counters, dining tables, spare bedrooms, garages or even the top of the stairs. I had rarely worked from home before the onset of the pandemic. Now I have not set foot into the office over the last six months. That is a massive shift in work culture for me and hundreds of millions of people worldwide. We are also amongst the fortunate ones. White-collar workers have enjoyed greater flexibility by being able to work from home. On a socio-economic level, the middle classes seem to have overwhelmingly been better able to utilise home working. While this shift to WFH has been to the detriment of many in the working classes. Numerous jobs, regardless of so-called class, in healthcare, law enforcement, industry, agriculture, and manufacturing do not have that option.

I am profoundly grateful for that flexibility. In the context of the turmoil unleashed by COVID-19, my trials and tribulations adjusting to working from home, lockdown and generally spending more time at home scarcely seem to merit a mention. However, in the microcosm of my life, the pandemic has brought about profound change.

The uncertainty, isolation and obscure outlook for the near future have induced in me huge levels of anxiety. I found myself struggling to cope, perpetually worried about job security and being able to provide for my family. I was glued to online news sources; constantly refreshing google search for “coronavirus news”. I was trapped in a cycle of anxiety: click, read, and then turn back to anxiety.

I decided to take up journaling. It seemed to be a positive outlet for my thoughts, concerns and frustrations. I was reluctant to start. But once I began to write, proses, ideas and introspections began to flow. I found myself carving out more and more time from my days to write. I would write every day for a month without missing a journal entry. I found the process invaluable. It gave me pause to reflect and provided momentary calm in the enveloping media storm.

However, a theme quickly emerged in my writing. Having this outlet made me consider the all-encompassing nature of my career. I am a partner in an international corporate law firm. Law has been my career for the majority of the last two decades. I joined a law firm straight out of law school. I have built a successful career, good network, book of clients and a solid team. Yet, this has all come at a cost. The more I wrote in my journal, the more the cost solidified as quickly as the transfer of thoughts from mind to paper.

What can you expect from this blog?

I will explore my experiences from all stages of my journey through life and law. I will share a glimpse into the world of corporate law, without the high fashion and polished veneer of TV shows like Suits. Although Harvey Spector is a hero of mine (apart from the unethical hire of a fraudulent lawyer with a photographic memory). I can overlook that as over-exuberant creative licence on the part of the show’s creators. The reality of law is closer to the world of the ne'er-do-well, Louis Litt. We have all worked with our fair share of characters like Louis. Snivelling excuses for human beings, deeply flawed, socially awkward yet with often brilliant legal minds. Read into that what you will about the propensity for the law, and corporate world more generally, to attract those with more than a fair hew of sociopathic tendencies.

You will join me as a fly on the wall observing the hard slog and relentless onslaught of client work. It can be all-consuming, creeping into your evenings, weekends, holidays, celebrations and parental leave. You will see plenty of examples of the darker or the simply dickish side of human behaviour from fellow lawyers, clients, intermediaries and other advisors alike. There are examples from both ends of the spectrum. From grandiose hyperbole of the partner who declared “I can close a deal on Christmas Day if I want to!” to the ridiculous complaint of a client refusing to accept a trainee solicitor attending a meeting in place of an associate who was travelling. In an email the client made this immortal statement: “This is the thick end of the wedge. What next? Will you be sending us your office cleaner?”. Not only is that extremely offensive to our office cleaners who are lovely, demeaning to our excellent and capable trainees but it is also incredibly funny. In their rage, the client mixed up the idiom referring to the “thick” rather than the “thin end of the wedge”. I think we all know whom we can describe as “thick” in this anecdote. This fumbled idiom has become the stuff of urban legend in our office. It is an apt illustration of many of our dealings with that client over the years.

In this blog, there will also be a fair bit of fun being poked at the internal bureaucracy and petty politics that you come across in many organisations.

Outside of law, I will likely cover other issues that are near and dear to me such as family, life lessons, technology and other general musings.

Hope you can join me on future blog posts.

58 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All