Friday Files: The Mad Partner Editor

I worked for a couple years in a boutique firm of about 30 attorneys. Smaller numbers did not make this a warm fuzzy place to work. The parnter I worked for most of the time billed a ridiculous amount of hours, like 3,000 annually. Some of it was actual legal work, but a lot of those hours were from micro-managing and editing documents to make them worse — I’m sure you’ve run into such beasts.

The associates in the office who worked for this particular partner, let’s call him Hank, were sick and tired of all the crazy, nit-picking, make-your-writing-worse edits he insisted upon. So we decided to have a monthly contest. Whoever got the worst Hank edit of the month would get lunch on the others’ tab.

It was a great idea, but shortlived. Hank’s secretary won the all-time title in the first month.

Even if you’re not a litigator, I’ll bet you know the standard boilerplate for affidavits: “I certify under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.” And should you need to look it up, it’s in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Even after 9 years away from practicing law, I don’t have to look that up.)

Well, Hank gave his secretary this edit on an affidavit: “I certify under the penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.” Yep, he added THE to the boilerplate. He edited the FRCP!

We just couldn’t go on with the contest after that.

I am not making this up — I’m just not that good.

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