The Weekly Grind: 8

May 21, 2015

More advice from lawyer/hipster Nathan Grind


Dear Nathan, my partner dresses like a barmaid. I suspect it’s none of my business, but I’ve heard a couple of our clients making disparaging comments. Can you assist? Susan B

Dear Susan – what do you mean by ‘barmaid’? The barmaids down at my Shoreditch local, The Beard and Beanie, don’t look bad at all, although to be fair most of them only wear black leggings, ironic t-shirts and bangs.

What I suspect you mean, given your cri de coeur, is that she dresses like 1960s-era Babs Windsor in a period comedy: prominent chest, uncovered legs and make-up that looks like it’s been applied with a catapult.

In which case, friend, we are indeed in dodgy territory. Because whilst our objections might justifiably be dismissed as sexist, there’s no question that in the commercial world in which we operate such visual infelicities are probably doing her and your firm the diametric opposite of a favour.

Here’s a Venn diagram to illustrate that point.

Put differently, by dressing like something out of a 1970s Two Ronnies sketch, she’s unnecessarily narrowing the field.

Now, there are two things you can do.

The first is to engage a well-dressed, sympathetic (senior) colleague (female or gay man) to present herself or himself as your partner’s ‘shopping buddy’.

The other is to pay a friend of yours to follow her down to the local pub or wine bar and mistake her for what she appears to be. Asking her to shift some ‘dead’ glasses or lob over a packet of pork scratchings should have her trundling down to her local Whistles or Hobbs in no time.

Dear Nathan, I accidentally copied a friend at another firm in on an email I was sending to a client. The client and my partner have understandably gone ballistic. What can I do to salvage my reputation? M.F.

Oddly, exactly the same thing happened to a friend of mine a few years ago. He thought he was cc’ing a deputy general counsel, but in reality sent it the head of business development of a rival firm, with whom he’d had some dalliance.

I’m afraid that his reputation was not ever repaired. First, he was shunned by his colleagues; later they resumed cordial relations but took the mickey out of his misadventure. People would send him email ‘copied’ in to spuriously chosen individuals, such as the office cleaner, Bill Clinton and Derek Griffiths.

My colleague, when passed over for partnership for the umpteenth time, as a result of never quite being able to wash off the stain of email incompetence, eventually had to jack it all in, and the last I heard he was working as manual labourer in a distribution centre in Kenilworth.

In short, your lapse of concentration signals an abhorrent inability to perform at even a basic level. (Who’d trust your drafting if you can’t even check email recipients?)

You’d be better off leaving the industry before you waste too much time on it. Go into something that requires fewer completer/finisher skills, such as surgery, underwriting and forging Faberge eggs. NG

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