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Leaving the territory of thought


Not that there isn’t a valid discussion to be had, but did the Law Society’s Fiona Woolf really have to announce that the Law Society is looking to encourage a discussion about flexible working and job satisfaction in these words?

And so, given its ever-increasing importance, the Law Society has taken the bold decision to enter, for the first time, the territory of thought leadership – to facilitate a better understanding the issues around staff retention and job satisfaction by exploring factors that help to meet the needs of not just fee earners but their supervisors and employers too.

Dear God in Heaven. What did the poor long-suffering English language do to deserve this? And who can we shoot to stop it happening again?

I used to be an academic and what I don’t know about jargon-ridden obfuscation can be written in 18 point on the smallest of post-it notes, but this is worse than any of the sins I ever committed (and for which I am eternally damned). It is banality posing as iconoclasm, the bleeding obvious clothing itself as professional insight and the tragically overdue flouncing about as ‘bold’ innovation.

What does this piffle actually say? A translation:

‘Given its ever increasing importance’

‘It might be a bit late in the day’

‘Taken the bold decision’

‘a lot of firms are going to ignore us’

‘the territory of thought leadership’

‘we’re going to suggest some ideas’

‘facilitate a better understanding’

‘point out the bleeding obvious’

‘exploring factors’

‘let other people also point out the bleeding obvious’

‘help to meet the needs of not just fee earners but their supervisors and employers too’

‘it won’t cost too much and might save you money in the longer term, maybe’.

So the whole thing boils down to

‘It might be a bit late in the day, but we thought we’d try to offer a few obvious pointers to firms about job satisfaction and why people leave. We know that some firms won’t like this or listen at all, but it might not cost too much’.

It is impressive that the same standard of language is maintained throughout the whole article, culminating in the glorious

There are great examples of not just lowering recruitment costs but of improving productivity and profitability as a result of debating the issues and matching expectations.

which sounds like it should make sense, but becomes more and more meaningless the longer you look at it. Excellent.

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

1 Comment

  1. Charon QC

    Brilliant… beautifully observed !

    I’m afraid I have taken the liberty of referring to it on my blog… could not resist – but with full attribution, of course.

    Set me up very nicely with my first Rioja!



  1. Saturday shockers and other matters… « Charon QC…the blawg - [...] Read the rest… Well picked up, if I may say, so NL! [...]
  2. Ah! ça ira, ça ira, ça ira | nearlylegal - [...] Item 1. Fiona Woolf talks sense. Let the heavens shake. It is almost enough to make me apologise for…

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