Tag Phrases

BigLaw Associates like tag lines. We like tag lines mainly because we can’t think of anything clever to say or anything appropriate to say since we don’t really know how to act during interpersonal interactions, so we revert to tag lines. We use phrases like:

“When should I circle back with you, Mr. Demanding Partner?” (read: when the fuck do you want your project so I know whether I’m going to be able to go home and get laid anytime over the next five days while I’m busting my balls for you?)

“I need you to bird dog some issues.” (read: I want you to read this dd memo for me because I don’t wanna and flag shit and if you miss anything, then I’m going to spank you like a bad dog).

“Please advise” (read: I’m a prick–who really uses that phrase under the age of 65??)

“Let’s sit down and try to get our arms around this.” (read: I don’t know what the fuck is going on but you’re going to sit here with me until I figure it out.)

“Why don’t you hammer a draft out?” (read: I should have told you about this earlier but I forgot so you’re going to have to pull one out of your ass under a tight deadline but it still better be perfect.) An alternative is “Why don’t you slap a draft together?” (this one is normally said on a Friday at 4:45pm)

“Just so we’re on the same page…” (read: I wasn’t listening to you. Can you just repeat what you said and I promise to listen to you this time…maybe).

“Let’s do lunch” (read: let’s not do lunch, unless you can help me in someone advance my career but then I will back stab you later on).

“Let’s save our bullets” (read: oh, if only practicing law was like a gun fight in the wild west, I wouldn’t want to stick a dull pencil in my eye to liven things up so let’s pretend this negotiation is a gun fight. I’ll be Wyatt Earp. You can be the guy that Val Kilmer played in Tombstone that kept saying “I’ll be your huckleberry.” ).

“We can’t ride the fence on this one.” (read: We need to take sides, afterall, you can’t be both the pimp and the prostitute.)

“Protect the fence line.” (read: I’m going to stick the junior associate up on the front line and tell them to argue with the other side instead of me so I don’t come off as the asshole.) When the other side calls me all pissed off, then I can back off and just blame it on the junior associate for not giving in earlier. works every time because then they’ll give in on something I want at the same time. Everybody wins. Except the junior associate).

‘We’re up shit creek without a paddle.” (read: oh, a junior associate is going to take the fall for this one and it ain’t gonna be pretty.)

The list just goes on and on.

Have your own favorite tag line and interpretation? Email us a SBigLawAL@gmail.com or leave it in the comments section.

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2 Responses

  1. I’m surprised not to see the plain old “FYI”. — Most commonly as in “I’m worried I might get my ass kicked over this, so I’m cc:ing in everybody I can think of to spread the blame when the shit hits the fan.”

    The other FYI is usually followed by a long email containing (hidden inside an attached case summary or another email that has already been forwarded 10 times across several different mail systems) obscure hints which might be interpreted as recommendations or instructions, albeit with no apparent current value or actual application.

    The FYI here usually means “I’m too stupid/bored/lazy/all of the above to break this down into something comprehensive and relevant so I’ll just forward you the raw data: If I screw up later, I can dig out this email and ask you why the hell you didn’t warn me about the serious implications page four of attachment 3 could potentially have for our current case.”

    The common denominator here is that both FYIs are precursors to “up shit creek without a paddle.”

  2. You’re right, we totally forgot the FYI. We also forgot “low hanging fruit,” “let’s not reinvent the wheel,” “throw them under the bus,” “woodshed the witnesses,” “come to Jesus meeting,” “dog and pony show” (but that one is used about lawyers not by them).

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