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June 20, 2013

AFTLO (Acronyms For The Law Office)

by WSBA
law office acronyms
Check out NWLawyer Editor Michael Heatherly’s list of acronyms, unless you have a CATE.

law office acronymsYou know how because of texting, smartphones, Twitter, and whatnot, we can’t write in full sentences or even full words anymore? We reduce things to abbreviations and acronyms to the point that you’re srsly ROFL just thinking about it. (See also popular Internet list “Teen Chat Acronyms Parents Should Know” — e.g. PAW = Parents are watching; LMIRL = Let’s meet in real life, etc. — which is kind of funny unless you actually are the parent of a teen, in which case it’s what keeps you up at night.) For better or worse, there could be a set of acronyms to make communications more efficient in situations we encounter in our profession. I’ll propose the following, and I’d love to see any you’d wish to add:

CATE – Client About To Explode. Probably since lawyers were invented, their office staff has needed ways to alert them when things were about to go really bad with a particular client. This would get the idea right across.

DFPB – De facto pro bono. There’s the free work you do for the good of society, and then there’s the free work you do because, well, your client didn’t pay you. This is the latter.

APUSC – Accidentally picked up sales call. For when you pick up a call from the Mr. Smith you assumed was a client or opposing counsel, only to find out it’s the Mr. Smith who’s selling circus tickets or opportunities to join the latest get-rich-quick referral network.

WDTAHTDBV – Why does this always happen the day before vacation? There seems to be a corollary to Murphy’s Law that says if something can go wrong at any time, the time it will go wrong is in the last hour before you are supposed to leave for vacation.

CCBWN – Called client by wrong name. I once spent a good five minutes in a client conference with someone I eventually realized was not my client. About the time I was thinking how sad it was that I didn’t even recognize my client; I noticed that the client’s facial expression seemed to say he was thinking the same thing about his lawyer, who was actually one of my partners.

GTBHAN(A) – Going to be here all night (again). When you realize that one-hour research project is going to last until the sun goes down, and comes up again.

ESIN – Embarrassing stain in lap. For when you spill your vanilla peppermint chai tea or whatever in your lap or splash water down there while washing your hands, and you have to walk into a meeting in five minutes. (NWSidebar household hint: you can blot out a surprising amount of liquid by holding a piece of paper towel tightly against both sides of the fabric for one minute.)

CLECDITW – CLE Credits Due in Two Weeks. This is for the panicky moment during Christmas shopping season when you realize your three years’ worth of CLE credits are due at the end of this year. In the old days, you signed up for a weekend CLE in Wenatchee on water law. Now you sign up for a 16-hour online session like “Online Media Law Update for Lawyers Who Can Barely Work Google Maps.”

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