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The Jolly Contrarian’s Glossary
The snippy guide to financial services lingo.™

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Oh dear.

Go back whence you came, and take the legal opinion you got from the council with you. Somewhere, in a comfortable house in the suburbs, Noel Edmonds is silently shaking his head. At you.

Once upon a time a young, uncynical clerk[1][2] was working on a credit-linked note one Friday evening, due to close on Monday. Earlier in the day he had sent out his final draft, by fax, and having completed the closing agenda, was putting on his blazer and collecting his umbrella from the corner of the room when the telephone rang.

There was a moment — all young attorneys have it — where he considered walking away and letting the phone ring, but this is not in a lawyer’s nature. Our young fellow puts down his brolly and picks up the phone. It is a partner, now retired, from a firm that shall remain nameless, now dissolved,[3] but not, even then, known for their derivatives practice.

Nonetheless this fellow announces he has been instructed by the client to review the legal documents. He wonders if he could have a couple of minutes to run through a few quick questions.

“By all means,” our young attorney replies.

“Now, the first thing: this sw-æp agreement.”

In an instant our young hero sees his fate. He resignedly takes his seat. It will be a long night.

See also


  1. Names have been changed to protect my identity.
  2. Foregoing witticism (c) 1995 David Frame.
  3. the partner, not the firm itself, I should be clear. The firm is a going concern, but has continued not to be especially world-renowned for its derivatives expertise, despite efforts to correct that (rather like this one), but technically is still there.