You would say that

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The Devil’s Advocate

In which the curmudgeonly old sod puts the world to rights.

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A nascent theory of professional legal practice.

A private practitioner’s greatest fear is a bright-line. You can’t do anything with a bright line: it just sits there, unambiguously demarcating boundaries, dispassionately indicating what is in and what is out.

You can't vacillate around it. There are no penumbras, no degrees of shade, no room for pause, for careful contemplation of remote but feasible phantoms loitering in dark recesses. You’re either one side or the other.

Lawyers like to vacillate. That is why they turn up. Any opportunity to to blur the edges of old white line is an opportunity to extemporise on a client dine whilst taking little or no risk and whilst subjecting oneself to little or no criticism.

There is an art, therefore, of casually injecting just enough peripheral doubt into matters that — just to be on the safe side — a cautious client will acquiesce with her counsel’s suggestion of some extra work.

What sort of in-house counsel would gainsay her own adviser? That strikes against the heart of the relationship. Who would reject legal advice to take a bit more precaution? Who ever got fired for hiring IBM?

So, for example, we are told that institutional big boy letters should be effective at disclaiming liability for prospectuses at least when selling too sophisticated institutional clients.

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