August is now the cruellest month after lawyers reminisced about the most stupid error junior lawyers have made at their firms.
"She ran out of desk space on a deal and placed a couple of lever arch files of due diligence docs on top of her waster paper bin", said 'Buzz'. "Then went home without moving them back onto the desk".
The recollection of the most magnificent failures was prompted by 'SlimmerKnave' on RollOnFriday's discussion board, who asked posters to divulge the dumbest thing an NQ, trainee or paralegal had done at their firm.
It threw up a trainee who enclosed a Without Prejudice offer in a trial bundle, and a junior who emailed the other side their client's instructions.
One junior lawyer was "unsure about what to do with all the correspondence from clients which came in without a reference", said 'ruftytufty', so "she hid them in a cupboard. All the correspondence from clients without references was for newly litigated cases".
'Shatner's Bassoon' encountered a "useless trainee" who also maintained a "cupboard of shame". "He shoved anything he cocked up/didn't know how to deal with" inside. It was discovered when he moved on, causing "a couple of weeks of frantic, pant-shitting damage control" in the department.
An "older guy on a second career" spent two hours of his vacation scheme photocopying a set of pleadings one page at a time, said 'Sorrydidyousaysomething', missing the telecon to discuss them in the process. "Found him wandering around in the corridor. He told me 'someone' had asked him to photocopy something but he couldn’t find the meeting room. I explained yes, that was me, and the meeting was finished".
"I was nice to him at the time, but I couldn’t exactly give him a glowing write-up". Alas, "he'd stapled the pleadings back together with the little stapler as well, looked like a fucking 2 year old had done it. I suspect he's head of Tax somewhere and has never stapled a thing since".
"That's Iain. He sits with me. He's nice enough."
One poster admitted that he had done the most idiotic thing he'd encountered. "I got into a lift on the first day of my training contract, saw the lift was manufactured by Schindler and said 'Oh, it's Schindler's lift!'", confessed 'Alan Partridge'. "Next to the head of IP, who had no sense of humour and also happened to be Jewish. Not my best ever move".
"A guy who was a trainee at same time as me was given the White Book one day", said 'ShootyMcShootyface'. "Two pages had Post-it Notes attached. 'Copy that for me', said the partner. He wanted the two Post-it Noted pages. He got (a few days later) the entire White Book".
There was also the "very keen young lady" who worked in the motor fraud department and didn't bother getting her correspondence checked before sending it. She bypassed the claimant's solicitors, said Shooty, "and wrote directly to a claimant saying, 'We think your claim is fraudulent and you're going to prison'".
An infamous Clyde & Co trainee generously hole-punched a document for a barrister "to save him time", and then proceeded to fax it to him in front of her awestruck colleagues. She also walked out of a client meeting straight into a stationery cupboard, and was so determined not to reveal her mistake that she stayed inside until the meeting was over.
Everyone makes mistakes, and readers, unless they are clients, should be reassured that many of the people who were dunces then are probably partners now. As for the genius who "posted on RollOnFriday about how everyone at his future training firm was a t**t", he's probably running the place.