Not telling the truth

These are the words that every lawyer must absolutely ban from their vocabulary because they make you sound like you are lying, which is a permanent stain on your character and the end of the road as far as your job is concerned:

Actually. You’re not giving extra emphasis with this one. It sounds like you have not been telling the truth and just decided to come clean. That is the death knell for your career as a lawyer.

Literally. You are a lawyer. Everything you say better be literally true. When you say this one you sound like you are exaggerating something or adding figurative emphasis. Both of these kinds of speech are deadly in court.

Quite frankly. You damn well better be frank from the moment you get to work in the morning until you go home at night. When you say “quite frankly” you are suggesting that you aren’t normally frank but are doing it now because this is so important or something equally stupid. If a Judge ever gets a whiff of something that makes them think you have not been completely frank with them you are done.

Honestly. You better be honest from the first word that comes out of your mouth. If you have to say the word “honestly” then you sound like you haven’t been at some point. Also, people say “honestly” to convey surprise or some kind of amusement. Save those for when you talk to your friends at the bar after court.

I’m not going to lie. Well of course you aren’t because you’re job and bar license are on the line. You just went to law school for three long years, passed the bar exam, and now have $120,000 in student loans you have to pay off somehow. Why would you suggest that you could have been lying in the past but won’t now for some reason? Don’t ever say this one, even at home with your cat. You better get it straight that your word is golden from the first syllable out your mouth to the last thing you say at the end of the day. If you have to tell the Judge that you “are not going to lie” then there is a serious problem with you.

-Samuel Owen

© Samuel Owen 2012. All rights reserved. Please read important notices and disclaimers by clicking here.

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