Proofreading Failure Subjects Lawyer To Embarrassing TV Appearance

Proofreading Failure Subjects Lawyer To Embarrassing TV Appearance
Small Law Firms
Mar 2023

Proofreading Failure Subjects Lawyer To Embarrassing TV Appearance
"Not" is a magic word. Three little letters that spell the difference between credibility and a humbling experience. Consider the value in the sentence "Linklaters is NOT ritualistically branding its associates with the firm logo." Without the "not" that sentence conveys a dark sense of that firm. And it would be completely false... that's way more of a Cravath thing.

In any event, in the case of UK lawyer and public relations specialist, Jonathan Coad, a missing "not" made for an unpleasant evening.

For anyone not following UK politics, former health secretary Matt Hancock's chat messages got leaked and revealed that he was deeply worried about efforts to relax lockdown procedures in late 2020. Given the numbers in early 2021, he might not have been wrong! He talked about a plan to frighten the public about COVID, which would be atrocious if fabricated, but there's nothing to indicate he wanted to say anything untrue and he suggested threatening disloyal Tories who might go along with lockdown easing, which just sounds like "how parliamentary government works."

British media is covering this like it's Watergate because everything is stupid. In a piece on GB News, Jonathan Coad was brought on to discuss the matter and introduced by the host noting that Coad was "actually recently asked to act for Matt Hancock."

Things got wild.

Matt Hancock's lawyer pops up on GB News, is introduced as such before having a massive rant that he explicitly said he didn't want that mentioned.

Host then pulls up the email showing he said he DID want it mentioned... he'd missed out the "not" pic.twitter.com/lqIOlCkDsi

-- Calgie (@christiancalgie) March 5, 2023

Legal Cheek notes:

This revealed that the lawyer had missed out a vital word in his email request. It read: "As a courtesy to the lady who approached me to act for [Matt Hancock] I would be grateful if it was mentioned that he asked me to act for him (via his assistant)."

A "not" would help!

That said, I'm not sure how it would be a courtesy to mention that someone tried to hire him but didn't. Does it show good taste or something? From the context, I'd be a little curious that Coad might have accidentally missed something.

Still, he took the news in good spirits.

Prompting much laughter from the live audience, Coad responds: "You're absolutely right, it's my mistake I missed out the 'not' -- I take all of that back. You're right and I'm wrong. Fair dos I'm absolutely wrong about that, my apologies."

That's a solid PR professional at work. Get out ahead of the error.

Email typo causes lawyer to have a complete nightmare on live TV [Legal Cheek]

Proofreading Failure Subjects Lawyer To Embarrassing TV Appearance
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you're interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.