How to deal with a Pompous Arse
in Careers Advice, Employers, Legal Profession

How to deal with a Pompous Arse

I don’t know about your business, but in ours on a daily basis we have to deal with some really pompous arses. I don’t like using bad language when writing articles, but there really is no other way of describing some of the people we come across each day.

The definition of a pompous arse in the legal profession is a fee earner who;

  1. Uses Victorian and/or Latin quotations or language ;
  2. Employs 5 very long words for every 1 nice short word that would have sufficed;
  3. Peers down at you – way, way down. Quite possibly over the top of their glasses and if not then over the tip of their nose.
  4. Decides that as they are a solicitor or barrister they are in some way superior to everyone else, even if the person they are communicating with is also a qualified lawyer.
  5. Operates on a higher intellectual level than everyone else, and hence there is nothing that you can say that will have any effect or be of interest to them, because clearly your intellect level is less than theirs.

The TP Legal Solution to dealing with a Pompous Arse

Fortunately we have a system in place for avoiding such people, which is that we try to avoid doing any work for them. This is because if they are pompous arses with us when trying to recruit someone, we have no wish to find out for our candidates what they are like to work with.

Years ago I worked with such a solicitor and he used to take great pleasure in explaining cases to me in as much detail as possible before rolling his eyes if I asked any questions at all and ending the conversation very abruptly because clearly I lacked the intellectual capacity to communicate with him about the case he was explaining to me.

Why does our profession attract these people?

I suspect it’s simply a case that a lot of law requires a lot of explanation and quite a bit of our work as lawyers is at a higher intellectual plane than the level at which most people operate.

Does this mean everyone needs to be a pompous arse when dealing with the law?

No of course not, but unfortunately it seems to mould some people into being like this.

So our advice for anyone who has to deal with pompous arses on a daily basis is simply to try and avoid it as much as possible because chances are if you recruit them they’ll drive everybody mad, including your clients, and if you have to deal with them on a daily basis chances are they’ll as likely drive you mad as well.

Or even worse turn you into a Pompous Arse.

You have been warned..

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 20 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at You can contact Jonathan at