‘It is with great respect... It is with grave concern that we note... It is disappointing to say the least... With all due respect...’ What is it about our profession that practitioners feel the need to use these hackneyed and mostly meaningless phrases? I speak from the perspective of a family law practitioner so maybe this is unique to my field.

Whenever I receive these remarks in letters I can only assume the letter writer is being snide. They mean ‘without any respect whatsoever to you, your client, or your position....’ It is a slap on the face with a velvet glove and feels more juvenile than professional.

It is better just to tell the other party where we feel they have made an error in assessing the situation. Chortling up one’s sleeve, while inculcating a sense of superiority in one’s legal acumen over a fellow colleague is certainly, in this age of the modern legal profession, beneath us.

Daniel P Gallagher, Allan Rutherford Solicitors, Norwich