I just heard this phrase on the radio and hunted it up … this is a good description with a delightful beginning. I really have to incorporate this firm of solicitors in a novel or short story 🙂

nasty, brutish and short
Thomas Hobbes: author of Leviathan

Origin – Nasty, brutish and short aren’t a firm of particularly unpleasant lawyers but a quotation from Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan, or the matter, forme, and power of a commonwealth, ecclesiasticall and civill, 1651. The fuller quotation of this phrase is even less appealing – “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”. Hobbes described the natural state of mankind (the state pertaining before a central government is formed) as a “warre of every man against every man”. In the book he outlines the ‘incommodites’ of such a war:

via Nasty, brutish and short – meaning and origin..