So you are starting pupillage hoping to use all the skills you have learned at University to be the best lawyer possible, but pupillage will teach you values that the books do not teach you.
You are sat in a court room for 8.30 mentions. You have arrived at 8.25 to make sure if you have any cases against senior lawyers they are not dismissed in your absence but today you do not so you sit as you await for your case to be called.
Values to learn:
Respect: cases are not called based on punctuality but seniority so you learn to respect the hierarchy that senior lawyers’ cases will be called before yours.
Patience: so a whole stream of lawyers have just entered the court room and all senior to you so you learn patience as you sit and wait with your eye on the time as you know you have a 9 am hearing at the Supreme Court. You also learn to be patient with life your time will come when your case will be called first. Be patient.
Respect for authority: you are at the bottom of the hierarchy and most of the time you unquestioningly accept the decision of the adjudicator, besides they must know better than me is a common thought. There will be occasions that you will disagree with the decision being taken by the adjudicator but you learn restraint. You do not argue with the him or her. If you disagree you can appeal.
Restraint: The Court is a place where you show the utmost respect to the adjudicator, the court orderly, interpreter and your peers at the Bar. Your learned friend acting for the other side will sometimes be condescending or arrogant to you or plain out bully you but remember in the court room always show respect and decorum for the Court. RESTRAIN YOURSELF FROM ACTING OUT.
Preparation: you are still junior you will not know all the answers and no one wants to be scolded by the Magistrate or the Judge for a lack of preparation, so the short answer is this: prepare, prepare, prepare.
It is never personal: as a lawyer you work in an adversarial environment, every day is an exam and you are always pit against another. There will be many disagreements but remember it should not be taken personally.
So it is 8.55 and your case has been called and you need to get to the Supreme Court for your 9 am hearing and as you drive there all you can think about is this:
” do not speed, speeding is dangerous, speeding kills and if I was caught speeding and entered the dock of the Magistrates’ Court what would I say in my plea in mitigation? Your worship I am a baby barrister I had 8.30 mentions in the Magistrates’ Court and a 9 am hearing. That is all.”
I am still thinking today whether this would be a plea in mitigation at all or more of a plea in aggravation. I can hear it now: Miss you are aware of the laws of this country? You are a baby barrister? So you know speeding is an offence?”
You: Yes. Yes. Yes.
The struggles of being a baby barrister.