April 2, 2015
Wednesday 1st April @ 9:16am
Every aspiring lawyer knows they should get some invaluable court experience under their wig. Whether that be just visiting to sit in and listen to a trial, to take part by completing some advocacy or marshalling or even on a victim support scheme. At some point during your academic training you will have visited a court.
After 7 years of being in the industry and working on litigated cases you would think I would already have this experience but no, I don’t. The only time I had ever visited a court was to attend the enquiry counter or to submit a bundle or other documents which needed to be severed. Oh and to attend an interview with a High Court Judge many years ago to become his secretary – I turned the job down as I hadn’t realised I would actually be sat on the bench and that petrified me! I had never set foot in a courtroom, especially not a criminal one given it isn’t my specialist area or the area I wish to go into.
Nonetheless, I am aware of how important it is to gain that experience and even make contacts. I signed up to the MJLD remand scheme in conjunction with Liverpool Magistrates Court and I am currently sat in the waiting area sipping on a hot cup of tea to calm my nerves before going in. However, this isn’t my first time, I attended Birkenhead Mags on Friday to support someone I knew while they had their plea hearing. I arranged their solicitor, provided support and advice throughout the whole process.
It was very interesting for me to see it from the other side and see a former colleague giving advice and then “perform” in front of the magistrates to negotiate the clients sentencing (they pled guilty as they didn’t wish to take the action any further due to the torment and distress the issue was causing despite being innocent). I was in awe, and it opened my eyes up to the criminal legal system and advocacy. Perhaps it may be of interest to me after all? I will see if I feel the same after this mornings viewings.