Technology has transformed the way we work. I specialise in litigation within the criminal justice system. I started out in 1989 and now have 30 years in the legal profession under my belt. Until quite recently we would to turn up at the Crown Court with boxes full of lever arch files. Now most of us have all our papers on a small laptop and just about everything we need is available electronically. Documents are passed back and forth by secure email, and we communicate with each other much more quickly. The only downside is that people often expect an immediate response to every email!
I dislike law that is over complicated. One area of law that I do a lot of work in is environmental protection law – this has grown over the years and encompasses both UK and European law. Unfortunately, those businesses and individuals most affected by environmental law are not always able to fully understand it. I would like to see the codification of environmental law to make it simpler and easier for businesses, lawyers and the Courts to understand.
I will always remember my first contested trial in the local Magistrates Court. I was representing a young man accused of causing criminal damage to a car belonging to his former girlfriend’s new boyfriend. My client was adamant that he was not involved and claimed that she was ‘a woman scorned’ seeking revenge on him for ending the relationship. His ex-girlfriend was the sole prosecution eye-witness but under the pressure of cross examination she tearfully admitted to the Court that she had lied, and we won the case.
When I was a trainee, my first boss and mentor was a man called Lawrence Petterson. He is the best criminal defence lawyer I have ever met. He taught me a number of important things which have always stayed with me: be tenacious (but don’t push too hard); always remember that you are playing to an audience; never ask a question of someone if you don’t know what the answer will be, and always show empathy for the person who will make the final decision on your case.
Try to use the law as your tool, rather than your master. In my experience, the most successful lawyers consider how they can use the law to obtain the best outcome for their client. It is not the law itself that is most important, it is how you apply the law to best resolve the problem faced by your client.
Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.