Phew. Well. The topic of this column is the culture I observed in the legal profession and how the worst wrongs sit atop giant below-surface ice bergs of smaller wrongs gone un-examined. It's a topic that has been burning a hole in me for quite some time but one I haven't felt able to discuss. Which is kind of the point. (You can read it here.)
This column is about keeping your lawyer skills within the lawyer domain as much as possible, and not letting them leech into other areas where they may not be as useful. Of course, when I wrote this column back in January (a simpler time when Me Too and Times Up were but months and weeks old), the New Zealand legal profession was not grappling quite so directly with the issue of lawyer creeps, so the title is now a little unfortunate.
In this episode I speak with Justice Kós, sitting President of the Court of Appeal, and at different times a litigator, an academic, and a teacher. We talked about his reasons for becoming a lawyer (another count for "good at English"), and his reasons for staying one (law as vocation); his perspective on the bench, both from appearing in front of it and sitting behind it; reforms to the civil system that promise increased access to justice and reforms to the criminal system that promise greater justice full stop; how his upbringing as the child of a refugee helped form his view of New Zealand and the importance of its democratic norms and institutions; and what he has learned as a student of those who came before and a teacher of those who are coming up the ranks now.
I sat down for this lovely chat with Shaun, a senior solicitor in the employment/litigation team at a big firm, formerly an officer in the New Zealand army. We talked fit in big organisations, second careers and how to choose them, working parenthood, how to get the most from your supervisor and how to handle the worst thing that can possibly happen: mistakes (note: not the worst thing that can possibly happen, even if your brain is telling you otherwise.)
We also talked about Shaun's recent experience with the prestigious Pegasus Scholarship, which you can read about over here, and touched a little on what it might be like to practise law in the military, which you can read more about over here.
Hello lovely listeners. Today I have December's column for summer clerks, which holds truths applicable not only to summer clerks. Unfortunately in the editing process the numbers of my numbered list got taken out, but I hope you will muscle through anyway.
I am loathe to say it is a Christmas miracle, but...it's a Christmas miracle! The podcast returns! Now with monthly episodes, hopefully increasing to a higher frequency next year. It feels really good. Thank you to the many of you who reached out to me during the hiatus - you are wonderful.
In this episode I spoke to Nichola, a senior legal and policy advisor for the Law Commission with a background in private practice in New Zealand and the UK. We talked working in the UK vs working here, working in private firms vs public service, and big firms vs small, all of which came down to that beautiful notion of finding your fit. Nichola is also a parent to two wee boys and we talked about how she has navigated family life and work life. It was a joyful and utterly delightful discussion that goes quite nicely with the end of year wind down.
Some of you may not be aware but I write a New Lawyer column for LawTalk every month. They are a joy to write because I do not have to write in the style of a legal text book and sometimes they let me mention my dog. It's great.
Hello my lovely listeners. Just a quick check in to say that instead of returning this week we will in fact be taking an indefinite hiatus while I give full attention to a health issue I am dealing with. I do have some wonderful guests scheduled to record later in the year but just when we will be recording and releasing those episodes I do not know yet. Stay subscribed to the podcast feed or to Facebook or Twitter and you will know when we start back up.
In the meantime, subject to that health issue, I am appearing on the Wellington Young Lawyer Committee panel on junior lawyer mental health and wellbeing on 16 August, so if you want a podcast-like fix and you are in Wellington, please come! You can book here.
This episode was all about innovation in law, a topic I and my guest Chris get very excited about. It includes a brainstorm on how to balance the need for innovation with good ol' lawyerly risk aversion. In researching for this episode I came across a press release for a 2016 report on innovation in Australasia that includes the sentence, "The majority of Australasian law firms rate themselves as innovative but there is little evidence to support this claim...". However, it is not all bleak; below are some examples of lawyers already thinking differently and doing cool things to modernise how law is practised. Again, I must emphasise my recommendation that all lawyers read the Marque Lawyers website in its wonderful entirety.