You guys. I had such a wonderful conversation with Sacha Judd, and it is so great to share it with you now. Sacha is a former lawyer of 20 years who now works in the technology and innovation sector as the managing director of Hoku She’s worked in banking and finance law, studied at the London School of Economics, worked in Singapore and Hong Kong, and even left the law for law-adjacent pastures. She also takes a beautifully systemic view of culture in the law and is a powerful voice for culture change. (Read the article I mention over here, and read more of her work at her website here.) We had much to discuss.
You’ll note that there is no introduction on this episode. I figured that by now you guys knows the drill about subscribing to monthly digests and I could just jump right in. You are welcome.
In this episode I spoke to Cassandra Kenworthy, a junior barrister from Wellington, about almost everything in the world. We went from her science background to how she found law to academic writing to animal law to participation in legal profession groups to practising with a chronic illness to networking without networking to the podcast she has in the works (for which there will definitely be updates here when it launches). I'm such a fan.
February being the wily thing it is there is just one new column this month: a Dear Katie column on all the things one might be if not a lawyer. Toni Morrison tells us to write what we wish we could read, and this column is dedicated not only to the questioner (hat tip to Claire, 22), but also to the version of me wondering about her future circa 2009.
In this episode I sat down with my former mentor, John Mackintosh, a long time consultant on practice management and the business side of law, and one of the loveliest humans I’ve encountered. John was hugely supportive of my efforts to start a practice that did law differently, and was just as generous in sharing all his wisdom on the pod. We talked about why people go into partnership or sole practice, why he made Stepping Up the way it is, what law gives you that you can take to any other job you like, and how he incorporated his interests in teaching and management into his career right from the start.
This is a really lovely conversation, but if you want even more from John and you’re in your first year of practice, you might like to sign up for his CCH webinar “Making your way in your first law job”, coming on 20 February 2019.
In this episode I talked with Zoë Lawton, an independent legal researcher and writer, and it was so wonderful. Zoë’s career has already taken her to all kinds of interesting places, including a academic research on the implications of complex family law scenarios, to clerking in the Family Court, to research through the Law Foundation about the court system itself, to independent research, analysis and writing for government departments, not to mention her own legal journalism. She also spent much of last year publishing a “MeToo” blog for the profession, documenting anonymous stories of bullying and harassment reported to her, and giving cultural context to the ongoing issues the legal profession has with gender parity, bullying and sexual harassment. Despite the darkness of this last topic I felt so good and hopeful afterwards, and it was lovely, as always, to speak to someone who followed their curiosity and wound up somewhere unexpected and really cool. What an utter delight!
And finally, over at LawTalk,it’s nearly that time of the year where I wonder if this will be the year I try eggnog. In LawTalk column 924, “In Praise of a post-Christmas zoom out”, I talk about my favourite holiday past times, eating Mackintoshs and taking stock.
In this column I posit that our mental capacity is akin to M&Ms, and our activities akin to bowls, and I really just run with that. It’s a model for understanding mental functioning that helps one plan anything from a day to a life, and it’s something that gets missed when people allocate only resources like time and money. It also helps us all be a bit kinder with ourselves and each other, which is only good.
A reader wrote to me to ask whether anyone other than A+ honours students gets jobs after law school, which is a fair question because the message perpetuated in law school seems to be a resounding no (this is wrong).
In Part 1 of my response I address the issue of grades vs jobs specifically, incorporating information I got from a lovely legal recruiter I know. In Part 2 I zoom right out to the issue of grades and worth, an issue that as a recovering high-achiever (who did not do honours, by the by) I have grappled with for decades now. Even if you’re no longer in the position of receiving letter grades for your work, you can substitute feedback of any kind and get a similar result.