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  • Writer's pictureMarie Hadley

My First Courtroom Experience

Ally McBeal

Sitting on the train, surrounded by professionals in their corporate attire, for once I felt I didn’t stand out. Today I was joining them. This was the first day I had ever worn a suit and it felt surprisingly good!

My uni offers a court experience program and this was my first day shadowing a barrister. It may sound pompous, and I bet you just don’t want to admit you feel the same, but it felt awesome walking into a courtroom in a suit with a brief case. I finally felt that maybe I could accomplish something amazing with this degree.

Sitting in the court, understanding the jargon, softly chortling at the sarcastic and witty remarks of counsel – one barrister noted in a discussion of a possible weapon in the defendant’s pants, “maybe he was just happy to see you?” – you really start to feel that you’re a part of the legal world. In this world you can sometimes spend an entire day waiting for an interpreter to be found, or for a single fact to be agreed upon.

Of course, that’s not to say it’s all fun and waiting, and there is a certain amount of tradition to contend with. I have a lip ring, and although I was dressed in a suit and behaving professionally, it certainly seemed to confuse some barristers.

For most law students, hours of leafing through textbooks and legislation means it can be very difficult to imagine what ‘real world’ legal work will be like. If this sounds like you, I can’t recommend highly enough taking advantage of programs that allow you to experience the law in practice. It is such a huge learning experience, and surprisingly fun!

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