Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I enjoy watching one particular defence solicitor work. She's not widely appreciated by some of the bench chairmen - they see her as insubordinate and rude. Personally, I see someone engaging in a full-throated support of the interests of her clients.

I've seen way too many lethargic defence briefs doing as little as possible for their money. Don't think for a moment that I give any extra credence to what she says, just because she says it well. It's just that it's good to watch a professional doing good work.

If one of my friends were in legal trouble, I'd advise them to do three things.

(1) Phone her and pay whatever it costs. It's probably a lot, but this one is worth it.
(2) In court, do exactly what she says.
(3) In court, don't do anything she doesn't say.

The last few times I've seen her in court she has been representing people on Legal Aid, and so they have been getting world-class legal representation and not paying for it. Do they rejoice in this and take full advantage by letting her work ? No, they tend not to. They answer back to the prosecutor, they chew gum, they swear under their breath. In one case they even turned up drunk and told a long rambling story while she was speaking.

She's a lot older than her clients and this is the point where she suddenly turns into Mother-from-Hell on her clients. In one case her client was in the dock behind a sheet of plexiglass, digging a hole for himself with his big mouth. She put on a face like thunder and turned and strode over. His eyes widened and he shut up, stepped back and involuntarily sat down. She winked to the bench and without missing a beat carried on with her argument. Pure class. Her client was someone too stupid to fear the police, the courts or anyone on the streets. And yet, through an inch-think sheet of plastic, a middle-aged woman in an ethnic skirt knocked him over with a look.

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