YOU’RE FIRED: A LITIGATION LAWYER ON THE APPRENTICE 2: TRICKY CROSS-JURISDICTIONAL ISSUES: OUR LAWYERS SURVIVE
I am glad to report that both lawyer and law student survived the first round of the Apprentice. They were not, it has to be said, not at the forefront of the programme. There was no sign of “laying down the law in the boardroom” However, as ever, there are lessons for lawyers to learn.
This week the candidates were sent to Malta to buy key items at the best prices. The female team lost. Not due to any degree of skill on the part of the male team but because the female team failed to buy certain items and had a penalty imposed for lateness in returning.
KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING
The writing was on the wall for the losing team when someone asked “where is Malta?”
ABROAD IS A FOREIGN COUNTRY: THEY DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY THERE
Much time was lost because one team failed to take into account the fact that Maltese shops (outside the central tourist area) stop for “siesta” in the middle of the day. Knowing about cultural differences often helps. They have different attitudes, different legal systems, different limitation periods: a little knowledge can help a long way.
THINK ABOUT DEFINITIONS: THINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS WHAT THEY SEEM
It turns out that the “octopus with hose” that the teams were asked to buy was not an eight-legged sea creature at all but a piece of diving equipment. It is wise to be precise in relation to definitions, certainly before you spend your money.
BEING ON TIME
The result may have been different if penalties hadn’t been imposed for the female team returning an hour late. Being on time, regardless, is an essential litigation skill (despite the fact that the entire public transport and road system is often hell-bent on preventing arrival at court).
“THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND”
This was Lord Sugar’s summary of the team’s performance. A bit of case planning and cost budgeting would not have come amiss to be honest.
THAT CAFE IS GOING TO BE GETTING FAMILIAR TO US ALL
Now that there is no catering in many courts many lawyers are going to find themselves spending time in cafes like the one they send the losing team to. The conversations between lawyers, however, tend to be far less barbed (there are, of course, exceptions…). One day us litigators will earn ourselves a “treat”.