Here we are looking at advice given in January 2017 from contributors across Twitter all of whom volunteered advice to young lawyers.   Every one of these is basically a pearl of wisdom.  It is important that I point out that towards the end of this post there is some wise words from Susan Belgrave, a barrister who died earlier this year.  I never met Susan, but we interacted for many years on social media.   You can tell by the social media presence of some people that they have wisdom and compassion, Susan  clearly  had both.   We had regular  online discussions about law and cricket (and she had strong views about the West Indian Cricket team – she being far less deferential than me to their “star cricketers”). In her contributions here she is advising lawyers to be polite to everybody, particularly ushers and junior staff.  From what I have been told of her this is absolutely typical of her views on life and behaviour.  My condolences to her family, friends and colleagues.


“Don’t assume the other man in court is the usher & make “I want water” gestures. (He was a senior judge appraising the DDJ)

Rob Pettitt
always say give judge case summary, chronology + statement of issues at first CMC even if not
@snigskitchen@CivilLitTweet I may have said the Claimant’s case was “all emotion and no law” but my clients took defeat well.
@snigskitchen@CivilLitTweet It was Friday. The Chairman insisted on giving us the decision “today”. I wanted them to reserve it.
@snigskitchen@CivilLitTweet On my 10th and last wedding anniversary, I lost the unloseable case in a room in a hotel in N Wales.
@BudgenRupert@CivilLitTweet Don’t worry. Got beaten by that very stick many times in my life!
@Familoo@CivilLitTweet Exactly! If your brief contains a basic one, still do your own detailed version. #lawschool
@snigskitchen@CivilLitTweet The skill is doing in a way which doesn’t leave the client wishing they had different legal representatives (2)
@snigskitchen@CivilLitTweet Managing client expectations usually involves telling C of weaknesses in & just how risky/poor his/her case is.
.@CivilLitTweet 2 Managing client expectations is one of the first must learn things. Or you give them a stick to beat you with. #lawstudent
@CivilLitTweet If you order ramen by the case, it’s often cheaper than buying single packages.

@sally2109@CivilLitTweet whether or not u need one 4 the judge – u’ll know case backwards by the time u finish. 1/2 yr prep! #lawschool

@Familoo@sally2109@CivilLitTweet Learn how to forget every detail assimilated for last case to make space for next, & how to find it again

These #lawschool advice tweets are fab – all (often sadly) so true as well!
@spiki67@SuprCollegeChef@CivilLitTweet Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-client. Just wary how young lawyers can B2 trusting/keen 2 please.
@CivilLitTweet I always have an emergency pack for court – paper clips, mints, change for coffee machine, headache pills, spare pen, charger
@CivilLitTweet and how to get paid?!?
.@CivilLitTweet 4 Clients can be greedy, dishonest and demanding. Keep your eyes open and your wits about you. Be vigilant. #lawstudent
@andybarc@CivilLitTweet@reppermediator Get your wheelie case repaired. A good wheelie case is an essential tool of the trade.
 Retweeted by Gordon Exall
4:22 PM – 14 Jan 2017


4:22 PM – 14 Jan 2017

@CivilLitTweet All bundles should always be chronological. Begin at page 1 with the earliest document. Don’t do it thematically or by issue.
@CivilLitTweet If you can’t find a document’s place in the chronology, you don’t know the case well enough.
@CivilLitTweet Barrister like coloured stationery. Other advocates may not share the fetish. I don’t. Therefore, I can never be a Barrister.
 Retweeted by Gordon Exall
4:21 PM – 14 Jan 2017

@PaulSkinner84@CivilLitTweet – are you sure you don’t mean “Judges are beings imperfectly trying to be humans”?
@CivilLitTweet@TRLegalUKI Don’t be afraid to say to client you don’t know and will find out. They’ll respect that more than fudged answer.
@reppermediator@CivilLitTweet The environment is the only reason to do double sided copying. In practice, it’s horrible.
[City law] It’s v boring, but top ££ re the amount of brainpower expenditure required (none). You’ll do 3 years the…
@CivilLitTweet if you may want to photocopy what you’re highlighting later on use yellow highlighter -& never pink, blue or green #lawschool
@timoconnorbl@CrimBarrister@CivilLitTweet@MAM12CP Or suffer with emergency paper clips digging into neck
@CivilLitTweet remember that judges are human beings trying, imperfectly, to do the right thing.
@CivilLitTweet Don’t assume the other man in court is the usher & make “I want water” gestures. (He was a senior judge appraising the DDJ)
Great responses
@CivilLitTweet Everybody likes a guy that shares their mints. When waiting for a judge start eating one. A mouthful reduces the wait.
@alxbsitch@CivilLitTweet@off_the_Leish Lever arch bundles just need stronger arches. Ever spent a 5 day trial using one that’s bent?
@BudgenRupert@CivilLitTweet@MattJEJackson plenty too as an “out” ex cop… 😞😞😞

@BudgenRupert@CivilLitTweet@MattJEJackson As a cop, I encountered plenty of barristers & solicitors who hadn’t… And on here I find >

@seanjonesqc@CivilLitTweet Eg: Cork is terrazzo and old pitchpine, and comfortable. The Four Courts is granite, and leaves my feet aching.

@seanjonesqc@CivilLitTweet Even the flooring of individual courthouses will become familiar for the effect on your feet.
@CivilLitTweet You’ll spend a large amount of your life standing. Shoes in which you can stand comfortably for 4 hours + are essential.
 Retweeted by Gordon Exall
1:43 PM – 14 Jan 2017

@Michaelelyplace@CivilLitTweet WTF?! “That plastic pocket didn’t disintegrate in the post” said no person ever.
@MattJEJackson@CivilLitTweet I have encountered a few Barristers who have not heard this, Matt. One is a QC. He was rude to me and everyone
@MattJEJackson@CivilLitTweet else when I was the R’s Rep and he was for the Claimant. A few years later, I was his instructing Solicitor.
@alxbsitch@CivilLitTweet mate be of interest: Sheriff Appeal Ct in Scotland cracking down on form and layout of bundles now ….
@MattJEJackson@CivilLitTweet He was rude to everybody again. Always silky smooth with the ET and a brilliant advocate but he made it clear
@alxbsitch@CivilLitTweet expenses can be go against party where “A bundle of authorities which does not conform to this Practice Note…”
@MattJEJackson@CivilLitTweet that he believed he was better than me. Then, I saw him on a train and he waved at me like a long lost mate!en
@CivilLitTweet Don’t work 14 hours a day for 6 months, not even if you love it. I tried. I failed. I may make a complete recovery one day.
Bundles are always of interest @off_the_Leish@CivilLitTweet
 Retweeted by Gordon Exall
1:41 PM – 14 Jan 2017

@alxbsitch@CivilLitTweet haha 😂 Apparently they must be bound.
@Michaelelyplace@CivilLitTweet Yet I hate unstapled documents!
Would they prefer exhibits printed in Hello Kitty notepads? @off_the_Leish@CivilLitTweet
 Retweeted by Gordon Exall
1:41 PM – 14 Jan 2017

@tonylaw67@CivilLitTweet we used to give the ushers and admin chocolates at Xmas which in turn got me the occasional cup of tea

@alxbsitch@CivilLitTweet I was also recently informed that the Ct has specifically disapproved of lever arch files for bundles now
@CivilLitTweet in closing submissions, when explaining client’s concerns re contact going into the ether. Do not say urethra by accident.
 Retweeted by Gordon Exall
Michael Salter
there is a special place in hell for people who (a) staples authorities together in an authorities bundle….b) put a divider between every single document in a file or (c) put docs in plastic pockets in a bundle
 Retweeted by Gordon Exall
12:35 PM – 14 Jan 2017

@CivilLitTweet double check your double sided photocopying (may only give the reader half the picture) #lawschool

@CivilLitTweet don’t think “I’m not instructed on that” is a screen 2 hide lack of preparation at hearing 2 identify issues/direc
That a large part of law life is spent worrying about bundles?@CivilLitTweet
@CivilLitTweet don’t cross examine aggressively – does not work well

@CivilLitTweet@tonylaw67 also be polite to your opponent – no need to be rude you will see your opponent again

@AlisonJBurge@MAM12CP@CivilLitTweet I’ll have to try that. It’ll definitely get the court’s attention.
A tactic applied by my former Head of Chambers who is now a Lady Justice in Court of Appeal. I bet she still uses

11:54 AM – 14 Jan 2017

@CivilLitTweet some of the nicest people I’ve met in the law were ushers. The good ones are also very astute

Susan Belgrave

@CivilLitTweet@tonylaw67 important across the board, not just court staff, those in chambers, solicitors’ clerks. #law school

@CivilLitTweet@tonylaw67 chocolate biscuits please!

@tonylaw67 But seriously a common theme from many has been the need to treat court staff with respect (& give biscuits when appropriate)

Susan Belgrave

@CivilLitTweet@tonylaw67 also applies to clients, have seen and heard junior barristers speaking disdainfully about clients at court.

.@tonylaw67 But seriously a common theme from many has been the need to treat court staff with respect (& give biscuits when appropriate)