THOUGHTS TO START A NEW YEAR: WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS

Trying to start a good way to start a year is always challenging. It is a good time for repeats, in 2019  asked the good people of Twitter for  the advice they would give to the tyro lawyer.   I recently saw the Secret Barrister’s contribution here repeated in the national press. Back in 2019 the legal Twitterati came up with ideas in their droves.   The  dominant themes were the importance of treating everyone (particularly administrative and court staff) with respect; knowing you will make mistakes and putting them right. Being nice, it is made clear, is not the same as being a walk over.   The legal Twitterati came up with ideas in their droves.   As I’ve said before the dominant themes were the importance of treating everyone (particularly administrative and court staff) with respect; knowing you will make mistakes and putting them right. Being nice, it is made clear, is not the same as being a walkover.

THE CONTRIBUTIONS

The Secret Barrister @BarristerSecret

Be kind to people. Few can expect to be the best lawyer in the room, but anyone can be the nicest.

Nick Peacock @nickapeacock

Cultivate a life outside work – read the Wellbeing at the Bar website, in particular the Staying Well section: https://www.wellbeingatthebar.org.uk/staying-well/

ViewFromTheNorth (QC!) @jaimerh354

You will often lose, just make sure you lose beautifully.

LUIZ LESSA @LFVCL

Only punch walls, when you know no one is watching.

Gordon Exall @CivilLitTweet

Surely the wall always wins.

Joseph Sinclair @_josephsinclair

Not if nobody sees it win

Liam Lane @liamivolane

If you are going to name drop on CV’s/applications, double check with the person first!

Nearly Legal @nearlylegal

Don’t write letters threatening to report us to the Legal Aid Board. It hasn’t existed since 2000 and we’ll laugh.

Alexander Davenport @ADavenport86

One piece of advice I give every trainee, NQ, paralegal etc. Sign up and read Civ Lit Brief and learn from it. We are in a profession where the day you stop learning, you either make a mistake or retire.

Gordon Exall @CivilLitTweet

I’m not paying you for this am I?

Alexander Davenport @ADavenport86

Was it you who told me not to sign anything without reading it first? ? invoice is in the mail.

Gordon Exall @CivilLitTweet

& I thought it was a car hire agreement.

Alexander Davenport @ADavenport86

No it said CivLit not Civic. Proof read everything (these tips could go on for ever, it could be a very very long blog)

Dan Herman @DanielJHerman

1. Don’t use emotive language. 2. Lawyers don’t “think”, “feel” or “believe”: they “take the view”. 3. Attendance notes, attendance notes, attendance notes. 4. Never assume what your client’s instructions will be. 5. No client or case is worth your practising certificate.

Steven Kennedy @SjBarrister

I would add to 1. Don’t use adjectives. It is amazing how short your written submissions are

when they are taken out, truly incredibly wondrously breathtakingly audaciously shorter….

Dan Herman @DanielJHerman

Agreed. A lawyer need never use the word “very”.

Silk Legal @SilkLegal1st

For those starting out……Law is a business. Make yourself an asset not a liability. Clients don’t

always tell you everything. Practice defensively.

Gordon Exall @CivilLitTweet

“Defensive litigation” – there’s a thing: https://t.co/dYLTEhh7kT

David Hughes ⚖ #FBPE @DghSpanishWelsh

If you’re at the bar, respect your solicitors. They do a harder job than we do. Their views in a case, their input, is valuable.

Sue James @sue_james1

When conducting a home visit always choose a hard surface to sit on.

Gordon Exall @CivilLitTweet

Come on Sue – there is a story behind that advice…

Sue James @sue_james1

There might be a few. I have been in some weird and wonderful places!

Jeremy L W Townend @j40lwt

You may understand and be familiar with the term you are using! The client may not be or have a different understanding. In one of my roles LGB, means Lesbian guy bisexual, in another, Local Governing Body

Gordon Exall @CivilLitTweet

QC, in the clothing trade, means quality controller (this once caused a lot of confusion).

(((Snigdha))) @snigskitchen

1. Don’t use big words or legalese if you aren’t comfortable with it or don’t know what it means. Getting it wrong makes you look foolish, which damages your professional credibility. Simplicity is persuasive, and more likely to work for you. #lawlifeforU

(((Snigdha))) @snigskitchen

2. Young barristers can learn a lot from solicitors: they take attendance notes of everything. You never know when you might have to double check or verify something you remember being told by your client. Don’t ever trust that everything they tell you is true. #lawlifeforU

Nικος Ξυδιας @Greekbluenose

Don’t wear themed ties or wacky socks.Always treat Court staff with courtesy & respect. Move on from good & bad results quickly. Ask for help if you need it. Admit to mistakes & learn from them.Make good tea. Read the room before cracking jokes.Folks have long memories – be kind.

Direct message

Lynn Buckley @lynnbuckley1988

Don’t eat Pom Bears.

Catherine Rowlands @cjr1968

It’s ok to wear flat shoes #lawlifeforU

David Hughes ⚖ #FBPE @DghSpanishWelsh

Talked about that with a pupil yesterday. Apparently, her law school had marked down students in advocacy exercises who wore flats!!!

Catherine Rowlands @cjr1968

That’s truly appalling. I can honestly say, as a Judge, you cannot see people’s feet and you could wear clogs and I wouldn’t care.

Sam Raincock @SamRaincock

I always wear smart shoes since as an expert I have to walk in as a witness so court will see them. However I wear flats with a trouser suit. I cannot understand why anyone would think unacceptable let alone mark down a student for it.

K Marysia W @KMarysiaW

When I did the BVC I was told that women should not wear trouser suits and should always wear a skirt suit. I never wear a trouser suit in court now and would love to.

Too much fear

Catherine Rowlands @cjr1968

Oh goodness, do wear trouser suits if you want! I was called in 1992 and I was one of the first to wear trousers in Court! I often do and have never had any problems whatsoever. (Except growing out of them…!)

Barbara Rich @BarbaraRich_law

I’m appalled by some of the sartorial advice to women apparently being given by law schools. High heels are uncomfortable, bad for

your feet, & some people have foot problems which make them unwearable. Trouser suits are smart, comfortable and save worry about laddered tights

WFC @wheatfrom

Never, ever, allow your opponent to apply to amend a pleading by withdrawing an admission without asking Counsel if he will be relying on it at trial. (Or, having done so, fail to inform Counsel before sending him the trial bundle a couple of days before the trial.)

Lucy Reed @Familoo

don’t get over excited. calm is effective. channel your passion – don’t let it control you. (I am a complete hypocrite by the way but just do as I say and pretend you haven’t noticed)…

Laura Bailey @LauraB_IM

Be nice to everyone. Always. You are not better than the people that are assisting you (other solicitors, legal assistants, secretaries, court staff etc) #lawlifeforU

Lucy Mills #FBPE @lucyemills

One of my boss’s favourites – when corresponding with the other side, treat every letter/email as if it will one day come before the court #lawlifeforU

Chris Dale @chrisdaleoxford

RTFR

Gordon Exall @CivilLitTweet

What’s that mean Chris?

Chris Dale @chrisdaleoxford

“Mean Chris” – sounds like a cynical sort of chap in a black hat. Read The F* Rules One day I’ll publish the video in which I came out with that while recording an educational video

Gordon Exall @CivilLitTweet

The question mark makes all the difference here…

Chris Dale @chrisdaleoxford

Ah, yes. Anyone chancing on the flood of answers to your question, and not knowing why you’d asked the question, will think the whole bar is throwing unsolicited advice at you

Caroline Hooton @carolinehooton

Admit when you don’t know something and need to look it up. You look like a thundertwit if you chunter a load of bullshit that you then have to retreat from at a later date. Also don’t be afraid to give advice and an opinion. That’s what you’re being paid for.

RebelLaw @RebelLawLtd

Know that if your opponent leaves out the ‘kind’ from ‘kind regards’ in an email, they are viciously angry with you. Then kill them with politeness. Cooperation with the other side makes the case progress better. You are not at war with your opponent. You are both doing a job.

Andrew Burton @ARBurtonWorld

Interesting first point. I’d have said “kind regards” is more formal therefore less friendly than “regards”.

Matt Jackson @MattJEJackson

I’ve never added “kind”.

Andrew Burton @ARBurtonWorld

…. leaving the reader to decide for themselves the nature of the sentiment

conveyed?

CrimeGirl @CrimeGirI

Some clients will tell you an account and the entire thing will be a lie (I know this is obvious but you can’t imagine the amount of people who believe everything clients say and are then left shocked and confused when they discover they’ve been lied to) #lawlifeforU

Direct message

Rick Martyn … Stop The Tories! Stop Brexit! @RickBlagger

A criminal that doesn’t know the strength of the case against them or thinks a brief can perform miracles deserves jail.. it’s why it’s best to work alone and have a good memory…

ooh sorry, this was tips for aspiring barristers

Gordon Exall @CivilLitTweet

No. Anyone starting out in any part of the legal profession not just Barristers.

Rick Martyn … Stop The Tories! Stop Brexit! @RickBlagger

Btw .. “work alone and have a good memory of events” was advice to

aspiring criminals. .. But this does help barristers and solicitors too, I think?

Oliver Kirk @Kirkabout

Never do anything that you wouldn’t be happy explaining to a High Court Judge. #lawlifeforU

Patrick Limb @PatchLimb

Cut the adverbiage. If your opponent’s submission is wrong, says “this is wrong because ..”. To say, for example, ‘completely erroneous’ or ‘fundamentally flawed’ adds nothing; and diverts you from saying why it’s wrong. The key bit comes after the word “because …”.

Lucy Mills #FBPE @lucyemills

Keeping good attendance notes of EVERYTHING is of utmost importance. You never know when you will need to show what was said #lawlifeforU

Hilary Wetherell @hilarywetherell

Make a real effort to find the answer before asking others; resources and information are more accessible today than they have ever been #lawlifeforU

CrimeGirl @CrimeGirI

Heroin addicts like 5 sugars in their tea & if you are trying to give advice or take instructions when they are “rattling” you best be short, to the point and funny. #lawlifeforU #ThingsTheyDontTeachYouInLawSchool

John Franklin-Pryce @prycepoints

When available nearly all recidivists will chose hot chocolate and 4 plus sugars. It’s not indicative of drug use specifically but for the quick high giving a short confidence boost. Been this way since the early eighties.

LawMan @Lawforall007

Treat ushers and HMCTS admin staff with kindness and respect. You never know when you might need an adjournment, case put back, photocopy etc. These are people that have the ear of the judge and listing staff. Rudeness to court staff is the height of stupidity.

Elizabeth East @elizabethceast

Same for support staff in your own firm. Always amazed at trainees & NQs talking down to secretarial staff. If you’re a trainee with an experienced legal sec, s/he knows more & is a more valuable asset to the firm than you. Don’t act like everyone who isn’t a lawyer is a moron.

Levins Solicitors @LevinsLaw

If your opponent states a proposition of law that surprises you, don’t be afraid to ask what their authority is. If they can cite the authority you will have learned some new law; if they can’t, you will have learned something about your opponent!

Lucy Mills #FBPE @lucyemills

Most clients are not usually familiar with legal jargon. Keep it to a minimum and, where you have to use it, explain what it means. It’s easy to forget this when you use it day in, day out #lawlifeforU

(((Snigdha))) @snigskitchen

(((Snigdha))) Retweeted Grant Evatt:

Grant Evatt @grant829

Avoid @twitter #lawlifeforU

Thinking about @grant829’s advice, he’s got a point. I’d say have a closed private account for friends, family, and rants. Have a public, outward facing account for your professional self. I haven’t done this, but see the merit in doing so. #lawlifeforU

Emma Mason @emmammason

#lawlifeforU 28 years ago, when I was an articled clerk, my principle taught me never write anything that I wouldn’t be happy for a judge to read.

LawMan @Lawforall007

If you make a mistake, fess up and apologise early. Most opponents and judges will help you find a way out of whatever trouble you’ve caused. It’s the cover up that causes all the bother!!

Sarah, Essex Wonder @smayman

When writing about previous placements in your CV, don’t breach client confidentiality.

Leisha Bond @Leisha007

#lawlifeforU YOU didn’t lose the case. The judge/jury didn’t believe your client/didn’t accept THEIR case. Move on or the job will kill you. If you can’t let go don’t do this job.

Charlotte John @LottieJohn1

Don’t berate yourself over perceived mistakes, it’s impossible to think clearly when you’re beating yourself up. Be kind to yourself and ask – is it really a mistake, does it matter, can I do anything to put it right, can I learn from this?

More

Heidi Li Feldman @HeidiLiFeldman

Avoid getting into money trouble of your own; live beneath your means. Financial pressure undoes good judgment.

Colm Nugent @Wigapedia

If you are faced with an ethical dilemma, and are unsure what to do. Imagine yourself explaining your action (or inaction) to the Bar Council in a disciplinary hearing. The degree of discomfiture (or confidence) that you feel, is an excellent guide as to what you should do.

CrimBarrister @CrimBarrister

When I was a pupil, I received advice which I still follow, which was: when making a decision in a case, always imagine how you would explain & justify it to the Court of Appeal if required. If you couldn’t justify it to them, don’t do it!

Frank Dillon @frankdillonpoet

Advocacy advice: SLOW. DOWN. If you write those two words, in red, at the top of each page of your notes, for the first few weeks on your feet, you will gain confidence very quickly.

Dr Galloway @katgallow

Thank you. I will post this at the top of our advocacy materials for students. It’s excellent advice.

paul nicholls @paulnicholls

My best advice in advocacy is to imagine the judge is slightly hard of hearing, bored, and a bit daft. Elevating your voice, keeping it simple and coherent, and talking slower than you think you need, has the benefit of keeping you on track, able to understand, and coherent.

Peter McKenna @PeterMcKenna2

When writing a letter to the other side imagine the judge reading it aloud in Court. If you feel uncomfortable, start again.

Tom Russell @TRLawMediaton

1. Try never to be surprised.

2. Never admit to being surprised.

3. Never ever incorporate that you are surprised into a submission.

Steven Mather @smather21

The amount of times I read “we are surprised at your …” in correspondence. As you say I was taught not to be surprised. I sometimes want to write back “I am surprised at your surprise. Are you not a lawyer?”

Tom Russell @TRLawMediaton

People do seem to say that a lot, mainly in circumstances which ought not elicit such a reaction, but it does not surprise me (self-evidently). I’ve been involved in so many situations that I am honestly never surprised these days!

Becky Owen @BeckyBarrister

Saying sorry will often “diffuse” an irate judge!

Reply

Leisha Bond @Leisha007

Be nice to the ushers. ALWAYS. #lawforlifeforU

Alexander Davenport @ADavenport86

Dont be afraid to ask for help. There is no such thing as a stupid question, if you dont know the answer the question is not stupid (I’m sure I have recently said this before)

Alexander Davenport @ADavenport86

Learn to switch off!

Steven Mather @smather21

Be straight with the client on prospects and costs from the beginning.

paul nicholls @paulnicholls

Sack / work on getting rid of your client at the first hint they’re not going to pay you.

Don’t even take them on if they walk in with printed pages from Wikipedia.

Martin Curnow @mjCurnow

I’m very good at spotting those & kick myself when I let one slip through. I redeem myself though when I use the skills they kept praising but not paying for by suing them & ultimately making them pay more.

Lucy Mills #FBPE @lucyemills

A good paralegal is invaluable. Treat them and other support staff with the respect they deserve #lawlifeforU

Laura Bailey @LauraB_IM

Own up to your mistakes when you discover them. Everyone makes them but owning them will go down a lot better than trying to bury them! #lawlifeforU

Lisa @liskhat

This 100%. Never try and cover it up or blame someone else. Chances are it isn’t as bad as you fear.

Adam Creme @Adam_Creme

Never ever accidentally miss out the word “not” in a letter/e mail etc

Sarah, Essex Wonder @smayman

Be the person who helps colleagues out when all their deadlines fall on the same day. It will happen to you eventually and you’ll be grateful for them helping you out. You’re a team.

Davida Blackmore @AdvocateDVB

If you’re dealing with those suffering from mental illness drop the legal jargon. Listen to what they want to say. You may be the only person fighting their corner and who is able to hear to their concerns (no matter how rambling). Be kind. Don’t be dismissive.

Davida Blackmore @AdvocateDVB

Also be respectful to court staff and everyone involved in the legal system. You are

not better than the usher/secretary/clerk just because you’re doing the speaking bit. Everyone is important (also the nicer you are to people the more likely they will help you out if needed!

Davida Blackmore @AdvocateDVB

Also, don’t forget to say thank-you. To your secretary, paralegal, associate, expert, mediator or anyone who’s been of assistance to you. It takes seconds and costs nothing.

Kate in N8 @kateinN8

Always to help when you have capacity to. You’ll learn, be a good colleague and stretch yourself.

Paul Seddon @paulsedd

Be nice to your opponent and don’t refuse to co-operate with reasonable requests. At some point you’ll need a favour from them and most will reciprocate.

Reply

David Hughes ⚖ #FBPE @DghSpanishWelsh

If you’ve got as far as starting to practise, you’re almost certainly good enough. You’ll make mistakes. But you owe your future clients your best. So learn from mistakes, but don’t dwell on them. Easier said than done, I admit.

Deirdre Ní Fhloinn @DeirdreNiF

1. Be polite.

2. Don’t Panic.

3. Keep an eye on your WIP. Eaten bread is soon forgotten!!

Paul Seddon @paulsedd

Always remember you work under a contract and if that contract doesn’t entitle you to do the work then you won’t get paid for it, no matter how good a job you do or how worthy you think it is. Check and understand your terms BEFORE you do the work!

Rachael Heenan @HeenanRachael

You have a responsibility to look after your colleagues both at work and in the sector and help them progress. It’s not all about competition or winning. You will go a long way by helping others.

JulieAndrew’sUglyBrother @suglybrother

An advice/opinion has a beginning, a middle and an end. The brief may sit in a corner looking at you, weighing you down. But it still has a beginning, middle and end. Type the paragraphs that you can, then fill in the gaps afterwards. Surprising how quickly the anvil lifts.

Lucy Macklin @lmacklin_IM

You never stop learning no matter your PQE. Embrace it & don’t beat yourself up for not knowing everything.

Neil Mackenzie @nrm_advocate

In most cases, finding common ground is most persuasive (whether with the court or in negotiation). Doing so focuses the dispute and shows that you mean business in the disputed area(s). Going in hard is usually a sign of being brittle. Being rude is never justified.

Anthony McCarthy @paulistapark

Got a difficult client or opponent? Pick up the phone or even better meet up. They’ll either surprise you and be much more reasonable than you thought or confirm your original opinion. Both are useful things to know.

Michael Ranson @michaelranson

Your client rightly expects you to know what the law is and rightly expects you to be clever. Don’t bang on about those things. The route to impressing people – clients and opponents – is often to be kind, available, comprehensible and empathetic.

Samantha Malin #FBPE @SamanthaMalin

Don’t be scared to say ‘I don’t know but I will find out & come back to you’. No-one can know everything. Clients appreciated my honesty. And treat your PA like the most important person in the world – for you, they are. They will save you time and again.

Samantha Malin #FBPE @SamanthaMalin

If you work in a big firm (as I did), the receptionsts, people in the print room, caterers, BD and marketing people, court clerks,paralegals etc are all worth your utmost respect. They

will bust a gut to help you so make sure you appreciate them. They are often better than you.

Neil @neilsnds

Always make time to sit at the back of your tribunal to watch and learn about it.

Michael Mylonas QC @mmpolista

Best one is the SC – watch the saved videos to see how individual judges tackle different issues. Gold dust for advocates.

Leisha Bond @Leisha007

#lawlifeforU don’t take anything personally… though it’s sometimes hard not to

K Marysia W @KMarysiaW

There is no such thing as a 9-5 shift. Yes it is incredibly hard at times and people won’t always say thank you but strive to be the best no matter what. Be ethical and polite no matter how others may treat you as reputation matters #lawlifeforU

Catherine Rowlands @cjr1968

Check you are pressing “forward” rather than “reply”. #lawlifeforU

Charlotte John @LottieJohn1

And never ever ever forward an email chain to a judge. Never!

Naomi Neville @NaomiNeville1

1. Remember that you are not expected to know everything, it is better to say “let me give that some thought and come back to you” than to give the wrong advice; 2. If you realise you have made a mistake, own up to it, tell your supervisor. Never hide it.

Steve Sutton @sutton_steve_

Look at your client’s case and think, “what if this went before a judge tomorrow?”. Identify the holes/problems and work on fixing them as quickly as possible. Nothing wrong with being ready too early.

Steve Sutton @sutton_steve_

I suppose “too” implies something is awry. But there’s nothing wrong with being ready sooner than you need to be

Miss B @thetrueMissB

Admit what you dont know and always confess if you’ve made a mess

Miss B @thetrueMissB

And always always spend time listening to your client. They need to believe in you, and you always need to know where they are coming from, what they want/need…(plus any problems)

Thomas Long @ThomasMLong

Be courteous & respectful with your opponents. Rarely is anything gained by being aggressive or obstructive with your opposite number. Ultimately, you’re both doing a job and seeking the best for your respective clients.

Thomas Long @ThomasMLong

My experience is limited to litigation, but I am sure this applies equally to all areas of practice.

Steve Sutton @sutton_steve_

On a telephone hearing, if you hear the judge say hello and you aren’t sure of their gender, let your opponent go first

Jonathan Boyle @InjuryBarrister

I was once had a tele hearing in which I went for sir, my oppo went for madam. I was forced to refer to the judge as “the court” thereafter.

Sarah, Essex Wonder @smayman

Also, don’t keep putting off the difficult work. Or the easy work for that matter. Or the stuff that doesn’t have a deadline (for you). It might not be important to you, but it is important to your client.

Alexander Davenport @ADavenport86

Everyone had that file on the shelf gathering dust. Grab it and sort it out, it’s never as bad as you remember

Angela @fab_ange

I’ve heard legend of firms in days past where there would be one day a year when colleagues would swap the matters they dreaded picking up. Fresh eyes.

Steve Cornforth #justicematters @SteveCornforth2

If you draft an angry email, leave it for 1/2 hr, get a coffee, listen to a joke, then re read it before you click send

Jenna Kisala @jennakisala

All of this. Also any email directly to the judge. That will be the one with the unfortunate typo.

Julien Burcher @Dowellenough

In similar vein… check the spelling of judge names 3 times before sending ?

Philip Morris @PhilipJMorris

“We should be grateful if you would”, as opposed to “We would be grateful if you could”. Thank you.

Gemma Stanley @Gemma_Stanley1

Never reply to an email in anger (however tempting it may be)

Sarah, Essex Wonder @smayman

If you give a client your phone number, they will use it. Probably at 2am.

Alexander Davenport @ADavenport86

This isnt Suits, Ally McBeal, A Few Good Men, Murder in the First, Silk *insert generic law TV show/film* leave that illusion at the door and dont assume you are them or are owed anything now you are qualified. You will have to work v.hard to get anywhere and stand out

David Graham @semaphorist

Check everything. Don’t trust what you are told; be curious. Try to think like the judge or jury. Leave 10 mins after you think you finished written work, have a break and check through again for typos or errors. Admit ignorance. Don’t engage in gamesmanship. Think positive.

David Hughes ⚖ #FBPE @DghSpanishWelsh

There are two basic types of advocate. Those who need to learn when to stand up, and those who need to learn when to shut up. When to do which is the hardest lesson. The first step is, understand which type you are.

LawMan @Lawforall007

My PM used to say there were 2 types. “Those that take instructions and those that give advice”

Felicity Shedden @FShedden

Get the little things right. The ‘Children’s Act’ or ‘Prohibitive Steps Orders’, for example, crop up way too often in sols’ correspondence and pleadings. It undermines confidence in everything else you say. (Good grammar helps to make a good impression too). #lawforlifeforU

Ergo Law @ergolawfirm

Learn to touch type

Peter McKenna @PeterMcKenna2

If you have a 30 min application listed for 10am, you will NOT be done by 10.30.

Stephen Sadler @Stephen_Sdlr

Remember to take a breath! You might be ambushed by a question you didn’t expect, or angered by a perceived slight. When that happens, slow things down, take a breath and really consider how you respond. Useful to remember outside of court too.

Graham Gowland @Graham_Gowland

Always ask yourself “Might I be wrong?”

Barbara Rich @BarbaraRich_law

The destination board that announces your train home at the end of a long day might become a more welcome sight than your lover’s face

Jennifer Paine @PaineJen

When you ask a question, make it an open one and LISTEN to the answer. For clarification, I mean, LISTEN and don’t speak! Lots of lawyers love the sound of their own voice #lawlifeforU

Eloise Turnnidge @eloisechelsey

Create a few templates in Pages/Word. Attendance notes, headings for orders, skeleton arguments, pleadings. No need to type out and/or format the same things over and over again.

ACL Training @ACLTraining

OR use the case management system properly, spend time populating the ‘admin’ screens. You’ll save yourself time in the long run. And time record the second you do something, retrospective time recording will put pressure on you that you don’t need.

Rad Kohanzad @RadBarrister

You’ll have days when you wonder whether you’re cut out for the job. Don’t sweat it.

Andrew Nicoll Ω @anicoll5

#lawlifeforU never write an instructing letter to an expert early on a Monday morning or after 3pm on a Friday afternoon

Mena Ruparel @avoidgravity Mar 25

Never write anything very important on a Friday afternoon. I was told as an NQ that fridays are for admin, I try to honour that as much as possible #lawlifeforU

David Hughes ⚖ #FBPE @DghSpanishWelsh

#lawlifeforU try to get on with your opponent. If your opponent is a pupil and does well, let his/her supervisor/chambers know.

Sarah Jones @SarahTyner2

All the above are sound advice. Less aspirational: get yourself a theme tune you can hum as you’re walking to court. When I was a pupil I used to sing “I have confidence” from the sound of music. Of course I never do that now.

KristinHeimark @stokenewington

Front load your client’s case. Take that witness statement now. Make sure it clear & simple & in your client’s own turn of phrase. It’s their statement, not yours!

Paul Skinner @Paul___Skinner

On your way back from a hearing, regardless of outcome, think about what you did well and what you could have done better. This is quite an easy one to forget, but it is worth it.

John Jarvis @jjarvisLondon

Saying something WP doesn’t mean it won’t prejudice your client’s position. It just means it can’t be adduced in court. If you massively undercut your case on a WP basis the oppo will absolutely take that into account in strategy.

Cassy Kenworthy @CassyNZ

Your clients problems are not your problems, staying objective is important to doing your job. And always be pleasant to opposing counsel – it’s where 30% of my work comes from and makes awful cases so much more tolerable!

Bilaal Shabbir @mbs_786

Manage client expectations at the outset. Will make the job a hundred times easier.

Nick Johnson QC @nickjohnsonqc

Develop a detailed strategy through proper preparation, focus on supportable rational arguments, don’t ignore the emotional content of the case, go about your work with integrity, utilise written advocacy, be kind and courteous, genuinely get to know those you wish to work with.

Zoe Saunders @ZASaunders

You can learn something from every opponent whether that is what to do in future or what to never do! CASE copy and steal everything – especially when you see good advocacy #lawlifeforU

James David Heyworth @JacobusJudex

The hardest part is telling people what they don’t want to hear. Recognise that the wearing the mantle of the client may not be in their interest. If you have confidence in your own judgment your client will follow your advice more readily.

Lauren Bullock @Lauren_Bullock1

It’s nothing like you imagined… Managing your clients’ expectations is me key. Always be upfront – tell us if you’re overworked / concerned / worried / have made a mistake. We’ve all been there and want to help

Susanna Whawell @SusannaWhawell

Pay your experts and those you instruct, in a timely manner, and be polite and courteous. One day

you will need them to bail you out the at short notice. And remember that an LLB + practicing certificate doesn’t equal a free pass to be sarcastic.

Alexander Davenport @ADavenport86

Learn to love the CPR it is your friend

Alexander Davenport @ADavenport86

NEVER EVER LIE TO A CLIENT! See every SRA prosecution and/or list of those struck off the roll

Thomas Hurst @thomashurstAG

Don’t use “for the avoidance of doubt” if you find you need to use that phrase then just remove the doubt from the original drafting.

Michael L. Bloom @bloomich

Sometimes new words provide clarity but not new meaning. Since a guidepost of contract interpretation calls for reading meaning in every word, it can be useful to specify the intention for adding words for clarity but not new logical meaning. For example, examples.

Sarah Fox @500wordlawyer

That depends if the court is taking a literal or purposive approach to interpretation.

Aim for being clear on purpose of clause.

Michael L. Bloom @bloomich

Agreed. But we don’t know the future court’s interpretation philosophy at the time of drafting. Agreed the best approach is to include meta bread crumbs, explaining why we make the drafting moves we make. “For the avoidance of doubt” is an example of that.

DIBBody @DIBBody

Some younger lawyers believe that an e mail exchange amounts to a ‘conversation’. It doesn’t.Pick up the phone and have that conversation

Gary Whitaker @gwhitakerLAW

Being a keyboard warrior only goes so far. Much more to be gained by speaking on the telephone unless a portal low value claim of course then email exchange is encouraged.

John Jarvis @jjarvisLondon

Don’t hide behind emails and letters. A judicious call or meeting can save time and build rapport – whether with clients or oppo.

Sharon Allison @ClinNegSharon

Every day is a school day and you never leave #lawlifeforU #hints

Luke Tucker Harrison @luketharrison

Aggressive correspondence, making threats in respect of costs and generally being an arse never goes down well before a judge. There are more subtle ways of achieving the leverage these are aimed at.

KristinHeimark @stokenewington

Bring your client into your office & read the draft pleadings to him/her out loud. When they tell you they are 100% happy, they can sign their pleadings themselves.

Produce The Full Report @msbellows

DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Know the procedure, re-study the applicable laws for every new case even if you think you know them, look for that unknown but disruptive case.

KEEP YOUR WORD. If you grant your opponent an extension, honor it even if it’s not documented, etc.

Be a mensch.

JulieAndrew’sUglyBrother @suglybrother

If you’re stuck on a new subject, use 3 key words for the search in your fave electronic database. Grab the latest CoA case in the area, even if not quite on point, then hit all the cases cited. Fair chance you’ll complete your knowledge and find your answer.

mediatelegal @mediatelegal

In your first conversation with a client be sure to ask them ‘what is it that you want to achieve here?’

Bryan & Co Solicitors @Bryanandco1 Mar 26

Absolutely agree and when asked so many clients will say to me “I want justice” but at what cost to both bank balance and peace of mind. Always worth looking carefully at risk/reward.

Jenna Kisala @jennakisala

You can do an amazing job, snatch a modest victory from the jaws of defeat through cunning and skill. And the client can be bitterly disappointed and cross at you. Both outcomes can be true at the same time and you have to sit with both.

Bilaal Shabbir @mbs_786

Clients are NEVER your friends. When things go south, they’ll blame you. ALWAYS keep a distance.

Never make their problems your problems.

Gabor Kovacs @HampshireLawyer

Never make the same mistake twice

Steve Cornforth #justicematters @SteveCornforth2

Never say ‘unless we hear from you by … we will consider our position’…

Maca @NorfEastBeast Mar 25

Try not to write in haste…

Alexander Davenport @ADavenport86

Be humble, do not rub it in the face of others (especially not the defendants) when you are successful etc. They will remember and it wont do you any favours.

Jenna Kisala @jennakisala

I would say be curious. Don’t just accept what you’re taught, be curious and go look up the rule. Be curious about clients history, be curious about your experts logic.

Paul Foster @Hydethorpe

My boss, albeit in a different profession, advised “Assume nothing, believe no one”.

Jenna Kisala @jennakisala

Slightly more cynical take, but same concept really.

Julia Larwood @julialarwood

Two very helpful things people in chambers have shouted at me when I was freaking out: ‘Don’t panic, don’t panic, your brain stops working when you do.’ ‘You’ve got good points. Just make them well and do the best you can with whatever the other side throws at you.’

Kit @kitren2005

Listen to your Judge. They may be an idiot, but they are the one you have to persuade. Winning first time is much better than having a good appeal point.

Sarah Phillimore @SVPhillimore

Don’t neglect your health. You will be a far better lawyer if you eat well and get enough sleep. There is only so far a packet of mini Cheddars can get you in a day.

Lucy Mills #FBPE @lucyemills

In some areas of law you are assisting people at the worst time of their lives. It is a huge responsibility and can take over your life if you let it. Take time for you. You can’t look after your clients unless you look after yourself first #lawlifeforU

Mutton Shunter @muttonshunter

The overwhelming majority of police officers are professionals doing a days work. They aren’t looking to do your client over, however a tiny minority are try not to let them taint your opinion the rest of us.

Alexander Davenport @ADavenport86

You will F$%K up at some point-own up immediately. There is very little that experienced practitioners cant fixed if they are told straightaway and know what they are doing-we are there to help. DO NOT HIDE IT your career will come to a very quick and unceremonious end.

Alexander Davenport @ADavenport86

Oh and learn from the mistake and dont dwell on it. Ever Solicitor, Barrister, Partner, Head of Chambers has a horror story of a mistake they made in the past.

MCarruthers-Watt @MCarruthersWatt

Don’t be a smartarse, always treat people with respect, believe no client totally, remember that a Solicitors word is their bond, everyone makes mistakes, courtesy costs nothing and you are NOT in a US tv show! Laugh at yourself and always be nice to judges!

JulieAndrew’sUglyBrother @suglybrother

To test whether you understand a concept or legal point (or not), pretend to explain the principle, using words of 3 syllables or fewer, to A level law students. If you can’t communicate it effectively to 17 year olds, you don’t truly ‘get it’. Time to re-prepare.

Andrew Crosbie @CrimeDotScot

“Banking” = to conceal an item / items (drugs, mobile phone components etc) in one’s arse.

A.B. @claret_drinker

The most important person in any court is the Usher.

WFC @wheatfrom

Don’t “sugar coat” your advice. If you’re client’s case is hopeless, best he discover that early, rather than later. Your Skeleton Argument is your most important weapon. A well argued Skeleton can set the tone for the whole hearing.

WFC @wheatfrom

When you are doing a Housing case featuring numerous allegations of anti-social behaviour, don’t be surprised when the Judge doesn’t share your righteous indignation at the clear and obvious conspiracy which is being perpetrated against your poor innocent client.

Simon Myerson QC @SCynic1

Always say well done to your opponent if you lose. It’s good for the soul, and it makes professional relationships happy. Never say, “I’d have settled for less”. Next time (& there will be one) you’ll get less.