Day in the life of a Trainee Solicitor at CSL
Attending my first ever hearing:
I never thought I would be given such a huge opportunity so early on in my training contract. I had always assumed attending a hearing would come further down the line in my training.
When I was offered the opportunity to attend the hearing there were a mix of so many emotions I went through. I was excited, intrigued, nervous (very nervous!) and I also felt honoured to be given such responsibility so early on in my training. I had never met the client, only listened in to conversations with them so this would be my first time meeting them.
Preparing for the Hearing:
In preparation for the hearing, I first attended a pre- hearing conference call with the client and Counsel (who would be presenting our client’s case at the hearing). Once again, this was something I had not previously experienced and this was all new for me, I was very interested in what would happen during this meeting and how Counsel would work with our client to prepare for the upcoming hearing. Throughout the course of the conference, we presented Counsel with all the necessary documents relating to the case and ensured Counsel was able to access, read and assess the documents we presented him with.
Throughout the conference, Counsel discussed with us his understanding of the case and what steps he would be taking in presenting our client’s case at the hearing.
The pre-hearing conference allowed me to really grasp the detail our client’s case and ensure I had all the relevant facts relating to the case, and the steps that would be taken to get the best outcome for our client at the hearing.
During the conference I was able to take thorough notes to ensure that I was best prepared for the hearing, and this made me feel a lot more confident about attending the hearing in a few days. I felt I understood our client’s case further and was made aware of what to expect at the hearing, including what kind of arguments the opposing parties may raise and how the Counsel would deal with those.
A day before the hearing I made sure I was fully prepared. The nerves were starting to kick in once again, but I made sure I went through all my notes I made during the pre-hearing conference to refresh my knowledge of our client’s case. In addition, to prepare for the hearing my supervisors were very helpful and supportive with the advice they shared with me; they prepared a checklist of things I should have and do when attending court.
I made sure I got up extra early to get ready for the hearing. I was feeling nervous, but I was still very excited to attend the hearing, even though the hearing was taking place remotely in Chambers, this was still nerve wracking for me as this once again was the first of many firsts I had experienced. I ensured I had all the relevant material needed or what could be needed throughout the course of the hearing. I packed my backpack the night before which really helped calm my nerves! Once I felt I was ready to go and had everything I needed for the hearing which did not just include what I needed but what the Counsel may need and our client, I made my way to the Chambers.
Once I arrived at the Chambers, I met up with my supervisor and our client and we had a quick catch up on how we were all feeling and what we could expect of the hearing today, whilst we waited for Counsel to arrive.
When Counsel arrived reality kicked in, this was really happening, and I was about to attend my first ever hearing! He briefed us all on what to expect and the aim was to get the best outcome for our client.
After a while we set up for the hearing and once all parties joined the Judge allowed the hearing to commence. Counsel instructed for our client opened the hearing with his submissions. I made sure I listened attentively and made concise notes throughout. Once Counsel had finished with his submissions the Judge allowed submissions to be made by the opposing parties. This part of the hearing was extremely important, and I found the most interesting part. I was able to hear the arguments the opposing Counsel and parties had prepared in reply to the submissions made by our Counsel.
Throughout the hearing my role was to ensure that Counsel had all the relevant documents available to him when needed and I was able to guide and support Counsel when he needed to refer to certain documentation or present exhibits to the Judge and opposing parties.
Once all parties made their submissions, it was time for the Judge to a make decision. Being the most important part of the hearing, I was instructed by Counsel to make detailed notes of the Judgement as this would be used by Counsel going forward to help with any orders that would be made. The moment we had all been waiting for and the most crucial part for our client to see whether the applications made were successful or not, now was the time we would have that decision.
The Judge decided to rule in favour of our client, this was one of the best feelings knowing that our client had been successful. More than anything when the news was delivered to the client, the relief, shock, and happiness she got from hearing the decision made me feel like I was a part of something that really mattered and seeing such a reaction from our client made me grateful for the opportunity I had by attending the hearing.
Overall, the experience taught me to always say “yes” to any opportunity that comes your way and even if it is the first time you are ever challenged with doing something, there will always be something new to learn!