Work Placement Scheme

We are pleased to announce the launch of our work placement scheme, in partnership with RAD Deaf Law Centre.

If you’re thinking about a career in law, there’s no better way to gain an insight than a work experience placement.

Deaf Lawyers UK recognises the need to provide opportunities for work placements for members of Deaf Lawyers UK as part of their development and also for them to gain an understanding of life working within the law, and is the best way to get a ‘real’ appreciation of the organisation, culture, services and people.

To this end, we are developing partnerships with law firms and other legal service providers to offer work placements, starting with RAD Deaf Law Centre.

My First Mini-Pupillage

I have just finished my second day of a week long mini-pupilage with a very reputable firm of barristers in Cardiff. I’m doing OK in Chambers and not too badly whilst walking along a busy main street between Chambers and Crown Court but the courtrooms themselves, however, are a complete nightmare!!

The crown courts in Cardiff are about 150+ years old. They are made of beautiful Portland stone and have (what I presume is) oak clad walls. The ceilings are very high. The whole place resembles a museum, which is quite ironic really.

In the main foyer where, the graduate and under-graduate crims congregate, sounds to me a lot like a radio that is off-station, just low-level background hum.

The courtroom itself is much the same, until the judge arrives. I sit right behind counsel (looking at their backs, so the sound waves are moving away from me). If I hear 20% of what they have said then I think myself lucky.

I can hear the defendant very well as s/he is right behind me (but all any of them have said so far is ‘guilty’, ‘thank you’ and one ‘f**k off’). Add to this ushers waltzing around for apparently no reason, barristers back and forth dropping files on desks, seat-backs flapping shut and solicitor’s whispering to one another then the whole place starts to resemble a zoo.

The place calms down in time for sentencing and as the judge is facing me then I am able, by a combination of hearing and lip-reading, keep track of what he is saying. This afternoon was a bit annoying as we had a very large clerk (think Eddie Murphy in the Klumps) right in front of a small judge (think Stan Laurel’s physique at Danny DeVito’s height) = total acoustic eclipse! But never mind, the reporter from the regional newspaper was there so at least I can read all about it.

I know that way, way in the future I am more likely to be talking about fraudulent accounting, VAT evasion or computer hacking than the s18/s20 OAPA & the usual possession with intent, but I do seriously have to wonder whether I could faithfully represent the best interests of my client in the middle of this riot.

So back again tomorrow, unless I call in sick. I wonder if they would believe me if I said I had AFS (auditory frustration syndrome).

* AFS, if you didn’t already know, has few physical symptoms, other than raised blood pressure; the suffer will complain of feeling cheesed-off, of having just made the biggest mistake of his/her life; may also be accompanied by repeated dog-walking, chain smoking and/or excessive lager consumption.