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3 years ago  ::  Jul 04, 2014 - 1:58PM #1
AlexanderQC
Posts: 12

Hi all,

AlexanderQC. I'm the (reasonably) young Aussie dude, liberal Anglican, and gay guy who used to post here in 2009/10 and 2011/12. I moved to the UK and stopped posting for a while during which I was doing my masters degree at Oxford and then the Brit equivalent of a JD.

I'm very curious to know if the old gang is still around? Commenters like dutch and roodog, RJMcElwain, and so on. I hope this thread isn't too vulgar in my posting on a non-topical issue, I'd just love to see if everyone is still here.

Sincerely,
Alex 

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3 years ago  ::  Jul 04, 2014 - 4:22PM #2
Dutch777
Posts: 9,144

SmileHi Alex,


Mazel tov on your academic and professional attainments.  It's good to hear from you and get the update on the turns your life has taken.


I'm in good shape and still very much enjoying retirement and still Anglican to the core.  May good fortune and success follow you like your shadow. 


Dutch

The Path
To Moon
lake
Doesn't Go
There.

So Walk
Your own
DharmaPath
And Be
Mindful

Dutch
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3 years ago  ::  Jul 05, 2014 - 7:31AM #3
RJMcElwain
Posts: 3,013

Alex,


Good to have you back. Many of the old timers are still here. Others have vanished, and new ones have joined. What are your plans now that you have your JD equivalent?



Bob

Robert J. McElwain

"The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." (Supposedly)Thomas Jefferson

"He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral."
St. Thomas Aquinas

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. Plato
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3 years ago  ::  Jul 05, 2014 - 3:17PM #4
AlexanderQC
Posts: 12

Jul 4, 2014 -- 4:22PM, Dutch777 wrote:


SmileHi Alex,


Mazel tov on your academic and professional attainments.  It's good to hear from you and get the update on the turns your life has taken.


I'm in good shape and still very much enjoying retirement and still Anglican to the core.  May good fortune and success follow you like your shadow. 


Dutch





Many thanks Dutch :) And thanks for your very kind words.


Sincerely,


Alex

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3 years ago  ::  Jul 05, 2014 - 3:33PM #5
AlexanderQC
Posts: 12

Jul 5, 2014 -- 7:31AM, RJMcElwain wrote:


Alex,


Good to have you back. Many of the old timers are still here. Others have vanished, and new ones have joined. What are your plans now that you have your JD equivalent?


Bob




Cheers :) Good to see you again.


I've obtained a training contract with a firm in the City of London that specialises primariy in finance litigation


Essentially, our JD equivalent is that you do a Graduate Diploma in Law, which lasts for a year and focuses purely on statutes and caselaw. You then do a one year Legal Practice Course which teaches you the discipline of law, the ins and outs of litigation, how to assess evidence, commence a suit, how to advise clients, make an application to the court, and so on.


Once that it completed, instead of having a bar exam, you need to find a firm to take you on for a 2-year "training contract". This is the final component before you are admitted as a solicitor.


I chose to practice as a solicitor rather than a barrister (solicitors are like attorneys, though they are usually separated into either transactional work, where you advise clients, manage and guide mergers and actuisitions, due diligence, or you specialise in litigation which is obviously the sharp end of lawsuits and so on).


The other legal profession is a barrister, rather than solicitor. Barristers are the ones who actually present to argue the case in court, they are like advocates rather than attorney. You can't hire a barrister directly, your solicitor will brief a barrister. So barristers are the ones who go into court to argue the case, or sometimes you brief them for expert advice on a finer point of caselaw. Barristers are forbidden from incorporating in law firms, they are always sole practitioners who belong to one of four medieval barrister guilds (Lincoln's Inn, Gray's Inn, Middle Temple or Inner Temple). I suppose they are like trial lawyers.


I opted to become a solicitor because it's very hard to become a barrister these days, when you start you are not paid particularly well (although they have much more prestige than solicitors, they wear wigs and gowns in court, see link). And as you are self-employed, you don't really have a pension, or paid sick leave, or paid holidays, and you are totally at the mercy of the market


i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/10/31/artic...


Solicitors (at least when they work in City firms who do work for the finance industry) tend to be paid better, and have a more stable career path. I would have loved to have been a barrister, but I was realistic and wanted a stable salary. To make up for that slightly, I decided to go into the litigation side because I love the sense of pitting your wits against the other side, the legal combat of finding weaknesses in their case, and so on.


Sorry for that extensive explanation, I thought I should explain otherwise the terms wouldn't make much sense. So I'll be working for a firm in the City of London (which is not the entire city but square mile medieval core of Greater London where the finance industry is located, a city with a city) that is a specialised litigation practice. For example, if you acquire a firm of securities brokers and find out they cooked the books, then the litigation that results is the kind of thing I'd be doing. They also do some transactional work related to taxation, finding ways to minimise tax for the finance industry, sometimes using jurisdictions like the Cayman Islands, Jersey, Bermuda, so in my training contract I'll get a bit of practice doing both finance litigation and some transactional tax work.


en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_London

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3 years ago  ::  Jul 05, 2014 - 3:48PM #6
AlexanderQC
Posts: 12

Jul 5, 2014 -- 7:31AM, RJMcElwain wrote:


Alex,


Good to have you back. Many of the old timers are still here. Others have vanished, and new ones have joined. What are your plans now that you have your JD equivalent?


Bob




I just realised the picture I posted of a barrister in court might look a bit silly to American eyes (this one below is quite a good pic)


i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/01/06/artic...


You might think that they are in court to argue over a case where a duke's horse has been stolen by his neighbour.


In fact, they are far more likely to be in court to be arguing over the finer interpretation of an element of European Union regulation that will mean the difference between a multinational paying £300 million less in tax.


A very fine barrister, Jonathan Sumption QC (now Lord Sumption as he has been elevated to the Supreme Court), received a £10 million fee from the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich (we have a lot of Russian oligarchs here in London).


Lord Sumption has the nickname "Two Brains" and it has been said, "He has a brain the size of Jupiter". While he was doing this legal work, he wrote an epic 3-volume history of the Hundred Years War between England and France in the 14th century.


And barristers also argue in the Anglican canon law courts (as the established church, the Church of England still has a court system for disputes over canon law, where barristers represent parties in the same way they do in regular courts)


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3 years ago  ::  Jul 05, 2014 - 7:16PM #7
Dutch777
Posts: 9,144

Alex,


As long as we've got you here and inasmuch as you are an Aussie, have you read the most recent news regarding the Anglican Church of Australia?


It seems that most dioceses have voted to make the seal of the confessional relative rather than absolute.  If the priest determines that a serious crime has occured or is about to occur due to the penitant's confession, the priest now has the option of reporting this matter to the authorities.  This comes as a shock to me since I was raised with the absolute nature of the confessional seal.


What say you?

The Path
To Moon
lake
Doesn't Go
There.

So Walk
Your own
DharmaPath
And Be
Mindful

Dutch
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3 years ago  ::  Jul 05, 2014 - 7:52PM #8
Dutch777
Posts: 9,144


[/quote]


I just realised the picture I posted of a barrister in court might look a bit silly to American eyes (this one below is quite a good pic)


i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/01/06/artic...[/quote]


Alex


Actually, Americans have become quite conversant with British customs, expressions, and professional vestiture.  Movies, t.v. featuring Brit shows, and the internet make the UK a flick of the dial away.  As for the barrister's wig, tabs and gown, who amongst us hasn't watched "Rumpole of the Baily"  although I've certainly spelled that incorrectly.  Anyway, isn't advancing from solicitor to barrister termed "taking silk"?

The Path
To Moon
lake
Doesn't Go
There.

So Walk
Your own
DharmaPath
And Be
Mindful

Dutch
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Cancel
3 years ago  ::  Jul 05, 2014 - 10:34PM #9
AlexanderQC
Posts: 12

Jul 5, 2014 -- 7:16PM, Dutch777 wrote:


Alex,


As long as we've got you here and inasmuch as you are an Aussie, have you read the most recent news regarding the Anglican Church of Australia?


It seems that most dioceses have voted to make the seal of the confessional relative rather than absolute.  If the priest determines that a serious crime has occured or is about to occur due to the penitant's confession, the priest now has the option of reporting this matter to the authorities.  This comes as a shock to me since I was raised with the absolute nature of the confessional seal.


What say you?




No, I hadn't heard of it though I'll look it up; I'm quite out of touch with what's going on back home.


I think it's a difficult issue, I do think it is justified in cases of child abuse, or where priest believes they may go on to commit other crimes, or are a danger to themselves or others.


It seems to me that it would be sensible for priests to have the same obligations as psychiatrists in that respect.


Having said all that, there are compelling reasons to protect privileged communication in the marital bed, the confession box, the psychiatrists office, with legal professionals, and so on.

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3 years ago  ::  Jul 05, 2014 - 10:37PM #10
AlexanderQC
Posts: 12

Jul 5, 2014 -- 7:52PM, Dutch777 wrote:


Alex


Actually, Americans have become quite conversant with British customs, expressions, and professional vestiture.  Movies, t.v. featuring Brit shows, and the internet make the UK a flick of the dial away.  As for the barrister's wig, tabs and gown, who amongst us hasn't watched "Rumpole of the Baily"  although I've certainly spelled that incorrectly.  Anyway, isn't advancing from solicitor to barrister termed "taking silk"?




Ahh, fair enough.


Taking silk is when you are elevated from a junior barrister to a Queen's Counsel. Solicitor and barrister really are two distinct professions, if you want to go to the bar there is a completely different route than solicitor (they still do an LLB or graduate diploma, but instead of the Legal Practice Course and training contract, they do the Bar Professional Training Course and a pupillage). Only about 10% of barristers become QCs, you need to be exceptionally good at advocacy and tremendously clever


I absolutely love Rumpole of the Bailey. Unfortunately barristers at the criminal bar, like Rumpole, are a dying breed. In England we have a legal aid system that means when you are accused of a crime, the government pays your legal fees, if you are say, accused of murder, then your solicitor and barrister will be paid by the government, and they will pay enough to brief a QC. If it's a complicated case like a complex fraud, you may get a top QC and a junior. It was felt that the Queen's subjects should have access to the Queen's counsel. It's an expensive system (about £2 billion a year), but it also gave us the best justice system in the world, I think. We look at it the same way we look at universal healthcare.


We didn't have the atrocious system of public defenders you have in the States, where an overworked lawyer who is usually not from the top of their class has dozens of open cases at one time, and is going up against well-resourced DAs. We don't see, under our system, poor defendants being railroaded into pleading guilty because they can't risk a trial where a public defender goes up against two or three DA lawyers, lacking their resources etc.


In fact, we don't have plea bargaining here. To cut a long story short, the Conservative government is slashing our Legal Aid system, which produced the system from which you had barristers who were in fact like Rumpole. The government wants us to have a public defender system that is the antithesis of English justice, the barristers want to stay at the independent bar (sole practitioners and self-employed, except and insofar as they share chambers with other barristers)


By slashing legal aid rates, barristers at the independent criminal bar are finding they simply cannot afford to work as a barrister, for a junior of 2 or 3 years call, they are on ludicrously small pay, sometimes even as low as £15,000. For someone of their education and skill, you really have to do it for love of the job.


Luckily, the commercial bar is in cracking form. The money is still good there, a friend of mine at a top set is probably earning £200,000 a year with no shortage of work.

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