Here goes....

Welcome to my new blog.  This is my first ever effort at blogging and even though I am already typing I don't really know what I am going to be talking about in this first post.  So I guess I'll just tell you a little about myself and what I do.

I am 31-years-old and I work in east London, Hackney to be exact.  I work for a small two-partner firm of solicitors specialising in crime.  Although we call ourselves criminal defence specialists, in fact the firm does more than just defence.  Others in the firm also carry out a lot of appeal and prison law work.  For those who aren't familiar with prison law, it encompasses everything from a prisoner who has broken the rules and is facing disciplinary proceedings to those serving life sentences who are looking to be release on appeal.

Anyway, this post isn't supposed to be about the firm it's about me and what I do.

I am a duty solicitor, so if a suspect is arrested and wants "the duty" I am one of the lucky soles who gets a call at 3am asking me to pop along to the police station.  It also means that I attend magistrates courts to represent those who are appearing without a solicitor to represent them.  Over time I'll be talking much more about both of these topics.

As well as the duty work I am a solicitor-advocate.  I originally trained as a barrister before converting to become a solicitor.  Being a solicitor-advocate is pretty much like being both a solicitor and barrister, you get to do the litigation thing and show up to court once in a while with your wig and gown.  Again, I'll be talking more about the fun, games and derision to which an advocate (particularly a solicitor-advocate) in the Crown Court experiences.

I'll probably also end up posting a few angry rants at some point - I do rant, I'm afraid.

As a solicitor, I have a duty of confidentiality toward my clients, so if you think that I am talking about a case you are involved in then you are almost certainly wrong as I will be editing the facts sufficiently to protect my client's confidentiality while (hopefully) getting my point across.

I will try to be informative when I write and maybe even entertain one or two of you.  I'd like to read any comments people have as I post more content.  In the past, I have read quite a few blogs and have posted my views - sometimes the responses have re-enforced my opinion and sometimes the comments have changed my mind completely, so do please post.

Comments

  1. Ed (not Bystander)13 October 2010 at 17:13

    I'll look forward to reading this. I've added you to my Google Reader!

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  2. Hi Ed, my first comment and you plan to read it? Now I'm feeling the pressure!!

    Thanks for saying hi :)

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  3. Sounds OK, but you'll need to blog in a more Rumpolesque manner to keep your readers amused.

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  4. As a new blogger myself, I wish you well and have taken the liberty of posting a link from mine. Cheers,

    www.probationmatters.blogspot.com

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  5. More Rumpolesque is what you want? Well I'll do my best but unfortunately, Rumpole was a barrister of the old school whereas I am but a humble solicitor whose orations made while on his hind legs can but hope to touch upon the might and wisdom of the great Rumpole.

    Jim, I have been reading your blog for a few weeks now and enjoy it very much.

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  6. Looking forward to this one - studying historical criminal law means that there is a real risk that I will lose touch with reality (whatever 'reality' actually is...) and the workings of the criminal law today.

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  7. Well Nick, your blog was just linked to an entire class of law students at the University of Southampton.

    We're looking to you for inspiration.

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  8. I came here via the Magistrate so blame him for cursing you with the pedant:

    "I am one of the lucky soles"

    The spellcheck won't help you but a little bit of judicial reading of what you have written might. Otherwise good luck, I have enjoyed your first two posts.

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  9. Definite inspiration. I want to be a solicitor but am now torn with wanting to be a barrister. It seems you may have already given the Legal answer to my Legal question

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  10. As a magistrate (who also follows Bystander's blog) it'll be interesting to have your views - you defence briefs are a bit of a mystery to most of us JP's I think!
    Good luck with the blog.

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  11. Blogging is all about having a good rant. Rant away and enjoy it.

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  12. Cloak and Dagger15 October 2010 at 18:04

    This blog needs updating. Where's Rumpole?

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  13. Welcome to the world of (personal) blogging. The more we let each other see where we are coming from the better the understanding that is developed. That can only be a good thing.
    I'm out of the court system now, so I just witter on about life in the sun.

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  14. Why did you change from being a Barrister to a Criminal Solicitor? Will tell my fellow law students to follow you at Anglia Ruskin. (Two Uni's hanging on your every comment - no pressure then!)

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  15. Best of luck to you - looks like a promising start.

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  16. Can i change my mind n have my case dealt with at magistrates court...adter submitting my application to crown court? I asked for it to go to crown court havin been given the choice! I havent had a date set yet?!

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  17. Anon with the court problem, I suggest you speak to your solicitor and ask him. In theory no you can't as the case became a Crown Court case as soon as you elected. However, I've seen weirder things happen. Speak to your solicitor for advice.

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