Oscars Mistake

What a mistake at the Oscars with the announcement of the wrong film for the Best Film Category! It must have been very disappointing for the winning film (I don’t mention it because I’m still note sure who won). No matter how tremendous your speech is the star of the show was that stuff around!

I love an award show speech. I think I love them more than I like the films. I think that’s because I particularly enjoy them when I’ve enjoyed the performance being awarded and it’s like a 3 minute summary of the performance. For example, Julia Roberts gives a good acceptance speech. I like it when they touch on an issue, like Tom Hanks did once, (even if he did descend into some sort of frenzy towards the end), or like Patricia Arquette when she called out pay inequality in her industry. I enjoyed Adele getting snot in her nose, Whoopi talking her award into existence and Cher suggesting she was on her way to being somebody.

My favourite though, would have to be Shirley Maclaine. Didn’t see the film, loved the speech. You can watch it below, the last minute or so is my favourite.

 

Fair Work Commission’s 4 Yearly Review of Modern Awards – Penalty Rates

There is a lot of press at the moment on the Fair Work Commission’s decision with respect to penalty rates in the hospitality and retail sector. I have also seen a lot of commentary on social media around the decision. The decision is of particular interest to me as I am quite interested generally in Employment Law, but also because I spent a considerable time working in retail under Enterprise Bargaining Agreements that are substantially similar to the underlying Modern Award. Perhaps its because many friends who continue to work for that employer or doing similar work are affected by it that I have been inundated with commentary around it.

I’ve not yet had the opportunity to review the decision in full. However, a summary of the decision is available (as are all decisions of the Commission) on the Commission’s Website. There is also a dedicated page which contains records of all associated documentation. 

I intend to return to the topic once I’ve had a chance to thoroughly review the decision, so do check back for an update and my thoughts on the decision.

WORKING WITH LGBTIQ CLIENTS IN LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is coming up, and I’ve noticed that the Inner City Legal Centre are facilitating a session on Working with LGBTIQ Clients in Legal Proceedings. I volunteer with a community legal centre that with a large LGBTIQ client base, so I’m particularly interested in attending. The promotional material for the session describes the session as

“His Honour Michael Kirby AC, CMG will open the event. The Inner City Legal Centre will present on “Working respectfully with LGBTIQ clients”.  Skylar Mills, a Trans teen, and his mother Nancy will share their journey.  Dr Olivia Rundle will speak on challenges for couples and families engaged with legal systems.”

It looks to be a very comprehensive session. Congratulations to the Inner City Legal Centre and Young Lawyers for their role in presenting this session which will be very informative. You can find out more about the good work that Inner City Legal Centre do via their website. 

Tickets are free, and the event is hosted by Sydney University in Lecture Theatre 101 in the School of Law Building. Inner City Legal Centre will accept donations on the night.  I’d encourage you to make a booking.

You can find a booking link and more information about the event here.

First Solo Mention

I had my first solo court appearance today which was a nice way to end my first week as an admitted lawyer.

I’m particularly keen to develop my court advocacy skills. I was first in class for our undergrad Moot subject, I have some competence in the area of public speaking and enjoy the formality and traditions of court rooms. I think I have the ability to present a persuasive case in a respectful way and advance a client’s interests.

This particular mention was very brief and the outcome unsurprising as we had made representations to the other side and they had agreed to withdraw the charge. The mention was but a mere formality. Having said that, it was still a special moment for me as I was able to stand before the court representing a client and this particular client faced considerable disadvantage so it was humbling to be able to play a small role in achieving a good outcome.

I can’t wait for my next appearance!

Admission

Admission

17 February will remain a significant date for me as it is the day that I was admitted as a Lawyer of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

For those unfamiliar with the process, to be admitted as a lawyer you must complete a prescribed program of study, at undergraduate level this is typically a Bachelor of Law and at post graduate level a juris doctor – in my case a Bachelor of Laws. On completion, you are then also required to undertake a program of practical legal training (PLT). I completed a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice at the College of Law. As part of that study, you required to complete a work placement (the PLT element) and upon completion of that you are then eligible to make an application to the Legal Practitioners Admission Board for admission as a Lawyer.

In order to do that you’re required to undergo a police check. You also must disclosure any prior conduct which might reasonably impact on assessment of your eligibility for admission as a person of current good fame and character, who is a fit and proper person to be admitted to the profession. You need two references from people who have known you longer than two years and who are not family by blood or marriage. If you’ve made disclosures, your referees must have read your disclosures.

Once your application is considered and approved by the board, you are then eligible to attend an admission ceremony. At the ceremony a lawyer moves your admission. You then stand, and bow to the bench. That was exciting to me – I’d not really asked any friends prior to the ceremony about what to expect but people had told me that the oath was taken as a group. A personal moment of recognition from the Chief Justice is quite special. You then take an oath or an affirmation, and the Chief Justice makes a speech in honour of the occasion. Once the ceremony concludes you must then sign the roll of practitioners. If you are into tradition (and in case you haven’t picked up on it from this post, the traditional aspect is quite appealing to me), when your pen lifts from the paper you are officially a lawyer of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

Given the time and effort that is required to get to that point, the admission ceremony is a suitably ceremonious and formal affair. It is a really nice way to mark the occasion and celebrate your success. It doesn’t stop there but you have succeeded in getting to that point. The Supreme Court does a really nice ceremony and I’m glad I got to take part.

With that said, probably the next best thing about it is that the certificate they give you is almost A3 size, which means when you are posing for photos it is only possible to see half your body. Very slimming.

 

Toastmasters Debut

I attended my first Toastmasters meeting tonight. I’d previously had some exposure to the organisation, but only very tangentially, friends participating and friends of friends. Toastmaster’s is an organisation that aims to develop their public speaking skills. Meetings are held in the style of a traditional business meeting, with an agenda circulated to members before hand. There is some repetition in terms of the way the meeting is structured and the various components that make up the agenda, but with different participants allocated different roles each time the meetings are always unique despite those similarities.

About this time last year I touched base with one of those clubs and asked her to recommend a club for me as I knew that she and her extended family had been participating in the program for a number of years. I’d requested that she try to refer me to a club with some experienced speakers in it. I’ve previously done some public speaking, with a HD in a public speaking unit as part of my study, so I wanted to get the most out of the experience in terms of improving my skills and expanding my social networks.

So along I went to a meeting and met some really lovely people. They couldn’t have been more warm and welcoming, and I found that really encouraging. As I had some idea of what was expected, I had briefly compiled a few notes around the first speech an ‘Ice Breaker.’ There was room on the program and even though I hadn’t paid my membership dues, the club was kind enough to let me jump right in. I think that’s the way to do these things sometimes, to just throw yourself into it and I am glad that I did! At the end of the night I received the Chairman’s award which is an award by the meetings chairperson to their favourite speaker, and also won the best speech which members vote on during the course of the meeting. I knew that I would have some competence in the area,

It was a great experience, and I will definitely join up and participate again.

If you’d like to find out more about Toastmasters and what they offer, take a look at their website.  Membership fees are quite affordable, and there is no obligation to pay or join up if you are curious – all clubs will welcome you with open arms if you would like to attend a meeting and see what its all about. I encourage you to do just that, it’s a lot of fun!