My Ink

ATTACHMENTS AND WEAVES

Now, for three months, every student of the law school is supposed to put to practice all the theories that have been stuffed into his willing (?) brain for five months. This period of hands-on training is known as attachment and is undertaken both in courts and law offices around the country.
So, this lawyer-hopeful packs up and reports at a court for the first part of the programme. She arrives, eager to leave a mark. Alas, the only mark she leaves is that of her butt, on the wooden chairs where she meekly sits and observes the obsequious bows to the judge, the humourless banter of many a not-so- learned wig; and if she is in luck, there could be a few smart insults couched in wicked adjectives from the bench. And when judgements are delivered; counsel may not like it, but must fight down the urge to say a few choice words to the judge, and instead, respectfully intone, “As the court pleases” while giving his opponent the evil eye.
The hapless students, who from hereon we shall refer to as attachés, who are just there to watch, soon find that they choke to near death from absolute boredom, especially if they are stuck like yours truly, in Courts that entertain only civil commercial cases. To survive in the tedium-coated temple, the attachés invent diversionary pastimes. Oh yes! Blackberries! The slogan here is POD: Ping or die! Also, with whispered critiques of each lawyer’s performance, entertainment surely does not lack here. It’s a profession where ludicrous mannerisms are rife. Occasionally, the attaches get careless and erupt in outright giggles. A liberal judge may smile and indulge them. Not so with a stern arbiter, glowering down the ridge of his nose; a grave warning is issued to respect the sanctity of the court.
At some rare periods however, the attachés are lucky and an interesting case comes before the court. A litigant sometimes emerges, grown weary of hiring the services of these pocket-draining clowns, he decides to represent himself. Here, real drama unfolds. Blissfully ignorant of the fine details of filing processes and serving them, this upstanding defendant adjudges the courtroom an extension of the village square where elders preside as judges. (Our culture of a white wig does not help to dispel this notion). After several painful minutes of trying to ascertain that this defendant understands the gravity of the task he is about to take on, the court permits the prosecution to go ahead with the cross examination. Our laughter can be heard from miles yonder as he constantly interrupts his cross and yells at the prosecution, calling them liars who would not let him speak the truth; while peppering his speech with injunctions like “The God I serve will vindicate me!” By this time we have all choked, eyes shedding bucketfuls as we fall over ourselves writhing in helpless merriment. The judge tries unsuccessfully to keep the gentlemen in line, but buoyed by our cheers, the dude sails merrily on his voyage of victory.
As a student on attachment, I hereby posit that the name of this learning period be changed from attachment to weaves. During weaves, the job of lawyers would be made easier by allowing litigants to represent themselves, or be represented by the attachés- under their principal’s supervision. Counsel would only do the research, file and serve court processes, while the parties themselves are left to handle the courtroom work. As they slug it out, counsel would sit around jaw-jawing about the different recent amendments in statutes, yearly vacations and their mean bosses while occasionally throwing in a helpful pointer to their erring litigant. The judge would have a recorder on instead of the agonising process of taking notes in longhand. Maybe these will un-crease his brows and make him smile after all. More so, without the formality of the court and frequent interference of counsel, parties would arrive at settlements quicker.
If attachés are the representation, things will not be much different. They would announce their presence in court like other wigs, their voices squeaky at the realization that this is not a moot court. The case for which the attaché and his principal appear would then be called. Maybe, a chronically absent defendant and his counsel have put the court in a bad mood and the judge is ready to hand the plaintiff favourable judgment on a platter. The principal gives the attaché a little nudge to indicate that he is the one to move the motion. Honoured at this opportunity and confident that he can move a simple motion, our attaché gets up and glances at the principal who gives him a nod of encouragement. He then boldly looks the judge in the eye and says, “My Lord, I move!” The puzzled judge, wondering if he has heard correctly, looks at the attaché and asks what he seeks to move. Ignoring the frantic nudges of his principal and the snickering of his colleagues, attaché raises his voice higher and clearly enunciates his words, “My Lord, I do so solemnly move!” The uproarious laughter that ensues will ensure that the young lawyer-in-training will have court-room phobia for the rest of his life.
On law office attachment, there is more stimulation. The attaché gets to draft, write briefs and run errands in the office. If one is lucky, one is posted to an office where one can study for the bar finals while learning the mundane tricks of law practice. The accursed ones are those who get stuck in offices of slave drivers. These bosses can’t believe their luck: Cheap labour! And the attaché is put to work round the clock, supposedly mastering the skills of the profession, only to fail the final exam (not our portion, surely). I am especially amused by those zealots who were assigned to easygoing offices but got themselves reassigned to busy chambers where they also hope to get paid. They forget that no one gets paid by a lawyer for doing nothing.
Alas, attachment soon blows over and everyone heads back to the various campuses; some scared and unprepared to take the bull by its horns, while others are raring to go.

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5 thoughts on “ATTACHMENTS AND WEAVES”

  1. Hahahahhahaha…The God I serve will vindicate me…*laughing in Tears*…you wee not kill me o Rachael…Choi!
    My Lord,I do solemnly move!….lol

    Wow,your humor is only rivalled by your attention for detailed,intelligent writing…I love this…I kept visualizing Suits…*chuckles*…Harvey would love you or is it Dona this time…lol

    P.s;I didn’t comment in the previous post because I was fuming,hair splitting mad…still mad tho..let me get my hand on that Bassey guy

    Like

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