As law students I recommend you go and see court trials to see how they work, and what a court room looks like. It is not difficult to get there, you just need to plan your time carefully and simply not be too shy to ask as many questions as you need to get the relevant information. For example, I myself am working part time but still have some spare time to plan days. As a law student it is important to do extra activities to make yourself more confident as a future lawyer. It is good to visit any places that may give you an advantage in your future profession, so I started with the Scottish courts.
I observed few cases by myself which help me to become more familiar with legal reasoning, how exactly work at court looks like, and what might be important to see and understand for my own career. A future aspiring lawyer should not be shy, otherwise it will be very difficult to collect information that they need for their research. I was confident enough to make a conversation with police officers about cases and exchange impressions and feelings about how the case will go. What I think it is important to mention that police officers are very friendly and helpful in putting you in the right direction or for answering your questions. I was very surprised that no matter what opinions you held, the staff and officers were very happy to keep talking to you. Don’t worry though, it is all very proper!
It’s also a good idea to make some notes, especially if you have a problem with remembering all the information. It also prevents stress as it keeps your hands busy. In fact simply writing more and putting the info onto paper help your writing skills, very handy for exams!
You must, however, be ready to hear potentially sensitive details from witnesses, or as part of the evidence, that might be distressing. Some resolve may be required in these situations. From my experience court staff are very helpful and they try to make things as comfortable and distress free as possible.
The trial I watched was very interesting, and especially difficult. The witness in the trial did not speak English particularly well, but insisted he did not require a translator. Despite the judge speaking very plainly and clearly, it was clear that the witness did not fully understand the proceedings and was not taking it as seriously as he should (he was even laughing at some point!).
In contrast the defendant who also spoke a different language, and who disputed the witness’s evidence, was supported by a solicitor. The solicitor was able to advise and assist in the defendants own language. This definitely was to the defendant’s advantage, and was a good example of how a skilled lawyer who is also bilingual can make a powerful impact on a case.
In addition the language barrier between the witness and the court caused the trial to take longer. Another benefit of lawyers (and students who are studying to be lawyers) who are able to speak multiple languages!
So my dear colleagues my message to you is don’t be afraid to come and see cases at the courts! We all are in law school and the time is right to get more involved and to search for future possibilities. You may find your future professions!
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