I thought my criminal law days were behind me. How wrong I was.
In my 3rd week at the firm, just as I was getting accustomed to the pulse of the place and finally had mapped my route to the soda machine, I was informed by one of my supervising lawyers that I was to attend at a preliminary hearing (“prelim” in lawyer speak) in a high profile murder, for 3 consecutive days. For those who are not aware a prelim is a stage in criminal proceedings where material is presented to a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice in order to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to set a matter down for trial in Ontario Superior Court. As it turns out our client is involved in a civil suit in relation to this murder and therefore we needed to learn as much as possible from the criminal proceedings in order to mount a strong defence for our client in the civil suit.
The experience of watching senior criminal defense counsel and Crown Attorney’s examine and cross-examine witnesses in such a high profile case was truly an invaluable experience. I particularly enjoyed watching the different styles exhibited by the various counsel when questioning a recalcitrant witness or when catering to the judge’s wishes. I also should not forget to mention the relatively late starting time of 10:00 AM, allowing me time to catch up on much needed sleep!
These experiences and others have taught me that the work this firm does is multifaceted and that working in a civil litigation firm does not mean that all other areas of life and law are off limits. On the contrary, working at a litigation boutique allows one exposure to most every aspect of life and law, and I am confident will provide me with a stimulating and interesting career.