We have looked more than ever this year at barristers’ well-being – how we can lead a healthy professional lifestyle. As we come to the end of the year, let’s give a thought as to how despite our often hectic days we can reduce the stress of those around us.
…so here are the Barrister’s Well-Being Gifts at Christmas:
Six gifts to Judges
Judges have their own well-being issues what with targets and cuts to court services. But some ways counsel can make their lives less arduous are by adopting these suggestions (apologies if somewhat employment tribunal focused)
- Use bundle page numbers in chronologies (really good when doing a reserved judgment).
- Include Bailli links to cases if possible (litigants in person can access them too if they want).
- Make sure lists of issues/submissions are sent to the Court or Tribunal office in Word with an instruction to forward to judges as an electronic attachment.
- Only use “cut and paste” legal references in submissions where the authorities are truly relevant!
- Don’t squabble with your opposing counsel. Your judge did not pick “referee” as a career choice.
- Keep those written closing submissions short- this is particularly the case if the Court has given you proper time to prepare as it takes longer to produce a concise document.
Five gifts to solicitors
- Read the papers.
- Stick to deadlines.
- Don’t undermine them in front of clients.
- Ask them beforehand whether you want them to raise specific points with the client such as settlement. There may be a reason you are not involved in such a discussion.
Four gifts to clerks
- Let them know where you are!
- Fill in those time recordings….
- Don’t nag them when you are waiting for messages about cases.
- Be honest about capacity.
Three gifts to your clients
- Be down to earth- we may have reputations as distant and aloof – it can only be in your interests to shatter those images!
- Spend time with them exploring their fears about litigation. You are used to it; they are not.
- Explain what’s going to happen in court including what preparation by them will serve them well.
Two gifts to your room mates
- Tidy your room or avoid your mess encroaching on their side of the room.
- Don’t rehearse war stories or chat endlessly when they are prepping – so irritating!
One gift to your loved ones at home
- The gift of your attention! Turn off that phone/email as much as you possibly can over the festive period…
Rachel Crasnow QC (1994 call) is a barrister at Cloisters Chambers and the Wellbeing lead for the Employment Law Bar Association.