The man was attending a difficult divorce hearing and he wanted to see his small son more often. The hearing was supposed to last three days and he was already pretty strung out. To his visible relief, the judge had an amazing grasp of all relevant factors in the case and delivered his order within 40 minutes to the bewildered satisfaction of both sides. The stress of the last months was too much for my client so we found a quiet corner in the office for him to sit down.
I can see my colleague next door patiently sorting out three or four carrier bags of paper for a woman with a learning difficulty. He’s making a chronology so that when his client gets to see her lawyer the time can be used wisely. He manages, somehow, to listen sympathetically to the ins and outs of the story at the same time. He’ll need to remember it later when he tries to make sure she’s understood the advice she’s been given.
We get a phone call from the head usher’s office. I rush straight away to help a distraught gentleman awaiting a hearing for permission to appeal in an asylum case. I know I have to calm him fast so that he can make his argument more clearly in court. He speaks little English and I don’t even know what language he does speak.
Luckily I manage to gain his trust quickly. The judge grants his permission and then I take him back to the office to look for solicitors specialising in immigration. After several phone calls, we find him a firm that agrees to take on his case. They’re going to see him today. That’s why I love this work. With a bit of gumption you can unravel things just enough to get anybody who is stuck in the system on to the next stage.
I answer the phone as I’m writing up my notes. It’s amazing how much difference a simple explanation of court procedures can make to somebody who has no understanding of the law.
The others are tidying up the coffee cups – we get through a lot.”