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Judicial assistant takes over Supreme Court Twitter to show what it’s really like working alongside the country’s top judges

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It’s a lot of reading, but it’s a great experience

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You’d think the highest court in the land would be a pretty daunting place for a rookie lawyer, but a young solicitor advocate took control of the court’s Twitter feed and proved it’s not that scary after all.

Yesterday, Tom Wood — this year’s judicial assistant to Lord Wilson and Lord Hodge — took charge of the Supreme Court’s Twitter account.

Using the hashtag #BeAJudicialAssistant, solicitor advocate Wood gave a blow-by-blow account of life behind the scenes in the country’s most prestigious court — and it looks like there’s even more reading involved than on the LLB.

Wood starts off his morning by doing some last minute prep on the MM case. Before the day’s hearing kicks off, he has a chat about it with a very chilled out looking Lord Wilson.

Then it’s time to see the justices in action.

While the court breaks for lunch, Wood gets a chance to have a natter with the other seven judicial assistants, all of which help out either one or two justices. The lucky lot are all solicitors, barrister or advocates, having qualified before taking up their respective posts at the Supreme Court.

Then in the afternoon it’s back to court for Wood and co, to hear more legal arguments from counsel in the MM case.

Court is adjourned for the day at about 4pm, so then he gets the chance to have a catch up with Lord Hodge about the day’s events.

That’s before Wood takes his place in a dark library to do some more research or maybe some drafting.

We leave a busy Wood at 5pm, so he can go finish off his research.

Working side by side with the country’s top judges has got to be a score for any young lawyer. It’s not surprising that the legal Twitterati’s response to Wood’s day in the life account is a resounding thumbs up.

So is it really as good as it sounds? According to pupil barrister and former judicial assistant Mohsin Zaidi, it’s better.

Zaidi acted as an assistant to Lords Wilson and Sumption in 2013-2014, and described the experience as an “absolute privilege”. A City lawyer at the time, Zaidi spent the year drafting bench memos and press summaries, viewing cases, and doing legal research.

He couldn’t speak highly enough of the experience, and told Legal Cheek:

I had the time of my life.

Being involved in some of the countries most important cases — like Nicklinson and Bull v Hall — was an honour for Zaidi, who went as far as to say:

For a junior lawyer, I cannot think of a better experience in terms of furthering your career than being a judicial assistant at the Supreme Court.


23 Comments

Lee Travers

I think that we should get rid of bus lanes. There’s hardly ever any buses in them and it means that traffic is much worse than it would be otherwise in the other lanes. Or we should just all drive buses and make all of the roads into bus lanes Lol!

(12)(12)

Hugh

I am a former judicial assistant and I can tell you that Mohsin is absolutely right, it’s an incredible year.

(11)(0)

John

Hi, I’m also a former Judicial Assistant. This UKSC Twitter initiative is a great idea to let more people know about the scheme. I cannot recommend the scheme highly enough, and would recommend anyone to apply. It’s an intellectually exhilarating year, and a great privilege.

(11)(0)

Hugeone

Hugh and John make a huge-one.

(11)(0)

Anonymous

It sounds incredibly dull and boring to me, work all day and night, no time for drink and partying, instead you get to spend your days in a dull soulless place

(5)(10)

Anonymous

Too right. Hanging around in stuffy libraries with golf club geriatrics? Exhilarating my rotund behind. Give me a prozzer and a bag of Charlie anyway.

(16)(1)

Anonymous

Sounds great. Any idea of the (actual) general requirements?

(1)(0)

MoJ Man

Pupillage or training contract completed before 1 October 2016, a 2:1, and the ability to be nice to old people.

(11)(0)

Anonymous

Is a 2.1 actually sufficient, though?

(1)(1)

Anonymous

Having the right background
Went to the right public school
Went to the right college
And I’m sure if mummy and daddy know the judges it always help.
Being able to bore old people to death
Being able to hold your port at the 19th hole

(7)(11)

Anonymous

I was JA to Lord Phillips back in the day, notwithstanding I was the first in the family to go to university, didn’t go to any public school let alone the right one, didn’t go to Oxbridge, have a mummy and daddy who’ve never knowingly met a proper judge, and I can’t stand port.

However, I am talented at boring old people to death, so that’s probably what got me in..

(21)(1)

Anonymous

Be great if former JA’s would provide HONEST answer of what it takes to become one – so if you really do need a first, or a masters, or whatever else, save us all time and tell us.

(6)(1)

Anonymous

Yes, please do!

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Don’t think anyone is being misleading about the requirements. If you’re good enough to be become a pupil barrister or trainee solicitor, you probably meet the requirements to be a JA. Academic ability is only one criterion among many. If you want to know what the qualifications of former JAs are look at their CVs.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Yes, and almost all of them have 1sts, LLMs and the like, more than the bare minimum requirements. Which is why I made my point above, duh.

(1)(0)

chancerypupil

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA a 2:1! Only the brightest can become judges! I got a 1st and work in the city. If you don’t get a 1st practice criminal law, but just remember that you are not smart enough to go any higher than a junior barrister HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHHHHAHAHAHAHHAAHHAHH llolololololololololololooolololololololololololollol.

(1)(14)

Anonymous

I got a 1st and work in the city and think you’re a bellend.

(13)(0)

Anonymous

Seconded. Also, one might have thought that at some point when studying for a first or completing city training, Chancerypupil would have picked up on the difference between “practice” and “practise”.

(7)(0)

Chancerypupil (not the HAHAH one because that isn't me)

Stop stealing my name and making people think I can’t spell. I never worked in the city, but might be a judicial assistant if I don’t get tenancy.

(0)(0)

Grumpy Solicitor

I got a 1st and a Masters from the London School of Economics, and work in criminal legal aid, you bellend.

(4)(0)

shadowy figure

OK I’m SORRY to be the arsehole here but this guy seems like a right brown noser

(0)(2)

Harley watch

Surprised this doesn’t feature in Lord Harley’s CV ….

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.