She gives herself only five minutes to construct a legal argument
Legal YouTuber and Linklaters trainee Eve Cornwell has reacted to the classic Suits mock trial scene in her latest video — before challenging herself to construct a better legal argument than fictional lawyer Mike Ross.
The video embedded below, which has received over 230,000 views on YouTube, sees Cornwell critically examine a mock trial in an early episode of popular American legal drama series, Suits. In particular, the part where main character Ross, a college drop-out who lies his way into landing a job at a fictional law firm in New York, has only five minutes prepare his legal argument.
Cornwell, who now has over 300,000 subscribers on YouTube, explains to viewers: “I intend to construct a better legal argument than what was presented in the show.”
With a whiteboard in one hand, Cornwell quickly outlines the facts of the mock trial: Sydney Thompson, a consultant, sues for wrongful termination after being fired the day after recording an impersonation of her boss while intoxicated and sharing it on social media.
Whereas the episode sees Ross defend the employer, Cornwell sets out to argue that Thompson’s termination would amount to unfair dismissal in the UK.
Wearing a Harvard baseball cap (only true Suits fans will understand this Easter egg), Cornwell begins with a disclaimer:
“If you’re someone watching this and you’re an employent lawyer or you’re really good at employment law and I get something wrong — please don’t go off at me. This is just a bit of fun to see what I can pull together and whether I can manage to make a legal argument in a very small amount of time. So, don’t come for me.”
After setting the five-minute timer, University of Bristol law graduate Cornwell starts by running through the statutory requirements for unfair dismissal under the Employment Rights Act. Presented with the question of whether the dismissal was reasonable, Cornwell says:
“We’re going to want to argue that posting a video onto a social media site is a very common thing for people to do, like having an Instagram story, putting things on your Facebook is a very common thing to do. A reasonable employer might discipline the individual, but they won’t necessarily fire the individual.”
Cornwell then applies the three part test of fairness, as established in British Home Stores v Burchell. The magic circle rookie hones in on the third limb of the test: ‘That the employer carried out as much investigation as was reasonable in the circumstances’.
“On the facts here it doesn’t look like any kind of investigation has happened. It just says it was uploaded onto the social networking site and the next day she was fired,” Cornwell explains. “So, I guess we would argue that the reasonable employer would investigate the situation before they took an immediate step to fire their employee,” she adds.