Monday, August 10, 2009

Raising the bar...

A couple of weekends ago, I headed back to Hobart for a law reunion dinner. It has been 10 yrs since being admitted to the bar, (no not the Westbury Tavern) the bar of the Supreme Court of Tasmania. We were all fresh-faced 25yr olds, eager, some egotistical, and ready to take on the world of complex legal issues.

Sorry about the quality of the photo - it is a photo of a photo. Our scanner is broken so I stole this from an earlier blog post last year.

Oh how naive we were!

We started in 1992 as a class of roughly 300 doing Intro to Law. By second year we were culled back to approx 150. (they were ruthless!)It was hard yakka as most of us were doing combined degrees so doing Arts, Commerce, Science etc alongside the law. I did Arts (majoring in psychology) because I thought it would be easy. Weird thing was I got better marks in law because I was more passionate about it and it was hard work so I devoted more energy to it and was happy to just bum along in the Arts degree.

Of those 150 who completed their law degrees in 1997, only 30-odd went on to do Legal Prac in 1998 which was the first pre-requisite to being admitted to the bar in Tas if you wanted to practice law. Two of the lecturers from our course are now judges. I don't think we realised at the time, exactly how privileged we were to be taught by some of the sharpest minds in Tassie. After doing Legal Prac for 6 mths, we all had to get 12mth apprenticeships in a law firm or with a judge or magistrate.

The pay was poor (about $23,000 per annum) but if you were hungry for the law, you did it. I did my apprenticeship with the former Chief Justice Underwood (now Governor of Tas). His mantra - there is never a silly question, only silly answers. He was the best boss ever.

Once that was done, we were admitted to the bar - just a little ceremony in the Supreme Court. (15min for something that took 7yrs to achieve). We then had to apply for permanent jobs. At the time to have a practicising certificate was $1000 a yr but the firm you worked for, (I worked for Griffits & Jackson)paid that. The fee covered professional indemnity insurance for all the times you were going to stuff up and the client sued you. :)

So 10 yrs on, we met up in a quaint Indian restaurant tucked away at Salamanca and reminisced about the decade that was.............

Dave (partner-Page Seager ), Fran (married with 2 kids, just returned home from working in Melb), Dayne (partner -Dobson Mitchell and Allport -), Marty (never grew out of, 'lets put the booze in the picture', ASIC)

Marty, Fran and Jezza (Jeremy Llewellyn (yes son of Tas ALP minister David Llewellyn, but don't let that sway you, he is way cool, working at the ACCC in Melb.

Pete (state DPP) with partner Vicki

My oldest bestest uni friend Simone who I still keep in touch with - Commonwealth DPP, married with 2 kids and another on the way. And me (the stay-at-home Mum representative).

I pondered that - would I feel some 'worth' lacking because 10 yrs on, I am not a partner, or did not work in London (everyone ventured over there, a sabbatical of sorts) but stayed home and churned out 4 kids like a well oiled machine.

For a moment I was scared - would I miss the life my friends have - of course, I'm human - would I have any regrets for the path I am on at present - never. I was reminded of something I once read.... we don't try to sing all the verses of a song at the same time so why try to do everything in life at once. For now, in this season, my priority is raising 4 gorgeous kids who I hope will turn out happy, strong and compassionate adults, despite my influence ;) and the next season.... another 10yrs....well who knows.... that is the beauty of life!

Jonty enjoying a bit of male bonding


The Kings said...

So nice you could all catch up and so great you could see that even though you are 'just a Mum' that it is worth even more than being a partner or traveling the world. :D

Biggest Sis said...

I like your post Simone, especially your prespective and the quote about not singing all the verses at once!

The Triffitts said...

Love your quote.
What is hader, getting through law school or a tough day with your four little ones?

Nettie's Blog said...

dont you just love seeing how different the paths of your friends are after the 10 years...and whatever choices you have made is great you dont regret them...all four of them...I salute you 10 year to be Judge Simone who will sing each verse at a time..i bet you will give Judge Judy a run for her money!!!! ha ha

Anonymous said...

So if I need a good lawyer??
Love Lorraine.

Collette said...

are they giving jonty beer? that pic of you at the start is WAY funny...can't believe how much we change!!

Makayla said...

I LOVE the picture of you at the start!! It cracked me up =P
If i ever need a lawyer i'll know where to go =)

The Parsons Family said...

this is such a great post Simone.

Bride said...

What a beautiful post, thanks for reminding me how precious our kids are and how blessed we are to be able to stay at home and take care of them!