Emotions and Court Room Etiquettes By Nur Nadzirah Naza Yusof
A Month To Write
It honestly took me almost one month of writing down this essay because I don’t think I will ever be able to put my experiences down in the exact words that I want because this is actually my 21st attempt in completing this essay that I have been trying to rewrite over and over again.
So here goes. I am currently in my final year in UiTM so of course I am a tad bit nervous because I am going to graduate in 6 months from the time I completed my internship at Messrs Alex Chang & Co. I was clueless on the whole idea on how to advocate because yes, we can participate in mooting for example, to polish our way of arguing in court. But, I believe that is not 100 percent the same if we were to learn from an experienced Master that can teach us the right way to advocate in court and how to be a good and professional solicitor in dealing with clients daily. That was what I had in mind when searching a place to do my internship.
I have previously completed the compulsory internship required by my University at the Federal Court, Putrajaya. Although I learned how the lawyers should present their cases but that was nothing near to the experiences I have gained at Alex Chang & Co. Yes, of course there are the mundane on how to work out a photocopy machine, send out some mails via Pos Laju and run errands of the like which are slightly outside of the job scope but which are normally expected as an internee at any Law Firm.
Living Up to Expectations
In Alex Chang & Co I have learned the importance of living up to expectations. That is the first thing I must emphasise, because everything is fast paced. Whenever Mr Chang asked me to do a research, I would be so nervous because whatever work given, it is not only to fulfil your task as an internee/ mini pupil but also the sense of responsibility to give your best because no matter how small you think your task is, Mr Chang made me believe that every effort put in were as valuable as anyone else’s in the office.
Acknowledges Your Effort
Mr Chang would make sure to thank you for the research made and would always find a way to tell you on ways how to improve your work when you did not meet with his expectations. And the coolest part is, he did not make you feel small when you’ve made a mistake. The fact that he acknowledges your effort is something not very often people would comment about their boss. This is why I appreciate every work I did in Alex Chang & Co.
My biggest worry before coming to Alex Chang & Co was the fact that I am a slow learner. Here, I have learned that everyone will help you whenever they can in parts where you lack of knowledge and most of the times they will help without you asking for it. I think that is very important in an environment where excellency is expected.
Emotions and Court Room Etiquettes
I never knew our emotions must be played really well when you advocate for your client in court. This is an eye opening part in my internship. I saw the sarcasm pelted by the opponents Mr Chang had to deal with, even before the proceedings started. What amazed me was, even when the opponent, whom we call our Learned Friends threw harsh comments at Mr Chang, he would still stay calm. You would think it is easy to remain calm and not to say anything let alone not to make any faces but it really is not. Never, have I seen Mr Chang made any faces or unkind remarks whenever his learned friends speak to him in or outside of the Court.
This is beautiful in a sense that respect is not lost even though the other side does not offer one. That is the kind demeanour I wish to possess when I, myself become a lawyer one day.
The Art of Research
I actually never made any extensive researches despite being a law student all these years, except for my Final Year Project which was obviously a compulsory. But here in Alex Chang & Co, Mr Chan g had seeded the spark in doing extensive research. I never knew the proper way of conducting a research.
It may seem plain and simple to others but I love the technique taught here that would save you so much time avoiding the unnecessary. Thanks to the tips, I learned how to skim through 10-20 pages of the seemingly endless authorities just to extract the important parts only.
Before this, I thought, doing an internship would be a waste of time. How I was wrong.
The Good Times
I was and still pleasantly surprised of the good times I had gained as an internee at Alex Chang & Co. I still talk about how everyone should at least once get their legal training or experience at Alex Chang & Co. Through out my internship, I have made some friends that are still in contact with me even after I finished my internship. We bonded over our lunch time and whenever possible. We would crack jokes about almost anything and that is something I appreciate greatly.
I don’t think any other law firms would actually have this kind of tradition where Ms Janice would cook for everyone to eat together at the conference room. So we could tighten our bond and listen to songs randomly picked by each and one of us. I find that is most relaxing where we can unwind and talk about anything under the sun in our random banter .
Humbling Experience In Court
Lastly, I felt most humbled when Mr Chang introduced me as an internee/ attachment student in the honourable court as if I were already a pupil in chamber. When I told my friends and family of this, all of them were in awe.
Also, I had the privilege of being invited formerly to observe of how one discusses a delicate matter at hand with a retired Judge of the Court of Appeal. If it was not for this internship, I would have forever known this technique only in theory.
GratitudeI end my compendium of my month long internship/ attachment with gratitude and humility and many thanks to Mr Chang, Ms Janice, Ms Chow for all their guidance. I thank Mr Chang for the opportunity albeit it was just four weeks.
Mr Chang, I pray for an endless abundance of wealth, knowledge and happiness will forever be in your path and unto your family. With that, I am officially signing out as an internee of Alex Chang & Co.
Nur Nadzirah Naza Yusof
Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM)