Saturday, September 15, 2018

Refreshing My Legal Skills

I'm set to go back to work part-time. It's where I worked a few years ago--the Maryland Crime Victims' Resource Center. This time, I'm going to represent crime victims in administrative hearings and appeals to the courts. I was given the chance to attend a three-day training course offered to new Legal Aid attorneys by Maryland Legal Aid in Marriottsville, Maryland.

I opted in and attended, mainly because I've not been in a courtroom as a practitioner in a long time. It was both useful and fun--I got to hear some good, practical lecturers, mostly on evidence, and to make opening and closing statements, get documents admitted and an expert qualified, and conduct both direct and cross. The critiques--mostly by senior Legal Aid lawyers--were helpful and knowledgeable.

I likely was the oldest "new attorney" in attendance but that did not either bother me or make any difference. I was there to learn skills just like any other lawyer who hasn't been in the courts to try cases--in a long time, for me. One case was landlord-tenant and the other was child custody. They had been using the first for years and just made up the second. 

To me, the best lecturer was a long-time practitioner who now runs a bar review. He might have been the only person there--and that includes all the other lecturers and senior staff who were the judges--older than me. He was highly pragmatic and urged us to just keep using the techniques he described because then they would become second nature.

Some have asked why I'm going back to work--even part-time. I'm not at all bored with what I'm doing now. I won't be getting enough money for it to make a major difference. So I don't have a good answer: it's probably because it seems like it could be both satisfying and useful--and also fun.

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