New tools to grow your practice
Technology has come a long way in the law. I was reminded of this when I read an article from Bar News in 2000 in which the Millennial-year Chairman of the Bar addressed “those of you who use the internet …” and encouraged our members to take up a broadband offer: “the effect is that e-mail comes to you, rather than you dialling in to your Internet Service Provider to collect it”.
As we continue our work on engaging with law firms and in-house counsel to demonstrate the value of briefing early and often, one of the key messages we receive in return is that the days of briefs being hand-delivered in folders tied up with pink ribbon are coming to an end. The legal world has become tech savvy and our members need to keep pace.
At a CPD last week, Juliet Forsyth SC outlined some surprising benefits to your practice, lifestyle and wellbeing of moving to a paperless practice, from having more thinking time in court (while everyone else is hunting through their folders) to being more persuasive in court (because they are listening to you and following your cross-examination rather than flicking through documents) to not having to lug around heavy bags.
Her jargon-free presentation outlined different types of e-briefs and demonstrated how to stitch documents together to create an e-court book, as well as a discussion on hardware, software and apps, an easy way to manage passwords, data security and file sharing as well as really practical tips for court. She even demonstrated that you don’t have to abandon hand-writing your annotations or your ‘cheat sheet’ of notes.
As Juliet puts it, transitioning to e-briefs is popular with solicitors, and it’s achievable even for a generation that wasn’t born with an iPhone in their hands.
It’s a great investment in yourself and your career at the Bar. If you missed the session, a link is available in the CPD Catalogue.
Preparing for the future – and the end of the CPD year
Speaking of which, don’t forget the CPD year ends on Sunday 31 March 2020. You are required to have completed at least ten CPD points including one point in each of the fields of ‘Barrister Skills’, ‘Substantive Law’, ‘Practice Management and Professional Skills’ and ‘Ethics and Professional Responsibility’.
Whether you need the points or not, there are fascinating CPDs to attend during February and March. These include sessions on advocacy skills, judicial bullying, criminal migration law, grounds for appeal, branding rights and the annual Ethics Committee update to name a few. Log in to the VicBar member site to view the Upcoming CPDs page. And if you can’t make it in person, there is also an extensive list of recordings available in the CPD Catalogue.
International Women’s Day celebrations
International Women’s Day is on Sunday 8 March this year. It’s a day for all people to celebrate women’s achievements in all spheres of life and to reflect on the progress that still needs to be made towards equality.
There are a number of celebrations this year to mark International Women’s Day. On 4 March, Victorian Women Lawyers and the Women Barristers Association are co-hosting the Dame Roma Mitchell Memorial Lunch. This year’s guest speaker is Antoinette Braybrook, CEO of Djirra (formerly the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention & Legal Service). See the notices for more information and to book your ticket (bookings close today).
In addition, the Women Barristers Association is partnering with Slater & Gordon to host Class Actions 2020 at the Arts Centre on 11 March. Slater & Gordon is collating a booklet of women barristers who work in this field. If you’re interested, there’s more information in the notice below.
Our President Wendy Harris QC will speak at a breakfast seminar for Melbourne Uni law on Thursday 5 March, 7-8.30am at the RACV Club to mark International Women’s Day. She’ll explore the topic of ethical governance, including how to respond to challenging ethical issues and how to create environments of trust, respect and ethical behaviour—pressing issues of interest and importance to everyone, not only women. Melbourne Law School alumni will have received an invitation by email, but the event is now sold out. There is now a waitlist, which you can request to be added by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.