Applications are currently being invited for an unparalleled opportunity to work directly for some of the country’s top judges, at the UK Supreme Court in London.
The Court’s Judicial Assistants scheme is now in its 12th year, and over that period, dozens of lawyers have benefited from spending just under a year as legal researchers to the Justices (or Law Lords before them).
As a former Judicial Assistant explains, the role is varied and stimulating: “No two days in the life of a Judicial Assistant are identical. A typical morning might begin by spending a couple of hours reading into the papers for a forthcoming appeal. After getting up to speed with the main factual and legal issues I would pop down to my Justice’s room for a quick discussion about their initial views on the case. When the hearing begins a short while later I would be sat at the back of the court, immediately behind the Justices, watching the submissions and taking a careful note of the parties' arguments. Once the hearing has concluded I would then usually return to my Justice for a more detailed discussion about the appeal.”
Judicial Assistants are usually allocated one or two Justices to support. In addition to the type of duties mentioned above, they also prepare memorandum summarising applications for permission to appeal, draft the Court’s press summaries of judgments and research extra-judicial speeches for the Justices.
The Supreme Court is keen to attract applications from across the communities it serves for these exciting roles. Although applicants will normally be intending to pursue a career in advocacy, applications are also welcome from solicitors who wish to gain an insight into the work of the highest court in the land.
The basic critera are that applicants must be a solicitor, barrister or advocate qualified in one of the UK jurisdictions, having completed a training contract or pupillage by the start of the appointment.
Judicial Assistants are paid a salary (£35,188) and work as civil servants for the duration of their ten-month contract.
Alice Normand, who was a Judicial Assistant during the last legal year, has since joined the Treasury Solicitor’s Department in the public law team. She explains how the role helped prepare her for her new job: “The role of the judicial assistant offers an insight into the way that judges think, and the way the decision-making process works. It teaches precision, clarity of expression and thought, and an analytical approach to solving legal problems.
“It also highlights examples of best practice in conducting litigation, with regard to both written and oral pleadings. And it is of course an opportunity to observe the highest standards of advocacy in the UK. It is hard work, intensive and exciting – and an invaluable experience for any litigator,” concludes Alice.
If this has whetted your appetite, it’s time to act!
For further details and an application form visit the Hays recruitment website or write to:
The closing date for applications is 28 March 2013.