The Resurgence of Articled Clerks

It’s a topic that we’ve touched on before here at the blog, but the increasingly difficult and competitive job market for law graduates is being compounded by what many in the industry (that is, the employers) consider to be a less suitable field of candidates for the jobs that are going.

That loss of competitiveness and suitability of candidates has lead to increasing struggles at the regional and local law firm level in being able to fill positions with suitable candidates. Even worse, the ability to retain those employees has decreased with what is widely considered to be the employment mobility of the current generation.

Victorian officeWhile the large corporate law firms seemingly continue their revolving door-esque employment policies of yesteryear, small to mid-teir firms must look to alternative pathways to successfully recruit and keep their employees. Little wonder then that more than one or two firms are returning to a tried and it must be said, trusted system for bringing people into the law and achieving qualifications.

The articled clerk, sometimes referred to as a person who is “articling” is traditionally an apprentice in a professional firm. The term had currency, particularly in the 19th and 20th centuries and came to be most commonly associated with the legal profession. The name comes from the practice of having a clerk sign a contract, known as “articles of clerkship” committing to a fixed period of employment. During that period of time they would work as a pupil of the solicitor, who undertakes, by articles of clerkship, continuing education, training and instruction in the principles of the profession (Wharton’s Law).

In Australia, the alternative pathway to a career in the law is to enter into a course of study with each state’s legal profession board (such as the Legal Profession Admissions Board in New South Wales) at the conclusion of which the individual is able to gain admission to practice. Combined with articles of clerkship, such people enter into the profession having had, often, years of experience accrued – in working closely with an individual professional of seniority.

This “apprentice” approach to learning the profession and practice of a lawyer has unique opportunities for both employee and employer. It guarantees the employer will have a clerk for a set period of time (renewable as the parties see fit) and that anyone employed in such a role will not be lost to the ether of being poached or otherwise being trained up for the benefit of the next lawyer employer. It also means that the employee has a way to effectively combine study with professional work, obtain a meaningful income and be able to proceed into the profession in a way that is more directed than the omnibus curriculum of modern day law schools.

Moreover, as has been seen in many fields and even the law’s own illustrious history, the relationship of apprentice to master practitioner has always generated unique opportunities for a business to engender loyalty, foster development and mentoring and ensure a higher level of access to the profession than the current system of ATAR scores and tertiary education costs might provide. This benefits not only the employer and the employee but also the wider community.

With greater-than-ever pressure upon law firms to be profitable while maintaining legacy planning, the need to look to an alternative approach to recruitment has become urgent. As practitioners proceed down such alternative approaches, the pressure upon law schools to improve the results of their education will increase. Perhaps, eventually, a happy medium can be regained. For now, the jury remains out.

Aaron Kernaghan



Republicans Dissatisfied By Trump Still Oppose Party Interference

A majority of GOP voters disapprove of efforts by party leaders to stop Trump

Source: Republicans Dissatisfied By Trump Still Oppose Party Interference


The Republican party is deeply divided over the candidacy of Donald Trump, who still holds a national lead over his primary opponents, according to a poll released Tuesday, but even those who are dissatisfied with the billionaire oppose efforts by party leaders to halt his ascendance.

The divisive nature of Trump’s candidacy is evidenced by the fact that 51% of Republican or Republican-leaning independent registered voters in a WashingtonPost-ABC poll said they would be satisfied with him as their nominee, but a greater percentage of voters said they would be happy with each of the other candidates. Sixty-five percent of voters said they would be satisfied with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz as their nominee, 62% would be satisfied with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and 56% would be satisfied with Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

A narrow majority of voters surveyed (51%) said they oppose efforts by some Republican party leaders to prevent Trump from becoming the nominee. Just 43% said they support party leaders in that effort. Some members of the GOP establishment have spoken out against Trump in recent weeks, strategizing about how best to stop him from achieving the party nomination.

The poll shows their efforts haven’t been as effective as they would have hoped. Trump received the support of 34% of registered Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. Meanwhile, Cruz received 25% support from that group, Rubio received 18% and Kasich received 13%.

However, Trump’s lead over Cruz has narrowed since voting contests began. The mogul held a 16-point lead over the senator in January.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton has the support of 49% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has the support of 42%. She leads by the smallest margin in a Washington Post-ABC poll since the campaign began after holding a 19-point lead in January.

The poll, conducted between March 3 and March 6 , surveyed 1,000 people, 864 of whom are registered voters, and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Idiot Judge

Thank heavens nothing like this would ever happen in Australia:

A Tennessee newspaper has uncovered more than a half dozen incidents in which a Campbell County judge barred the public from entering her courtroom during docket call and then ordered the arrest of defendants who were late as a result.

Judge Amanda Sammons closes her doors during the docket call despite Tennessee Supreme Court rulings holding that adult courtrooms are open to the public, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. Bailiffs were locking the doors until the newspaper questioned Sammons about the policy last October; after that the doors were unlocked but bailiffs still refused to allow people to enter during the reading of the docket.

Suzanne Webb tells the newspaper she was arrested after she arrived to court for a Sept. 24 hearing in a misdemeanor vandalism case and was barred from entering Sammons’ courtroom. After the doors were opened, Webb entered the courtroom and read a book until her case was called.

Sammons told Webb she was late and she was going to jail for violating bond, which she had already posted, according to Webb’s account. Webb posted the new bond of $424 and was released. Sammons later dropped the vandalism charge in exchange for forfeiture of the cash bond.

In other cases, Sammons set bond for late defendants who couldn’t enter the courtroom at amounts ranging from $650 to $75,000. One defendant was ordered held without bond for 24 hours.

Here’s a First Look at J.K. Rowling’s New Story About American Wizards

The first installment is now live on Pottermore

Source: Here’s a First Look at J.K. Rowling’s New Story About American Wizards

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has begun to pull back the veil on the previously untold history of North American witches and wizards, and the first installment of her new series is now live over at Pottermore.

The debut story in The History of Magic in North America, entitled “Fourteenth Century – Seventeenth Century,” examines the early days of the magical community on the continent, the Native Americans and skin-walkers, and an area of wizarding that has kept Harry Potter readers curious for years—wandless magic.

For each of the next three days, a new story will appear on Pottermore at 9 a.m. EST. Here’s a brief breakdown of what to expect from the rest of the week.

Seventeenth Century and Beyond
Debuting March 9 at 9 a.m. EST
Being a witch or wizard in North America is even more dangerous than in Europe. This account, which includes the real histories of the Salem witch trials and the Scourers (a rogue band of magical mercenaries), explains why.

Rappaport’s Law
Debuting March 10 at 9 a.m. EST
In the 18th century, the laws governing secrecy for the wizarding community became even stricter after a major violation that resulted in humiliation for the Magical Congress of the United States of America, the U.S. version of the Ministry of Magic.

1920s Wizarding America
Debuting March 11 at 9 a.m. EST
Ollivanders might have a corner on the wand market across the pond, but the American makers of the finest wizarding implements were Wolfe, Jonker, Quintana, and Beauvais. This is their story.

St. Patty’s Day Gin (& Juice) Cocktail

Reblogged on

Source: St. Patty’s Day Gin (& Juice) Cocktail

And we’re back! After taking a couple of weeks off to get our lives together, we’re coming back in a strong way – with a strong cocktail. (We know you missed our corny jokes…). I went in to HomeGoods the other day just to browse…as if anyone actually makes it out alive without buying anything…and came out with these awesome, old school cocktail glasses. I had to use them that night. Obviously.

Although it’s earlier than last year, I’m getting back into my “gin” kick. (Remember our fizzy gin concoction last year?) I also just recently came back from a trip to London, so I’m on a Beefeater streak. Obviously. So with some of the simple ingredients I had laying around, I threw this bad boy together. Oh, and did I mention it color coordinates perfectly with St. Patrick’s Day? 🙂

  • 1/4 cup Beefeater Gin
  • 1 cup cucumber juice
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • Splash of St. Germain
  • 1 slice of cucumber

I used my juicer for the cucumber juice, but you can also muddle it (get in a workout while you’re at it), or a blender. Place all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain and garnish with a cucumber slice.

Meet the Last American in Damascus

He’s been warned to leave but he calls Syrians, “the most beautiful people in the world”

Source: Meet the Last American in DamascusMeet the Last American in Damascus

DAMASCUS, Syria — Thomas Webber stoops to check his car for bombs every morning before heading out, but the 71-year-old American has no plans to leave Damascus, a city he has called home for more than four decades.

He is one of the very few Americans not of Syrian origin — perhaps the last one — living in the capital, after the United States closed its embassy and urged citizens to leave the country in 2012. The Czech Embassy, which has handled U.S. interests since then, told him to be careful.

“Foreigners were being kidnapped at the time,” Webber says of the chaotic period four years ago. “I guess I don’t look like a Syrian. I’m a little bit taller than most.”

At 6 feet 4 inches, he is a lot taller than most, and his silver hair and bespoke suits — complete with pocket squares — also make him stand out. But the policemen at nearby checkpoints wave him on with a smile, and he stands by his decision to stay.

“The Syrian people are just the most beautiful people in the world,” he says. “There’s no way I’m going to leave this country. They’re going to have to carry me out.”

He said that when the Czech Embassy contacted him, urging him to leave, it told him he was the last American not of Syrian origin still living in Damascus. An official at the Czech embassy in Damascus contacted by The Associated Press said he could not confirm whether that was the case.

Webber was born and raised in Orchard Park, New York, a suburb of Buffalo. His father was a German railyard master and his mother was a Polish nurse. He flunked out of dental school, skipped the Vietnam draft due to a technical error, and was living in California when he was offered a job teaching science at Damascus Community School, a private American academy.

“I said OK, and then headed to the public library and got out an atlas,” he recalls.

He arrived in Damascus in 1975, and went on to convert to Islam and marry a Syrian woman. Except for a brief stint teaching in Iran, he has lived in Syria ever since. Today he has three grown children, 11 grandchildren and a great grandchild living in various countries. He visits them often, but always comes home to Damascus.

Syria has been hostile to Israel and to U.S. policies in the region for as long as Webber has been there, but thousands of Americans and other Westerners, including diplomats, teachers, businesspeople and clergy members, called it home. And the country was a relatively safe destination for American tourists, students and other visitors.

That began to change in 2011, after Syrians rose up with mostly peaceful protests demanding political change. President Bashar Assad responded with a brutal crackdown, an insurgency erupted, and soon the country was in the grip of a full-blown civil war that has now killed more than 250,000 people.

In the chaotic early months of the conflict foreigners fled, fearing kidnappings and bombings. The government has maintained a tight grip on the capital, with security checkpoints at almost every intersection, but insurgents have lobbed mortar rounds into the city center from suburbs under their control.

“One hit about 3 meters in front of our door,” Webber said calmly. “Wiped out seven cars.”

He and his wife began taking “strong precautionary measures,” he said. “When I went out by myself I told her where I was going, and same with her. When I’m driving, I am very observant of cars around me. We started doing a lot more things together, which is good for our relationship,” he added cheerfully.

The security situation in the capital has improved since then, and over the past week a U.S. and Russian-brokered cease-fire has brought about the first major lull in the fighting.

On a recent day, Webber walked up the stone steps of the botanical garden café in the Old City, greeted the waiter and took a table on the rooftop, which offers a panoramic view of the old citadel. Nestled between the Barada River and the entrance to the famed Umayyad Mosque, the garden offers birdsong and quiet tranquility in the heart of a busy city, and seems a world apart from the war.

Webber recently wrote about it on TripAdvisor, where he is a level 6 contributor. He has written more than 300 reviews on the site, trumpeting Syria’s famed restaurants and attractions.

“I have the choice of any country, including America, and I choose to stay here,” he says. “It’s part of my heart now.”

Many of his friends have left, and a landscaping business he founded is suffering. But the exodus of qualified teachers made it easy to get a part-time job in the English department of a local high school. Several times a week, Webber shares his love of Charles Dickens with teenagers from the French-speaking Lycée Charles de Gaulle.

“I feel 45 years old again after a good day of teaching,” he said.

Most Damascenes place little stock in the cease-fire, and fear the shelling may soon resume. But Webber — ever the optimist — thinks the peace will hold, and after spending four decades immersed in Arab culture, he has taken on its belief in divine providence.

“My wife agrees with me on this — when it’s your time, it’s your time. I could leave school and slip on a banana peel and die,” he said, folding his arms. “It’s God’s will.”

Nike Dumps Maria Sharapova After Failed Drug Test

Porsche and TAG Heuer have also distanced themselves from the tennis player

Source: Nike Dumps Maria Sharapova After Failed Drug Test

Nike, Porsche and TAG Heuer have quickly moved to distance themselves from Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova— who said on Monday that she tested positive for meldonium, which is a banned substance under the WADA code.

According to the BBC, Nike says it’s “saddened” by the news of her failed drug’s test and have suspended their “relationship with Maria while the investigation continues.”

Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer have suspended their talks to extend its deal with Sharapova, which ran out at the end of 2015. While Porsche, who named her its first female ambassador in 2014, have decided to “postpone planned activities.”

The five-time major champion said she had been taking the drug for a decade for numerous health issues.

“I don’t want to end my career this way, and I really hope I will be given another chance to play this game” she told a press conference on Monday.


Trump Faces Another Test

Morning Must Reads: March 8

Source: Trump Faces Another Test


Democrats and Republicans will face off in primaries in Michigan and Mississippi, while Republicans hold caucuses in Hawaii and a primary in Idaho as Hillary Clinton‘s march toward the nomination accelerates on the Democratic side, wile the GOP race becomes muddier than ever. The Democratic front-runner is showing classic signs of consolidating her party’s support, even as Bernie Sanders pledges to fight on. But the GOP leader, Donald Trump, is facing a hardening of opposition that—like most everything else this cycle—defies historical precedent. Between the eight-figures in anti-Trump television ad buys, steady, but improving, performance in primaries and caucuses, and a consolidated effort to derail him, Trump faces another key test Tuesday has he seeks to avert a contested convention. While Tuesday’s races don’t come with massive delegate prizes, they will test whether Trump’s appeal can broaden sufficiently, or whether his opponents can contain him.

Marco Rubio‘s campaign is facing its toughest challenges yet, after the message-focused campaign has suffered weeks of negative headlines amid botched expectations and a backfiring personal assault on Trump. Retrenched in his home state of Florida, Rubio is fighting for his political life when the state’s primary is held next week, but while he’s gaining on Trump, he may need to do better than simply beating Trump on Election Day because of the state’s early vote. Meanwhile,Ted Cruz‘s campaign is threatening to go into Florida to force Rubio from the race once and for all—but his efforts there could have the opposite effect, as Cruz often draws Trump voters.

Bill Clinton suggested that President Obama‘s rosy presentation of America was responsible for the current political climate. Trump is cracking down on protesters. And Michael Bloomberg realizes that a nation frustrated with elites didn’t want yet another one in public life.

Here are your must-reads:

Must Reads

Rubio’s Storybook Political Life Faces a Dark Chapter
A campaign focused on narrative that lost control of it [TIME]

Michael Bloomberg Will Not Enter Presidential Race
A serious look succumbs to the realization hat there was no path to victory [New York Times]

Why Motown Might Leave Candidates Singing the Blues
TIME’s Philip Elliott previews the day’s contests

How Donald Trump Flip-Flopped on 3 Major Issues
Torture, immigration, and refugees [TIME]

Trump Cracks Down on Protesters
Loyalty oaths, plainclothes guards and new media restrictions deployed at recent rallies [Politico]

Sound Off

“I hope to win the nomination. If I am so fortunate, I hope to work with [Sanders], because the issues he’s raised, the passion he has demonstrated, the people he has attracted are going to be very important in the general election. But equally following the election, to try to get things done. So I do consider him an ally.” — Hillary Clinton on Bernie Sanders in a town hall on Fox News Monday

“Why is it such a wacky election? Because millions and millions and millions and millions of people look at that pretty picture of America he painted and they cannot find themselves in it to save their lives. That explains everything.” — Bill Clinton at a campaign rally for his wife Monday

Bits and Bites

Donald Trump: Comparing My Campaign Pledge to a Nazi Salute Is ‘Ridiculous’[NBC]

Donald Trump Falsely Claims He “Employs Many People” at Honolulu Hotel [CBS]

Hillary Clinton Says She Supports Using Special Forces in Libya [TIME]

Bill Clinton Says Obama Painted a ‘Pretty Picture’ of the U.S. [TIME]

How You Could Get Hit With a Surprise Medical Bill [TIME]

Fox News Anchor Bret Baier: Kanye 2020 Could One-Up Trump 2016 [TIME]

Mitt Romney Records Phone Message for Marco Rubio’s Campaign [TIME]

Mexican President: Trump Language Like That of Hitler [Associated Press]

Donald Trump Florida Ad Hits ‘Corrupt Marco Rubio’ [New York Times]

U.N. Commissioner Warns Apple Not to Allow FBI to Access Private Data

If the U.S. federal government is allowed access to private data, he says, it could open “Pandora’s Box”

Source: U.N. Commissioner Warns Apple Not to Allow FBI to Access Private Data


A United Nations official issued a warning to companies like Apple over the release of information saved on users private devices.

In a statement Friday, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said the ongoing case between Apple and the Federal Bureau of Investigations could have a dire impact across the globe. Apple is engaged in atough legal battle over the phone of the gunman in the deadly San Bernardino shooting attack. A federal judge has ordered the tech giant to tap into the shooter’s personal data; Apple has argued doing so would set an bad precedent for user privacy.

Though al-Hussein said that the shooting was “an abominable crime and no one involved in aiding or abetting it should escape the law”, he argues this case is about more than that.
“This case is not about a company – and its supporters — seeking to protect criminals and terrorists, it is about where a key red line necessary to safeguard all of us from criminals and repression should be set,” he said in a statement.

If the U.S. federal government is allowed access to private data, he says, it could open “Pandora’s Box” by giving other governments the green-light to seek out the vulnerabilities of citizens.

“Encryption tools are widely used around the world, including by human rights defenders, civil society, journalists, whistle-blowers and political dissidents facing persecution and harassment,” al-Hussein said. “Encryption and anonymity are needed as enablers of both freedom of expression and opinion, and the right to privacy. It is neither fanciful nor an exaggeration to say that, without encryption tools, lives may be endangered. In the worst cases, a Government’s ability to break into its citizens’ phones may lead to the persecution of individuals who are simply exercising their fundamental human rights.”