On 18 March 2022 we received an interlocutor in our office which advised that a hearing had been converted to “in person”. Simultaneously, our colleagues in our licensing team had started on-site meetings. This we took to be a sure sign that lockdown was ending and, as our thoughts turned to returning to court and on-site meetings, they also turned to some more practical aspects of what might be involved.
Look out your “court shoes”. Rather than the traditional sense of the word, these are divided into 2 categories, being the “flatties” in which you rush to court and “the high heels” you wear once there. One of our partners really does have 40 pairs of shoes under her desk for going to court. For on-site visits, a stylish wedge looked great with a trouser suit but reportedly failed miserably for the dash to Haymarket Station.
Yes, the size and choice of heel is very important because you might not be quite as fast as you were two years ago at pacing out the difference between your desk and the door of court.
A recent photoshoot within our office was causing the debate about ties versus no ties but separately, we did all agree that while chinos and an open neck shirt worked for Matthew McConaughey in “A Time to Kill”, it’s not appropriate for your local Sheriff Court.
Hair and makeup are very important factors to be taken into consideration because “in person” means that there will be no filters and, as you will no longer be appearing by Webex, there will be no opportunity to shut off your camera to touch up your lippy or give the hair a quick comb. Facial expressions and unguarded thoughts shall also have no place to hide……
Where to bulk buy your wardrobe was an issue most in the mind of solicitors who were going to be appearing or meeting in person for the first time, including newly qualified solicitors who have not yet had the opportunity to appear in person.
For the more mature in the profession, it was unanimously acknowledged that the capsule wardrobe may have to be changed to take into account the lack of exercise in pacing up and down to court in one’s (flat) court shoes over that very two-year period.
Choosing a doggy day care service was essential for some because your favourite furry friend and adviser can no longer accompany you to Court or meetings…..no matter how sound their advice might be.
While the above formed just some of the basis of our observations, what was a common concern within our office was that a return to “in person” can bring with it some added butterflies in the tummy but as far as we are concerned, those butterflies should never disappear because they are always the reminder that you need to be prepared, that you need to be present in the moment and constantly alert to what might be asked of you.
The butterflies never stop, and they are your friend.
Good luck to everyone from all of us!