I enjoyed ‘My first day in court’ by Marilyn Stowe.
I was a newly qualified solicitor and my first case as an advocate was in the local county court acting for a claimant, an estate agent, who was claiming a commission fee.
I stood before the judge and said ‘I act for the claimant’. To my astonishment, the judge turned his chair, looked at the wall and said ‘I hear a voice but I cannot see anyone’. I turned to the solicitor next to me and asked ‘what is going on?’ He told me to get into the witness box.
I did so and the judge turned around and told me he had never been so insulted because my wing collar was incorrectly arranged.
I was told to go to the robing room, where the clerk helped me fix my wing collar. I then returned to court and was told to wait until my case was called.
The judge only gave me one half of the claim. I should mention that this was in 1967, so I am sure that county court judges now would not treat young advocates so harshly.
The following day, before attending the same county court, I asked my wife to fix my wing collar correctly. I went on the underground to Baker Street where my firm was situated, and to my astonishment everybody was standing up and bowing down to me, obviously thinking I was a priest.
For some time, whenever I travelled on the underground, I thought I would wear a wing collar, but not wishing to bring the solicitors’ profession into disrepute, I discarded that idea.
It may interest you to learn that my career as an advocate was very short-lived.
John C. Miller, partner, Miller Clayton, Stanmore