There is more to learning the legal profession than can be found in books, our latest contributor of reminiscences as an articled clerk points out. ‘I joined Donnelly & Elliott of Gosport (just out of short trousers and lacking maths O-level) at 16 and was articled a fortnight after my 17th birthday on 31 July 1963,’ remembers retired partner and district judge Stephen Gold.
‘I was paid nothing for a couple of years, which seemed generous to me as another firm had previously told me that if they took me on, there would be no pay and they would want a £250 premium.
‘When I was eventually raised from nothing to £5 per week at Donnelly & Elliott I prostrated myself before my principal in gratitude. Upon returning to the office from my finals, my first assignment was to buy a loaf of sliced white bread. I was happy to do this as the training had been brilliant, not only in the law but in sexual matters where my experience was extremely limited.’
Gold’s new-found worldliness was soon to take a hit, however, along with his ego: ‘I was knocked back when I was to stand in for my principal who had gone missing for the afternoon. A refined lady who wanted advice on divorce ascended the staircase. I extended my hand to greet her whereupon she exclaimed in horror “I’m not seeing you, am I?”, turned and escaped, never to reappear.’