What is a Commitment to Training for Lawyers?

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Bill DoogueThe article What is a Commitment to Training for Lawyers? is written by Bill Doogue, Director, Accredited Criminal Law Specialist, Doogue + George Defence Lawyers.

Bill is a director of the operations of Doogue + George. He has been an accredited criminal law specialist ever since 1998 and has over 30 years of experience in criminal defence.

Over the years, Bill's legal expertise has allowed the firm to represent numerous clients - including high ranking church officials, state and federal politicians, as well as huge corporations which sometimes involve foreign jurisdictions. His excellence in the field earned him a Law Institute of Victoria Service Award in 2013 and the title of Preeminent Criminal Defence Lawyer in the Doyle’s Guide 2023.


Chairs for Training for LawyersPeople often ask me about our training for lawyers. I generally say that we consider it one of the most important things that we do, as a firm. We are committed to the concept that a lawyer coming here will always be improving their skills. If a lawyer leaves the firm, they leave as a better lawyer than when they arrived.

I think training is vital because the role of a solicitor requires us to be highly skilled so that we can do our jobs on behalf of our clients effectively. We work with our clients from the beginning – we understand them, and understand their case. It is our responsibility to determine the path it takes. That means developing and working the case strategy, and preparing the defence. We have seen many other solicitors act as file minders before they pass the matter to Counsel to figure out the defence. That is not how it should be, and that is not how we operate. Cases are won by hard work and preparation. If the strategy is not developed before trial, there’s no amount of barristerial charm that can reliably overcome that and produce a win. We are not in the business of relying on luck.

It is vanishingly rare for a case to be lost where you have put the work in to prepare a matter properly and are confident that your defence is strong. We only use barristers we have confidence in and expect that they will not make cases worse. As we say here “Solicitors win cases and barristers are the tools we use”. We work closely with Counsel and the client through the whole process. This is part of what makes our role as solicitor so important, and rewarding.

Now I understand that some may read all of that and say “Well that is some fine twaddle he is talking and I bet they do not train much more than others, they just say they do”.

We started the year with a full day conference on criminal law in QLD with our Australian Defence Lawyer Alliance friends. All our lawyers attend that conference each year which rotates through the states. That conference covered:

So, I thought I would list what our training program for our lawyers was in the second half of the year in 2022. So that I can not be accused of stealing other people’s thunder, specific responsibility for training is with Josh Taaffe and Kristina Kothrakis. It is an important responsibility to us and is one of the 6 set topics each month at our partner’s meeting.

I note, before you read the list, that there is other more ad hoc training that happens through the year and Josh Taaffe has also been doing weekly one on one training with lawyers starting in the last two months staff in recent times.

  • 21 June 2022 – Advocacy training – plea making exercise
  • 24 June 2022 – Jade training
  • 5 July 2022 – Advocacy training – plea making exercise
  • 12 July 2022 – Advocacy training – workshopping a difficult plea
  • 22 July 2022 – Advocacy training – plea making exercise
  • 26 July 2022 – Training – Court room etiquette and advocacy skills
  • 2 August 2022 – Police powers – Search and seizure
  • 9 August 2022 – Advocacy training – plea making exercise
  • 16 August 2022 – Advocacy training – plea making exercise
  • 19 September 2022 – Training – Execution of search warrants – attendance by lawyers
  • 27 September 2022 – Advocacy training – plea making exercise
  • 3 October 2022 – Training – County Court Drug Court
  • 11 October 2022 – Advocacy training – plea making exercise
  • 18 October 2022 – Training – Trial preparation for solicitors – Week 1
  • 25 October 2022 – Advocacy training – plea making exercise
  • 8 November 2022 – Training – Trial preparation for solicitors – Week 2
  • 15 November 2022 – Training – Trial preparation for solicitors – Week 3
  • 22 November 2022 – Advocacy training – plea making exercise
  • 29 November 2022 – Training – Trial preparation for solicitors – Week 4
  • 6 December 2022 – Advocacy training – plea making exercise
  • 13 December 2022 – Trial preparation for solicitors – Week 5

And so, if any of you have got this far in this blog hopefully you will have the sense that training is something we take incredibly seriously and see as a powerful tool for making our lawyers better. And as we all know, better lawyers means better results for our clients – which is ultimately what we are all striving for.
 
 
Date Published: 15 December 2022
 
 

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