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Three’s good company for new edition

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Cite as: (2004) 78(9) LIJ, p. 29

The third edition of a respected and widely read legal text sees a new name – and a new generation – added to the duo of familiar authors.

When Emilios Kyrou worked on the first edition of what would become Lewis & Kyrou’s Handy Hints on Legal Practice in the early 1980s he was a summer research assistant at the Law Institute.

Almost 20 years later – and with a third edition of the book in the planning stage – Mr Kyrou, now 44 and a partner at Mallesons Stephen Jaques, and former County Court Judge Gordon Lewis, 70, decided it was time for a fresh injection of youth.

Enter 26-year-old solicitor Albert Dinelli.

The addition of Mr Dinelli as an author proved the old adage that good things come in threes.

Mr Dinelli became the third author and represented a third generation for what was to be the third edition of the respected text, released in April this year, aimed at helping lawyers answer the questions that frequently crop up during daily practice.

Mr Kyrou said the addition of Mr Dinelli allowed the authors to tap into the entire spectrum of current experiences, from law students and articled clerks to partners and the Bench.

“I felt that we needed someone younger to keep in touch with what the articled clerks and first years were concerned about, what law graduates were aspiring to and what the needs were basically.

“Albert is a bundle of energy and amazing enthusiasm and it worked like clockwork,” Mr Kyrou said.

Mr Dinelli was a solicitor at Mallesons Stephen Jaques when Mr Kyrou approached him about working on the third edition. He had read earlier editions of Handy Hints and decided that to be a co-author would be a great thrill.

He said the experience of working on the new edition had given him fresh insights into the law.

“I must admit, the actual process of writing the book with Emilios and Gordon taught me many more handy hints and hopefully those have been imparted during the process.

“I found that the process of writing from a personal level was wonderful, to take an idea we wanted to convey to an audience and to be able to put that in a way that was readable and technical where necessary.”

The trio first met in September 2002 and worked solidly on the book until completion in April 2004. However, Mr Dinelli completed his work by August 2003 to fulfil a commitment to study at Oxford.

The result of their industrious approach is a revised and significantly expanded version of the 1985 and 1993 editions.

The first edition emanated from a series of articles Mr Lewis wrote for the Law Institute Journal [LIJ] and The Sun when he was Institute CEO in the early 1980s.

He called on Mr Kyrou, then his summer research assistant, to help him turn the articles into a book.

Mr Lewis said the genesis for the book was an attempt to breach the shortfall between what law students learned at university and what they would encounter in practice.

“We thought that was a significant gulf and we still think there’s a significant gulf,” he said.

“There is a reluctance on the part of some universities at least to acknowledge that people do law courses for the purpose of practising law.”

While the original audience was young lawyers, the book has become a valuable resource for many experienced lawyers, especially suburban, rural and regional practitioners looking for quick and accurate guidance on everyday issues.

The subsequent editions of the book have seen a little less of the folksy humour that characterised the first edition and a more academic approach to problems.

This has led to the book expanding from 150 pages in the first edition to 504 pages in the third edition.

Mr Kyrou said this expansion reflected the dramatic changes in legal practice during the past 20 years. New chapters in the third edition include the use of technology, document destruction and independence from clients.

Despite his 20-year involvement with the book, Mr Lewis said the experience of compiling each edition was still greatly satisfying.

“We have created something that we are very proud to always be associated with in years to come. I have had a lot of young lawyers, but also older lawyers, stop me and say that this is the only entertaining textbook they have ever read on the law.”

For a review of Lewis & Kyrou’s Handy Hints on Legal Practice, go to page 72 of this edition of the LIJ http://www.liv.asn.au/journal/archive/78-09-Sep2004/78-09-Sep2004-inprint.html .

Jason Silverii

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