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Golden Gavel 2021: a golden opportunity to showcase your skills or to just have a laugh

Golden Gavel 2021: a golden opportunity to showcase your skills or to just have a laugh

By Sylvie Alston

Young Lawyers Young Persons 


Professional Brand

Building a professional brand is crucial for young lawyers. It has not been easy as most people are working remotely and in-person networking events are limited. Some young lawyers might feel concerned they won’t be able to participate due to limits of COVID-19 safe practices and therefore miss out on critical networking opportunities.

By registering as a competitor in the Golden Gavel, young lawyers can show and remind others in their organisation or firm that they are committed and willing to take on new challenges.

Young lawyers shouldn’t be deterred if they are relatively new to the profession, haven’t yet spoken publicly or determined the focus of their professional brand. The Golden Gavel is the perfect introductory public speaking opportunity as it is not just about showcasing one’s knowledge of legal principles, it’s about making others laugh.

While the competition might put some young lawyers out of their comfort zone, those that accept the challenge show initiative and flexibility. For the winner, it is also a chance to advertise their brand at a national level.

New Skills

I’m sure past Golden Gavel competitors agree that the competition teaches invaluable skills. The challenge each competitor faces is not too dissimilar to what a young lawyer is likely to face in practice when given less than 24-hours notice to attend a pre hearing conference by video link, to present a training session or to meet with a client.

Learning how to be succinct in one’s oral arguments is an enviable skill and one that is coveted among members of the profession.

Advocacy skills are unsurprisingly essential in everyday practice, but what about comedy skills? Being humorous at times will be inappropriate, but humour can help lawyers think more creatively and create more engaging and compelling presentations in the future.

Ironically, it can also help young lawyers be taken more seriously as it shows employers that they can do a different job and are aware of the firm or organisation’s business needs.

Young lawyers can also expect to meet new members of the profession through a shared interest in comedy. Humour definitely will boost young lawyers’ confidence to participate in future networking events.

Be Inspired

Not all young lawyers will be drawn to registering as a competitor, and that’s okay. LIV members can register as online spectators to see competitors battle it out in person at the LIV offices.

Although it might be harder to network online, it is not impossible. Young lawyers can reach out to each other before, during and after the event – there is no better ice-breaker than to mention a fellow young lawyer’s Golden Gavel speech.

Young lawyers may also want to support their competitor of choice by sharing their awesomeness on social media or by shouting them a caffeinated beverage in the lead up to the competition.

The practice of law is at times stressful and young lawyers deserve a night of laughs with colleagues and friends. If young lawyers want to be inspired, they will be hard pressed to find a more entertaining and uplifting event than the Golden Gavel Competition.

Sylvie Alston is a member of the YL Editorial Committee.

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