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Being a judge's associate

Being a judge's associate

By James O'Hara


Widely accepted as one of the most desirable opportunities available to law graduates and lawyers, yet rarely is the role accurately understood. An associateship is one of the most rewarding and desirable opportunities available to law graduates and lawyers. The associate's work varies between courts, and even more so between judges. The same associate's day to day work varies dramatically. No two days are the same. However, the role is principally comprised of some key tasks. Research. First, as you might expect, associates research and draft memoranda concerning a wide range of legal issues. However, research is not always confined to what the law "is". If a matter raises an open question, research may extend to what the law "should be" – which is both stimulating and a privilege to be a part of that process. The thrill that a judge is interested in your research and opinion never wanes. Drafting. Second, you prepare and execute various legal documents, being authorised under various legislation to do so. For example, an associate may draft bail and surety undertakings, remand warrants and witness affidavits. Few other roles are able to offer such a high level of responsibility and technical development at such an early stage of your career.

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