Dear Amicus Agony,
One of my favourite subjects in law school was criminal law because it seemed grounded in reality and the least esoteric out of all the modules we had to study. I am now training in a general litigation department of a mid-sized firm, and I am somewhat dismayed that it does not have a strong criminal practice.
I feel am learning a lot in the area of commercial litigation, and generally I am getting along with my partners and colleagues. However, since I will soon be transitioning from being a trainee to a full-fledged associate, should I switch to a firm that is more specialized in criminal law work so I can pursue my passion?
Passionate About Crime
Dear Passionate About Crime,
If at all possible, you may wish to have a taste of criminal law practice before deciding whether you really wish to make the leap to a firm with a more established criminal law practice. For example, you may want to find out if any of your seniors, or partners in your firms have taken up any CLAS matters that you may assist on.
If you do feel strongly about pursuing a career in criminal law, the obvious solution might be to consider a move after your training to a law firm with a more established criminal law practice. There are, in fact, many lawyers who practice both criminal and commercial litigation, and you may find yourself a better fit in these firms.
Dear Amicus Agony,
I feel such guilt whenever I go on holiday for more than a week. I can’t peel myself away from my e-mails and often end up working on holiday to the annoyance of my friends and family. Sometimes, I feel like being away from my desk gives me more stress!
Can you give me a fresh perspective on going on holiday? I often feel like I am letting my team or clients down.
Dear Can’t Relax,
If you are working in a team with other associates, you may want to try a loose buddy-system where you can cover each other when either of you are away. You might find that such an arrangement will help you banish the idea that you are “imposing” on your colleagues.
Naturally, you should do your part to make covering your files easy for your colleagues, by keeping the files up to date and handing over before your break.