Dear Amicus Agony,
I am a Newly Qualified lawyer and I am stressed out and really need to take a break from work. I have quite a number of days of leave left and I am desperate to take a break and clear my leave. However, as my team has a number of upcoming trials to handle, it does not seem I would be able to take some time off without negatively affecting my deadlines. I am also worried how my bosses will think of me should I request to take leave during this period.
Stressed out Associate
Dear Stressed out Associate,
You often hear that practice is a marathon and not a race; therefore, if you wish to be in practice for the long haul, it is important to take breaks when you need to and avoid burn-out. If you are in litigation, you should be able to anticipate your trial dates and court dates in advance. Take this time to plan your holidays. You can book your holidays earlier in advance either before or after any period where you anticipate a heavy workload. Whilst it is inevitable that you have less control over your own time when you are still a junior, it should become easier over the years.
Finally, communication is also important and is key to any relationship. Your bosses should understand that you are also human and any reasonable firm with a healthy working culture should to allow their employees to take breaks whenever necessary. However, to avoid placing unnecessary burdens on your team, you should inform them in advance if you need them to stand in for you during the period when you are away. In the same vein, you could also offer to stand in for them when they are on their holidays.
Dear Amicus Agony,
I am a junior associate in a law firm and whenever I make mistakes in my work, my boss will comment that I will be replaced by Artificial Intelligence (AI) soon. I am worried about my job, especially since I am going to get married and wish to start a family soon.
Dear Worried Associate,
It is essential to recognise that artificial intelligence is a tool that can enhance and streamline your legal practice and work rather than replace you. Think Lawnet or Lexis Nexis on steroids, and document reviewing / proofreading machines. Whilst not quite there yet, AI would certainly be able to assist you with the more mundane tasks you would be happy not to do. However, this does not mean that AI will be able to replace lawyers in the future.
As lawyers, we are experts in communication; we communicate our client’s positions to opposing counsel and to the Court, in business transactions and to regulatory bodies to help achieve our client’s objectives. We think of and come up with creative solutions and strategies. We understand that our clients are humans too and reassure and help them through tough times. We provide that human factor that an AI will find difficult to replicate (at least in the present and near future).
In Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon’s speech during the Mass Call 2023, he concluded that the profession is undergoing disruption and transformation due to the advances in technology but such technologies will also offer many opportunities for growth and development.
Therefore, you do not have to be worried that you are about to be replaced by AI.