Getting called to the Bar marks the culmination of the almost accidental journey towards becoming a lawyer which started five years ago when I joined NUS Law School with my fellow clueless classmates (some certainly less so than others). I say accidental because I never had this burning, overwhelming desire to be a lawyer from the start (I must confess, the initial choice was Biz Ad, which was subsequently relegated to second choice) though I did put Law as my first choice after musing about it briefly.
I guess the thing about milestone events like these are that they induce a sense of nostalgia and cause one to look back on the past sentimentally, at the people and events that have brought you to where you are today. And inevitably, one always does so with a sense of wonder that can be roughly summed up as thus 'wow I actually had to do all that' and we either give ourselves a silent pat on the back or be thankful/grateful for the company and friends that helped make the journey so much more enjoyable.
I was absolutely bushed this morning when I came for the mass call at VCH due to the fact that I'd gone drinking with the erstwhile Pupil Master and a few Associates till three plus in the morning for what was officially a farewell dinner cum drinking session for one of the Associates but the PM and I ended up teasing and cajoling a very nice, SNAG (sensitive new age guy) senior Associate about his mushy ideals towards girls and relationships in general.
Which meant I only caught about three plus hours of sleep before hauling myself out of bed, bleary eyed and sleep deprived, for the call. Thankfully, I got a lift all the way home from the PM in his flashy car which was en route as he picked up his gf first, saving a bomb on cab fare in the process.
The actual Call procedure was nothing much, highly procedural and though I found myself nodding off at frequent intervals during Justice Phang's speech, the whole affair was thankfully rather short. Then the usual photo taking sessions and lunch and a movie with the family. Such that by the time I reached home around five plus, I concussed straight till ten.
People often ask if I'm excited to be called to the Bar and officially be a fully fledged lawyer. There are mixed feelings, the pay rise of course is a huge boon, work load wise, it'll certainly increase, though hopefully not unbearably so especially since we're actually really busy to start with and handling many aspects of the files/cases (drafting advice, letters, corresponding with clients, etc etc ) so we won't be totally clueless. A lot of the actual nitty gritty of court procedures and appearing before judges for different matters that only lawyers may do, we'll however certainly need to pick up and find our pace over time.
So while not being a peon anymore is without a doubt a good thing, with power and the ability to do a lot more things as a lawyer comes increased responsibilities and duties that one owes both to the court as well as your clients. It's a sobering thought and can be a considerable burden though I feel with time and good colleagues around who are willing and able to help; I'll be able to find that balance such that it becomes instinctive rather than burdensome.
The work's certainly coming in, the numerous hearings, video conferences, PTCs, etc, all of which face us when we return to work on Monday. But I think with good colleagues, a decent secretary and a positive work attitude, things are going to be just fine. Now all I need is to find the time to start doing things I've always wanted to. Like Yoga. ^^