Wednesday, 12 June 2019

A CV isn't an afterthought. It is the thrust of your attempt at employment.

Article by Marc Evan Aupiais

Lawyers are document specialists. If your curriculum vitae is not perfect, you will struggle to get a job at a law firm. A CV isn't an afterthought. It is the thrust of your attempt at employment.

When I was looking for my first job as a candidate attorney, I spent two or three months perfecting my CV, carefully looking for any spelling error, or weakness in the flow or content of my writing, and the formatting of the document. A CV to a law firm should display mastery of written English wording, effective communication, and perfect grammar. Those are your primary tools as an attorney.

I then got out a copy of Horters, and carefully emailed the directors of many firms in my area. Secretaries in law firms often throw the CVs of candidates for jobs, who walk in, in the bin, and delete those sent to them via email. Sending your CV to a secretary is thus usually a bad idea.

Your letter of motivation is likely your most important part of your CV as a new law graduate. You should make a firm want to scoop you up as an asset to them, though by showing, not telling. Listing your subjects later in your CV, (but without your marks,) can also show them you are worthwhile. Unless they are asked for, don't attach transcripts or scans of your ID and degrees. Say they are available on request.

My email had a heading stating what job I was looking for, the email explained a bit about me and my desire for a job at their firm, and then referred to the attached PDF with my letter of motivation, CV and two letters of recommendation inside of it.

I asked that if theirs was not the desk that dealt with human resources that the email be forwarded to that desk. I sent to about a dozen firms a day, until I got interviews at a few firms. Don't CC a hundred firms in your emails, send to each individually. Also, send from a professional email address.

I still got replies to my CV to be a candidate attorney, years later, when I had already qualified and been admitted as an attorney.

Saying a CV is not important, is like saying your particulars of claim or plea are not important. Your documents need to be perfect long before you argue at trial, and your CV must be top notch, so that when it gets you interviews, you are entering an interview, having already made a good impression with your accuracy and good form in document creation.

Advocates may specialise in arguing on court. Attorneys are primarily about the paperwork. If your paperwork, in the form of your application to a firm for a job, is lacking, you have missed your first opportunity to show that you have the skills to do the primary job of an attorney.

Would you rather receive a professional, polite, nicely emailed application from a candidate for a job you need done, or would you rather have a sweaty graduate, in casual wear, walk into your firm, hand your secretary a scrubby, badly drafted document, and say they demand a job? Or, worse, demand to speak to you, taking you away from your work and clients, to demand a job? There is a reason people often prefer email to phone calls, it allows them to go over what is said to them, such as why you would be an asset to their firm, at their own pace, and in comfort. Seeking a job at a law firm is best done by email.

If you want a job in law, foremost is your documentation, in getting one. Email a good CV out to a lot of firms. If you aren't getting replies, then you really do need to spend a few months perfecting your CV.

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Peace and deafening sounds

Peace and deafening sounds

Article by Marc Evan Aupiais

Have you ever truly wondered who you are, what thoughts are yours, and what is just parroted from others, friends, family, culture.

We are told to ignore our internal critic, the voices of doubt within our own minds. Yet, if we do that merely because others tell us to, we aren't thinking much at all. But what is thinking, really, truly?

I will often sit in my home office, alone, in the dark. I sit here, white noise, or calming music on, and I let my mind wonder. The same can be done in the early hours of the morning before the world awakens or late at night. Solitary, with this entity that is me.

At first, I hear nothing in my thoughts. I am silent, still waves upon an ocean. But dive with the whales and the sharks. Go deeper in, and the stillness on the surface is illusory. Currents and rip tides pull back and forth. It is so noisy, every straining worry rushing within my head, I cannot hear a thing in this deafening cacophony of competing thoughts, concerns.

Like a Great White Shark, the doubts and fears eat into me, but I do not put them out of mind. I sink deeper still. I hear them, I lend my ear to them, to my many concerns. I let myself sink deeper, still. I look with more depth, a deep dive into fear, anguish, concern. I let my mind make its painting of the future. I let my fears flow through me. I let my hopes touch upon the sword of the night, and swim towards the pieces which still remain after the fears and concerns have fed upon a frenzy.

I sink deeper still, and I look at my thoughts in depth, both fears and hopes under the microscope.

I sometimes surprise myself in conversation, whether with my own internal voice or with other people. I will say something I did not know I believed, but upon tearing it apart, I realise I really do believe it, it makes sense to me. It is easy but pointless to deny such nuanced thoughts are the real me, and I find, often, upon expressing them, they make more sense than more defensible positions, and they convince even me.

A defence mechanism of human beings is to truly believe our motives are more noble or more 'rational' than they truly are. A wise man however will not hide from the darker thoughts and resentments within. These are not overcome by suppression, and nor are our fears. We hide who we truly are, even from ourselves, for fear that the true us would become a prey item, or be chased from the village with spears, as a predator. But, however often we vocalise our false narrative within our cranium, the true us knows what we truly believe, and we would become aware of far too many more truths if we listened to it, to truly be able to risk ignoring what we actually, deep down, think.

When I have doubts, I listen, because it is me who is speaking. I softly float upon my doubts and interrogate their substance. I do the same with my hopes, I expose them to the light of my critical internal eye. I discover who I truly am, by observing myself. By seeing my behaviour, how I act, who I am in the wild, and in past scenarios. No matter how noble I may present myself to myself to be, I look at my past and the record within that, and unless something has truly changed since then, I expect I know what I really aim for in life, and oddly enough, my real motivations, what I truly hope for and fear, are far more convincing to myself and others than the noble lie my mind may otherwise make up within me.

As for those thoughts I gain from others, I can look back in my own life to see the terrible destruction many of these have wrought upon me. Ideals and oversimplified lies of the land are not often beneficial. Other thoughts of others, however, I have tested and found true. But we cannot blindly accept the thoughts we think are ours. Most are not original to us. So often I have made a deep and witty observation in my mind, only to hear someone else make it just a few minutes later. Clearly, it is not me who originated that thought, but something else, culture, perhaps. A widely read mind, or one which hears many diverse worldviews, is more likely to hold unique thoughts, as compared one with little exposure, which accepts mere opinions as fact.

I continue to sink into my thoughts, and to softly interrogate them, for the concerns which are truly mine, and upon those, I meditate and pray to my God, and also - to my own subconscious, probing and inquisitive questions, I ask, and find that thoughts emerge within me which I can interrogate. Because I know that the real me is far deeper than the voice and images I produce within my mind. The real me is hidden from me, and it is that which the conscious me desires to truly know and communicate with, and it is that me that is really in charge of my life, and which, in communication with the part I type with now, with that, it often surfaces the thoughts of my mind, and, I interrogate those thoughts, I weigh them, against truth, and the nature of my soul, of my blueprint, as I have observed myself in the history of my own memories, and the recollection of my mind, even that which is less certain, less clear, for that memory which is only subconscious.

And into this, I calmly sink. For who I am is not the vocalisation in my head, that vanity is a product of an over-busy modernity. The true you is a stranger, whom you have a lifetime to interact with and to get to know. But as long as you think you know yourself, you will never set aside the time you need to, to truly build and know your soul.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

The exodus of the professional class, and of the rich, all quietly leaving South Africa, has begun

What a lot of legal professionals might not yet understand is that tertiary industries like ours rely heavily on the primary and secondary sectors of the economy to survive. The primary sector is on life support and every day more likely to collapse. The secondary sector of the economy relies upon the primary sector of the economy to survive. The tertiary sector relies on both.

Over the last few years, running a law firm has become more expensive, and, as an industry, our services have often become more of a grudge purchase for clients, a necessary luxury fewer can afford. Many lawyers don't increase their fees with inflation anymore, knowing their clients just can't afford to pay more. But the collapse of each sector becomes more likely as each month fades into the next.

Eskom is keeping the lights on the same way many of you do when the lights go off, with diesel. A lot of us rely on government, whether deeds or masters' offices or courts for much of our livelihood. These rely on some degree of regular power supply.

Then there is the Legal Practice Act which might be regulating industry to death. The plan has also been announced by the powers that be to change the mandate of the Reserve Bank so it can print more money, affecting supply of cash in an economy without enough demand, thus causing further inflation, what Ayn Rand called theft (of citizens' income and savings) by remote control. The state, also, has plans to introduce prescribed assets, forcing pension funds to effectively make loans to it and SOEs which no one else will make. South Africa's government is three trillion in debt and is borrowing two billion rand a day to keep the cogs of state machinery turning. The sands of the hour glass are running ever faster out.

Whether our electricity prices which are at twice international norms, breaking infrastructure, taxation well beyond the Laffer curve, on the verge of collapse water treatment, industry, or the economy itself, something is likely to give. South Africa has the worst in-out investment ratio of any non-tax-haven. South Africans, per the statistics, are moving everything they can offshore, while foreigners just aren't investing in the economy.

Surveys and statistics, as well as anecdotal evidence all find our professional class is leaving our shores. Doctors say they will not stay if NHI passes, but the state continues on with it, and so many are leaving anyway, taking their essential skills with them. A lot of the attorneys I know are leaving, they just haven't announced it officially yet. Many top law firm partners and directors, and advocates are getting jobs as legal secretaries and paralegals overseas. Engineers, per media reports, are leaving the country, due to threats at gunpoint by RET forums at construction sites.

Both Price's Law and the Pareto Principle teach us, from economics, that a tiny proportion of people produce most of what is created in an economy. The ratio is incredibly skewed, with so few hyper-productive individuals creating most of a nation's wealth. This is reflected especially starkly in South Africa where just a few hundred thousand taxpayers pay the vast majority of the tax revenue of the country. When an economy hits an iceberg, those who have means are the first to put on their life jackets and jump to somewhere safer.

A disproportionate percentage of South Africans are employed by the state, and so many survive off of social grants. Yet more survive due to doing business with the state, its employees, and with recipients of social grants. As the private sector loses its most productive citizens, its revenue shrinks, and so does collectable tax. South Africa is so far beyond the Laffer curve, that any further taxation will just shrink tax revenue. As the state's debt and responsibilities continue to increase, the bedrock of private industry it sustains itself upon is heaving under a weight which could soon collapse it.

South Africans as a people have always been robust, and its attorneys have been as well.

Those of us still in the industry are still making enough to make our careers worthwhile.

However, we are sitting on a national timebomb, or rather are within a grid of dozens of bombs. Which will go off first is uncertain, but any one could set off the rest.

Your three to five year plan should probably be open to the possibility of getting your affairs in order, saving up, updating your CV, and considering closing up shop and emigrating to more certain climes, if need be.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Registering an Ante-Nuptial Contract with the Johannesburg Deeds Office

Registering an Ante-Nuptial Contract with the Johannesburg Deeds Office

A client has appeared before you, a notary public. You drafted an ante nuptial contract, which they and their spouse-to-be, and two witnesses signed in front of you; they, you, and the witnesses, initialling the bottom right of each page in black ink, and all signing in the right spot on the last page. You signed, your signature appearing in a spot: below Quod Attestor and above Before me Notary Public, and placed your stamp by it, as well.

As you already have an account with the Deeds Office, having climbed up to the 26th floor of Marble Towers, and given in the requisite documents and forms to finance, and having gone through to data collection for them to record your signature and details as a notary, I will not note that process in this piece.

You opened your protocol register (a rather expensive book which can be bought at some Waltons stores, and other stores online or elsewhere) and filled out the number of the deed, the date of your clients signing it before you, that it was an ANC, the names of the parties, and then other details you deem pertinent, under comments, and then you stored all important documents in your protocol (likely a lever arch file with non-leaching plastic flip folder style pre-punched paper sheaths in it, so no important document gets punched), which is locked away safely, along with your protocol register. The deed number in your protocol register, either starting from 1 each year or from 1 in total, corresponds to the protocol number you then enter on the ANC itself.

When the registered ANC is back from the deeds office, the first signed original is what you still keep in the protocol register, this and not the registered ANC is deemed the original. In fact, it is a signed copy of the original and not the original itself which is to be lodged at the deeds office.

It is time to lodge and register your client's ANC with the Deeds Office, on the 26th floor of Marble Towers.

Before you jump in your car, and drive to the centre of town, you need to do a few other things first. You need to get a green cover for your ANC to be placed in. On the top left corner you should have your firm name and number, and a telephone number, or your firm stamp. The rest of the front and back sides of the cover should have standard required fields and typing on them, at the right places. You should be able to buy a hundred customized green covers from specialist stationers for about five hundred rand, including delivery.

Fill out your reference number, so they know what to put in any communications to you for that ANC. By code, next to 1, say H, and put the name of the first party, a forward slash, and the name of the second party, under name of parties, under firm number, put your firm number as assigned by the Deeds Office (and emailed to you by them) when you set up your account, and under batch, say 1. Under linking, in both boxes say 1. ANCs never tend to need linking.

On the front of your ANC itself, staple on a blank sheet of A4 paper, and put your firm number on the top left of this.

You will then need to put your ANC into its own green cover.

Your cover still needs a barcode, so the deeds office can charge you for the whole thing. You need to bring with a signed letter on your firm's letterhead, signed by a director, partner, or sole proprietor of your firm. Its heading should be along the lines of 'Representatives to apply for and collect barcodes at deeds office'. The signatory should set out who they are, and their position in the firm, and state that they authorise a specific person, stating that person's full names per their government issued Identity Document and Identity Number and that they specifically authorise them to apply for and collect barcodes from the deeds office. This should be handed in at the office where barcodes are allocated, and the representative doing so must present their government issued Identity Document when collecting such. You will probably get at least a sheet with a few dozen barcodes on it. You will need to sign, and they will record which barcodes have been given to you. You don't pay anything for barcodes until they have been used for registering a document.

You place the first barcode in the set on the bottom right of the front end of your filled out green cover. For notarial work you are unlikely to need to write anything on the back cover, which should merely have the standard writing etc on it. Nothing is written on the cover on its inside, where the ANC will be placed.

Take the cover, ANC within, to the lodgement counter. They will take the cover, ANC inside, and stamp it, enter it in their system, and take it from you.

Within about 5 business days from then, if all goes well, the deed will have gone through two examiners, and be placed in your pigeon hole, having been placed into prep. You can do a deeds office tracking at the same place you got the barcodes for about R 13.00, to see where your ANC is in the process. You will need to know what the barcode number is.

Once your ANC has entered prep, it is vital you execute it within 5 days of it entering prep. So, take it to the preparation desk, and ask for permission to execute the deed there, handing it over. Otherwise, the deed will lapse and won't be registered. They will not allow you to execute on the same day as asking to execute, unless there are some special circumstances and permission granted to you. It can be a good idea to set it down for execution for the next working day.

On the execution day, sometime before 10h30, you go in, go up to floor 26 in Marble Towers, as always, and go through to preparation to get your ANC, they having authorised your execution for that day. You then go through to a small computer, where you take out your pen and fill in the date next to date on the green cover, and sign to the right of that. They scan the barcode on the ANC, and take it from you.

Within about 2 days, it may be scanned in. Within 5 working days of your executing it, if you go in, and go to the distribution desk and ask if there is anything for firm (your firm number), they should be able to give you your ANC, which they will have stapled into its cover.

Take the ANC, bring it back to your office. Scan it in for your client after you undo the staple that holds it in its cover. A notary must keep an original of every deed executed before him, in his protocol. However, practice here seems to differ at times. It is the signed original which the notary is to keep in his protocol, the registered copy from the deeds office can be given to the client.

The cover will have stamps for lodgement, execution, for each of the two examiners and their groups, its scan, and a dated stamp from the registrar of deeds on the front. On the back there may be a stamp saying 'Final Black Book' and a date.

Inside, the ANC will have a stamp stating the fee the deeds office charged you (likely R319.00), a stamp saying 'registered' with a signature and a date, and a stamp with an H and Johannesburg on it, and the H number of the year (e.g. 111111/2018) on it. Your A4 sheet should also be in the cover, likely at the back.

You will later need to pay the deeds office for each ANC you register there with them.

For the clients, a letter to be handed to their marriage officer will need to be drafted before they wed, which can be any time after they sign the ANC before you as notary.

If something is wrong or right, the best way to find out is by going into the deeds office, and checking your pigeon hole and doing deeds office tracking. You don't tend to find out how things are going with your matter otherwise.

Nothing in this piece should be relied upon as legal advice. For that, make an appointment with your attorney.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

The strange illogic in logic itself

Cause and Effect, an illogical idea, at the beginning of the universe
Poem by Marc Evan Aupiais

Tick Tock. The clock did stop.
Cause. Effect. Until the start.
A big bang, or a tiny grain of sand.
It matters not.

Go far enough back, there must always be a cause.
Something, a start, to continue to, dominoes, cause and effect.
But take infinity, call it X.
What happened before X.
What was the first cause of effect.
For something must have caused it too,
But nothing can have, there must be a first,
And this is it.

What is logic? Cause and effect.
To be logical, the foundation must be firm, it must be sound,
And that foundation must cause an effect, the specific effect, it must follow.

And yet, the entire universe is a non sequitur. It does not follow.
And neither science: cause and effect, can explain an effect without a cause,
And nor can magic: for magic is mechanical in its thinking, the precursor to science, it believed that one act, whether ritual or effective, certainly would cause another.

And whether a big bang, steady state, multiverse, or ever repeating loop, something must have brought it into being. A first knock upon the movement, the cause and effect we call time, for without energy, entropy would break the clock, even one in a circular loop. Without some outside cause for its effect, some source, all movement would stop.

What else is left? For time is cause and effect?
But then something not bound by time, must have had an effect. For, what caused X, what caused the first slight or great movement of time? The clock stops, for by its logic we know not its cause, the cause of logic, or time, of before and after, of cause and effect.

Either that, or logic, the patterns we observe as absolute, is neither universal, nor much but a precursor, like magic.
For the very first cause, logically, could not be an effect.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Commencement of the Legal Practice Act

The Law Society of South Africa and Law Society of the Northern Provinces have both sent out final messages before they dissolve. The Legal Practice Act is upon us.

Below, images of the LSNP message, followed by a quote of the message the LSSA sent out today.





Below, an advisory the Law Society of South Africa emailed out:

ADVISORY FROM THE LAW SOCIETY OF SOUTH AFRICA


Dear Colleagues

Tomorrow, 1 November 2018, will see the implementation of the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014 (with some exclusions).

Proclamation R 31 of 2018 was gazetted on 29 October 2018 proclaiming the commencement of certain sections of the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014 (LPA). It fixes Wednesday, 31 October 2018 as the date on which Chapter 2 of the LPA, with the exclusion of s 14, comes into operation and Thursday, 1 November 2018 as the date on which the rest of the LPA (with some exclusions) comes into operation (see below) and the provincial law societies are abolished. The Legal Practice Council (LPC) will begin to regulate the profession.

We, as the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA), will continue to be there for you as a voluntary body to represent, support and assist attorneys. An amendment to our constitution was signed on 29 October 2018. The Black Lawyers Association and National Association of Democratic Lawyers remain our constituent members together with provincial attorneys' associations (which replace the four provincial law societies).

Please e-mail us on LSSA@LSSA.org.za or call us on (012) 366 8800.
We urge you to ensure that your details are kept updated on our database so that you can continue to receive newsletters and advisories from us, as well as the Legalbrief LSSA Weekly on Friday mornings and De Rebus on a monthly basis, if you are a practising attorney or candidate attorney.

What happened today, 31 October 2018
Chapter 2 of the LPA has been implemented and the Legal Practice Council (LPC) has been constituted. It elected its office bearers as follows: Johannesburg attorney Kathleen Matolo-Dlepu and Johannesburg advocate Anthea Platt SC as Chairperson and Deputy-Chairperson respectively. The members of the Executive Committee are Greg Harpur SC (advocate), Trudie Nichols (attorney), Lutendo Sigogo (attorney), Jan Stemmett (attorney) and Phillip Zilwa SC (advocate).
The National Forum on the Legal Profession has been wound up.

What will happen tomorrow, 1 November 2018
The rest of the LPA will be implemented (with exclusions as listed below, including most of s 35 which relates to fees). The Attorneys Act, 1979 will be repealed and the statutory provincial law societies abolished. The LPC will take over the provincial law societies' staff and assets and commence to regulate the legal profession (attorneys and advocates).

The LPA will come into operation as follows:
Chapter 1 - Definitions, application and purpose.
Chapter 3 - Regulation of legal practitioners: This includes s 35 with the exclusion of subss 35(1), (2), (3) and (7) up to and including (12) which deal with fees for legal services. The LSSA wrote to the Justice Minister some time ago requesting the suspension of these subsections until the investigation by the SA Law Reform Commission has been completed and there has been proper consultation. This means that only subss (4) and (5) of s 35 relating to the SA Law Reform Commission investigation on fees for legal services and (6) legal fees payable by Government, will come into operation.
Chapter 4 - Professional conduct and discipline, excluding:
s 37(5)(e)(ii) - lay persons on disciplinary committees (DCs);
s 40(1)(b)(ii) and (7)(b) and s 41 - right of appeal against DCs' findings
s 42 - monitoring of disciplinary functions by the Ombud.
Chapter 6 - Legal Practitioners' Fidelity Fund
Chapter 7 - Trust money and accounting
Chapter 8 - General provisions, excluding s 93(5) - Offences relating to the Ombud
Chapter 9 - Regulations and Rules, excluding s 95(2) which deals with the rules relating to the Ombud
Chapter 10 - Part 3 - Transitional provisions; and Part 4 - Repeal of laws.

Attorneys can continue to interact with and refer enquiries to their former provincial law societies, which will be the regional offices of the LPC, at the following numbers:
Bloemfontein: (051) 447 3237
Cape Town: (021) 443 6700
Pietermaritzburg: (033) 345 1304
Pretoria: (012) 338 5800

2019 Fidelity Fund certificates
2019 Fidelity Fund Certificates are to be dealt with in terms of the requirements of the LPA and its Rules (gazetted in GG 41781 dated 20 July 2018). The application process will commence on 1 November 2018, although the new Fidelity Fund certificate online portal will be available only from 12 November 2018 on the Legal Practitioners' Fidelity Fund website at www.fidfund.co.za.

The requirements for obtaining a 2019 Fidelity Fund certificate in terms of the LPA are as follows:

The annual fee of R345 (VAT incl) must have been paid for the issuing of the certificate, as set out in Rule 48 of the LPA Rules. Timeous payment of the annual contribution is essential before application is made (refer specifically to the invoice number when payment is made to ensure the correct allocation of the amount paid);
practitioners applying for the first Fidelity Fund Certificate must submit proof of completion of Practice Management Training, subject to the provisions of Rule 27.1 of the LPA Rules;
timeous submission of the trust account audit report approved by the Council; and
the completed application is to be dealt with electronically on www.fidfund.co.za.
Dedicated staff members at the regional offices of the LPC (as above) have been made available to deal with enquiries relating to Fidelity Fund certificates.

Transitional provisions relating to candidate attorneys
Please consult the Memorandum on Candidate Attorneys currently serving under Articles of Clerkship. Read / download here.

Code of Conduct and robing
The Code of Conduct gazetted in February 2017 is not yet in operation. It will be gazetted for comment by the LPC prior to its finalisation and implementation. Please note that the provisions relating to robing in 12.18; 34.1 and 34.2, which require practitioners to robe in superior and lower courts in the same manner as they would robe in the superior courts, are thus not in force. Section 119(2) of the LPA states that

'Any -
(a) regulation made under any law referred to in subs (1) and in force immediately before the date referred to in s 120(4); and
(b) rule, code, notice, order, instruction, prohibition, authorisation, permission, consent, exemption, certificate or document promulgated, issued, given or granted and any other steps taken in terms of any such law immediately before the date referred to in s 120(4) and having the force of law, remain in force, except in so far as it is inconsistent with any of the provisions of this Act, until amended or revoked by the competent authority under the provisions of this Act.'


Regards

ANTHONY PILLAY
Acting CEO, Law Society of South Africa

LSSA Advisory 31 October 2018

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Don't kill your message, messenger!

Don't kill your message, as a messenger.

He stood at the pulpit, above the altar, bright light reflecting off his head. His hands moved in an ornate dance as he spoke, like a cricketer practising bowling, or a rather camp drag queen in a pantomime. His voice relayed a great exaggerated excitement, as he shouted into a dead-still microphone, which somehow withstood the figurative spell of his hands and shouty tone.

The priest speaking to the thousand parishioner captive audience at tonight's Roman Catholic mass, at the church I attend, for me, displayed everything I avoid doing when public speaking.

Shouting alienates your audience, and causes a fight and flight response in them - they are unlikely to remember what you said, and high frequency changes in tone and passionate hand movements distract from your message and pretty soon begin to annoy an audience when you have to present to them for any real length of time: just ask parents forced to watch children's shows.

When I was still a teenager, I remember reading a book where an aircraft was in quite a bit of trouble. The air traffic controller communicating with the person flying the plane was portrayed as having an unnaturally calm and steady voice. Emergency line operators often adopt something similar. So do attorneys and advocates who regularly frequent the courts: they have a clear, crisp voice, nearing as close to non-accented speech as they can achieve, with a mouth achieving sounds in a firm but relaxed manner.

When I was doing Practical Legal Training after university, I remember sitting through the speech of a similarly passionate, or perhaps faux passionate speaker, who shouted her way through her presentation to the class, gradually turning off almost every member of her audience, with an aggression that was not assertive. The lecturer praised her boldness and passion, while the audience was captive, but not captured or captivated.

Something you learn when often speaking before people is to throw your voice, and amplify its sound without engaging in the growling tone of voice that is the essence of shouting. A good speaker gains volume, without aggression, and passion, without force. They allow their voice and message to resonate in hearts and minds, and calmly draw their audience in, as though they were speaking to each in attendance, person to person.

The large parish I attend on Sundays rotates different priests relatively often, and I often enjoy ruthlessly judging them. A similar advantageous game is to observe politicians before parliament, such as Prime Minister's Questions in the British House of Commons.

A lot can also be gained from watching the process and proceedings before court. You can often guess the seniority of advocates by how they present. The longer they have been at the game, the softer spoken, and yet firmer in what they say, they become. A lawyer in their element will present with good volume, a magical calm, and a crisp and clear voice which is easy on the ears, even when speaking for hours at a time. The power of their words is in their argument, and they tend to feel no need to growl along with it. Many a public speaker could learn much from court attorneys and advocates in this regard.

Marc Evan Aupiais

Marc Evan Aupiais

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