Lexcursions – The Adventures of Anthony Jucha: February Edition
February 7, 2011 Leave a comment
‘Reinvent Your Career’ was the theme of a recent expo at the Sydney Convention Centre, promising representatives from “organisations excited to meet matureage career transitioners”. I set off to find out just how excited they would be to meet me, in the guise of a lawyer who had been forced into the ultimate career transition.
“I’ve just lost my practising certificate.”
The recruiter from ASIS was still excited to meet me.
That’s great,” she said, shaking my hand. “Half our intake last year were lawyers.
“An ex-lawyer,” I corrected.
“It really doesn’t matter – so long as the issue was nothing criminal.”
“No. Not as yet.”
“Then we really don’t care. You can still be a spy.”
I promised to apply and, with a confident strut, bee-lined to the police.
“Excuse me, sir,” I said to a moustache-twiddling man, “could I be a copper?”
He started placing brochures in my hand.
“I used to be a lawyer,” I explained, “but they took my practising certificate away.”
He paused, mid-twiddle, with a brochure aloft: “You still … have your law degree?”
“They can’t ever take that from me!”
“Methinks,” he said, “you should be a police prosecutor.”
“I wouldn’t need a practising certificate?”
“You don’t even need a degree. And you’ll only ever work a 38-hour week.”
“Is that why they lose so often?”
But winning isn’t everything, or so we agreed. And I could see how letting bad guys get away with it could be just as gratifying as getting them off. But, surely, I thought as I ambled over to the army, nothing could be as fun as blowing them up.
“I was actually in the Army Reserve once,” I said to the recruiter. “But I dropped out. Is that a problem?”
“You weren’t blackballed, were you?”
“From the army, no. Only from law.”
“That’s okay, then.”
“So you’ll take a lawyer who’s lost his practising certificate?”
“Mate, most in the armed services never had that much to lose.”
Next, my appointment with a career counsellor. Sitting down, I explained my situation. The guy was visibly shocked. So much so that I felt embarrassed.
“I know … I know,” I said, “so, how do you help someone like me find a new career?”
“Well, what do you like to do?”
“I like to write.”
“What about risk management? That’s a growing field. You could write procedure manuals,” he said with an air of satisfaction.
“What? That sounds worse than law. Surely, you can do better than that. You must have counselled some other lawyers?”
“Two,” he said.
“Great, so where did those two end up?”
“Imaginative. Were they happy?”
“One was. She moved from family law into commercial. The other one …”, he said, trailing off.
“Let me guess: the other way around?”
“No comment,” he said. “What sort of law did you practise?”
“Commercial,” I said.
I left my counselling session feeling glum and decided to cheer myself up with a free treatment from the Nutrimetics stand.
“Oh, you’ve lost your practising certificate, you poor thing,” said the woman as she sprayed and rubbed my hands. This was more like it. “One of our girls is married to a lawyer. I’ll call her over.”
She did, and, as I learned the husband’s name, I felt my hands droop. I know the lawyer. And I know he knows me. We share a mutual client – my most important one.
“Do you know him?” asked the lawyer’s wife.
“I don’t think so,” I lied.
“The poor thing’s lost his practising certificate,” said my helpful hand-masseuse.
“Oh dear, perhaps my husband could help you out with a job as a paralegal or something,” said the wife. “What did you say your name was?”
“Here, he’s filled out his details on our form,” volunteered my hand-helper.
And with that, I escaped the expo, later to receive endless spam about skin products, a bemused call from my colleague and mercifully, as yet, not a murmur from my client.
By Anthony Jucha
Anthony is a lawyer and the author of Smokeball’s Commercial Precedents.