Years have came and passed since I began my LLB studies and a somewhat rough and bumpy journey towards becoming a legal practitioner. After the conclusion of my bachelors degree, I only actually realized that, in reality- another journey is about to begin, and I am here to tell you about it: My first year as a C.A straight from varsity!
At the beginning, you can't help but picture the ideal working environment and an awesome career, and of course you deserve it, you are a "brilliant bright star" who just bagged an LLB honours degree, so there is no other way, you "think and believe" you are adequately prepared to enter the working environment and make it a success- but are you, really?
Well, as Winston Churchill phrased it: "some people dream of success while others wake up and work hard for it." When you start your articles, you have this thrilling and nervous feeling of what to expect. Expectations- often, they prove to be a challenge and perhaps for the meek, a good character grooming ground.
Soon (hopefully, rather than later) you realize that you are a professional that knows nothing! (well of course in your young wild heart and mind you 'think you know it all!') This is when it becomes vital for one to display the much needed commitment, diligence and resilience as you develop. You have to build a foundation with an understanding of the basic elements and processes in the legal profession.
Basically, I had to use my time to seek and acquire as much information as possible (from everyone, court clerks, office secretaries and the likes) and although it may seem quite daunting and belittling, I have found that relishing opportunities that fall outside the black and white scope of work actually enhances professional and personal character abilities.
Willingness to learn, question and accept when I don't know and do something about that is what I believe keeps me fuelled. One is thankful for the 'open-door policy' at the office, with a lot of Brainiac's behind those doors, this is particularly great given that I find myself working in a team based environment with people from varying age groups and wealth of expertise and opinions. A lesson deduced from this is to acknowledge a value of respecting varied views and sift dissenting perspectives.
Coming from a comfort zone and free range routine of campus life to a corporate setting also demanded one to differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate behaviour in the work place. Getting the hang of this is quite imperative for any C.A to get along with others because in reality, you need to be on everyone's good books: Exhibiting respect, courtesy and professionalism at all times is imperative- a lesson well learned. Of course you get those times when others don't quite get along with you, during such times, I realized that a nice bar of chocolate and a very bright sticky note may go a long way 😉.
Doing articles is fun, informative, thrilling, you get to prove yourself/stumble at times, but whatever happens, what I took away in the past year is that, although a firm setting provides an incredible opportunity to learn, train and develop- I as an individual need to in a way maximise these opportunities, take ownership of my development and try ( I mean really try) to adopt a positive attitude on a daily basis.
In conclusion, I'm enjoying being a C.A and I've came to treasure this virtue as phrased by Plato and I trust that it will help propel me to the top of my profession one day soon: " I am the wisest man alive for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing." So we keep reading the court Rules and continue learning..