November 2021 | Sharon Lacy | Barrister, Foley's List
My favourite part of joining the bar...
Was becoming my own master and agent of my own future.
In the beginning I enjoyed flying around the metropolitan and regional Magistrates’ courts, swapping ideas and sharing information with other lawyers I ran into. More recently I have taken pleasure in mentoring young women solicitors and barristers, talking about their case strategies, ethical problems and career plans.
I have always appreciated the diversity of people I meet through working as a criminal law advocate. I have a special interest in theatre and find my clients are often extraordinarily rich characters, living lives that I would never otherwise have had a window into. It is a privilege to represent someone in their darkest hour.
I am most proud of...
- The times that I felt like I really stuck up for someone who wasn’t equipped to stick up for themselves;
- Re-invigorating my career after I had time out to have kids and study theatre; and
- Finding ways to manage the unpleasant parts of the job (and in criminal law there is a few).
My tips to those wanting to enhance their advocacy skills are...
- Talk less and listen more. This applies in court - to the way you ask questions, and make submissions. Be pithy and pointed and avoid pompous reverential phrases. It also applies out of court – in negotiations, client conferences and in conversations with colleagues. You learn a lot more by listening to the thoughts of others than you do by regaling them with your own wisdom.
- Practise in your mind how things might play out in court. The more prepared you are for any eventuality, the more agile you will be.
- Be aware of everything going on in the courtroom. It is a stage and the judge and jury can see everything. Cases can be won and lost on subtle nuances. You are at a disadvantage if you are not aware of what influences might be affecting the decision-maker.
My favourite fictional character is...
June Osborne from The Handmaid’s Tale. She is so tough, but also tender. She is brave, but flawed.