The Advocacy by SGT Law Firm team is made up of a variety of senior counsel-level and newly-called Solicitor Advocates with experience. It is common for a solicitor advocate at SGT Law Firm to serve as junior counsel in a case, with the senior being either a QC from Advocacy by SGT Law Firm or a member of the Faculty of Advocates. Solicitor advocates at SGT Law Firm typically take on matters as sole counsel. Since junior counsel’s job often happens in the background and it isn’t always clear what exactly their function entails, we felt it would be beneficial to share our experience serving as junior counsel in various legal matters.
The Initial Task
Because solicitor advocates and advocates have extremely demanding schedules, recruiting junior counsel early in a case will frequently enable work to be completed more quickly and effectively. The first initial draft of any pleadings or notes are often anticipated from them, along with the completion of any necessary preliminary legal research. Senior counsel can now concentrate their efforts on the action’s problematic aspects.
How does a Junior counsel assist a Senior counsel?
The junior counsel plays a crucial role when a case moves closer to proof or argument. Lawyers are already aware of the extremely short and severe deadlines for submitting witness statements and productions. When a junior counsel is instructed in a case, more resources from the counsel team are made available to evaluate those papers in the knowledge that junior counsel will be discussing any significant issues highlighted with senior counsel in the background.
In the days leading up to a proof, for instance, is an excellent time to teach junior and senior counsel. Senior counsel can focus on drafting lines of Examination in Chief and Cross Examination while junior counsel drafts and negotiates joint minutes, bundles, and witness statements. This may indicate that the opposing side will begin the case “on the back foot” because they only have one advocate who cannot keep up with the case’s pace. While the senior counsel completes the preparations for leading the evidence the following day, junior counsel can continue to build momentum in the case by preparing the skeletal submission, making evidence notes, and reading case law.
Junior counsel in court
Senior counsel is going to confront witnesses and present arguments to the Court at extensive hearings. Junior counsel plays an important role once more in making sure the statement made is thorough and convincing. As witnesses are being questioned, this usually entails helping the senior counsel find the proper materials or references so they may concentrate more on drafting their questions. Legal concerns that weren’t foreseen beforehand frequently come up during a trial or argument. Senior counsel can continue to concentrate on the main hearing while junior counsel can go investigate these points thanks to the instructions they received. Junior counsel will assist with the initial drafts of any joint minutes or written submissions, similar to how they did with the preparation of pleadings.
Not every case justifies the hiring of both senior and junior counsel. However, where this option is available, there are relevant advantages for instructing solicitors and, ultimately, clients at an early stage.