Way back when..

I was thinking about the course of my public service career again due to the whole 14 years thing. I actually began in law in the mid to late 1980's in a very small legal firm doing my articles and I think I lasted in that particular office about one month.

I always thought that it might have been because of my wearing Diors "Poison" to work. To wear that perfume was to make quite a statement but hey that's what I remember the eighties were all about - huge shoulder pads, big earrings and big hair so why not some larger than life perfume. It was particularly wrong for this office however which was dead.dead.dead. I seriously couldn't believe how quiet it was there no one laughed or talked they whispered and probably about my perfume.

I think my wearing that perfume woke my boss up and he didn't like it because not much later I got called in by him to discuss my future. He was quite Dickensian in character - skinny with a hook nose and quite pasty and grey. He suggested that we should part ways and I couldn't have agreed with him more.

So two weeks later I fronted up to a government office and after a short interview with a lovely English man who declared that he wasn't interviewing me for leader of the world I became a Para-Legal.

I loved it there it was very vibrant place to work because of a number of people but particularly one of the lawyers who I shall call Felix who was also gay. Felix requested that for cases we were to colour coordinate for televised walk-ins outside the court , once inside the court we were to sweep in and sashay to our side of the bar table.

Another character from that office was a guy who ultimately became the lead singer of Powderfinger. He was a young funny guy who deferred from his first year of uni to be our office boy. He would lead a group of us at lunch time to various hotels around Brisbane to watch his guitar teacher and take us for sessions at the Royal Exchange (R.E) in Toowong where we would drink bourbon and cokes and try and solve his love life problems.

He was also often my driver as I didn't have my licence and I can recall that many times he would make drive around the block one more time to hear the end of a song. He was such a sweetie - I saw him last year in a chinese restaurant in the Valley and I just couldn't bring myself to say hello - I knew if I did approach him it would really about the fun times we had at the DPP and not about him fronting Powderfinger but I am just not the type of person to approach people who have a modicum of a celebrity profile.

On the other side of the coin there were some really really serious lawyers in this organisation and I learned that there are some lawyers who believe that every individual should be prosecuted for one thing at one stage in their lives. I am from the school of thought that believes in 'prosecutorial discretion' and that a lesson can be learned without the need to always proceed to conviction.

I spent a lot of time instructing barristers there and seriously considered becoming a barrister myself - and I certainly spent the first half of my career as an advocate. I got to see some of the best criminal barristers at work given that some defendants could afford to buy the best legal defence they could.

I loved watching a particularly good cross examination where you could see the witness being lead down the path and then suddenly find themselves falling into a camouflaged pit and watch them flail helplessly - it was quite compelling and entertaining even if they were prosecution witnesses.

My role was to take notes at the bar table and analyse and collate evidence and be the Sale of the Century Girl. If anything needed to be handed up to the Magistrate or Judge I usually had to do the tooing and frooing ensuring that everyone got a good look at the exhibit.

After spending a year there and then a year at Legal Practice (play school for graduate law students wanting to become Solicitors) I returned there and took an instructing Solicitors role in quite a big case. Unfortunately by then, Felix and I had fallen out and he never ever forgave me for my behaviour after a few drinks where I gave him the evil eye. I admit it was mostly my fault being young, impulsive and immature though it was behaviour he was equally capable of exhibiting. I had to spend the entire case which went for 4 weeks with him only speaking to me when absolutely necessary. At the end of the case we had the mandatory celebratory lunch, given Felix still wouldn't speak to me it was entirely awkward.

In my second stint at there I ended doing some of my own court appearances mainly in Magistrates Court no hearings but quite a few callovers and pleas which I enjoyed. It was not the sort of jurisdiction where people generally went to prison except for the occasional major fraud.

I ended up leaving there to go to London in the early 90's with my boyfriend who would later become my husband. I will leave that experience for another post.


At 10:07 am, Blogger OLS said...

I was going to reply to your comments on my blog in those comments, but blogger is playing funny buggers with me, so I'll respond here for now.

It's funny how nearly everyone I come across in Brisbane has some sort of connection to either Powderfinger, Custard or both. I used to be friendly with the guys from Webster who shared rehearsal rooms and a cricket team with Powderfinger. So I met Bernie Fanning and Darren Middleton a couple of times at their gigs. My experience of Mr Fanning was quite different to yours - Powderfinger were just starting to get big and he was a bit stand-offish. On the other hand, Darren was just lovely.

Re the whole selection panel thing - I've only been on a couple of them, but have also discussed them with a couple of mates who've been on them. I've only been in the public service for a couple of years. I'm currently on a PO5, but it's a temp position that I'm in for this year and I don't know if it will continue. Or even if I want it to. I'll figure that out next year I guess.



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