Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Jedi Master and The Apprentice

If you plan to be enrolled as an advocate and solicitor, you must first be called to the Bar. 
Hah?? 
“Enrolled as an advocate and solicitor”?? 
“Called to the Bar”???
Ok. Ok. 
Let me explain as I am very sure that my Sis-In-Law would need the explanation as she sent me a congratulatory comment on my Facebook saying that she does not know what it means but she is sure that it must be something good! Haha. Funnyla la you Tia!
Let’s say you want to be a lawyer in Malaysia. You go to a local university to “read” law (you can also use study but if you say “read” law it is better). After completing your Bachelor of Laws or in Latin it is Legum Baccalaureus (LLB), you will have to complete your pupilage at any law firm for nine months. It is also called chambering It means attaching yourself to a senior lawyer (someone who has been practicing for more than 7 years) at legal firm or chambers. Majority of the Malaysian lawyers have done their nine month chambering. It is meant to expose you to the work life of a lawyer.
If you manage to get a good Master, one who is concerned with your future, he will guide you through the necessary stuff that is not in any text book or taught in any universities. It is the real lifetime experience that is very important in the legal profession. If you are able to tap into someone else’s experience, you can bypass the time needed for you to gain that wisdom based on your own experience.
The reason why you must complete your pupilage is so you can be listed (or enrolled) as an Advocate and Solicitor at the High Court Malaya or Sabah and Sarawak, (depending where you did your chambering.)
In other words, to be a private practitioner or a lawyer at the private sector, you must complete your nine months chambering under a specific Master.
I call it the Legal Star Wars. It is sort of like the Apprentice Jedi and his Master. Like Anakin Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi. You start as a Padawan. Once you complete the training, you can be a Jedi. When you get even older, have matured properly and gained more experience, you can be considered as a Jedi Master which entitles you to take a Padawan as your apprentice. Wow! Best kan?
However, there is one alternative to be doing chambering. That is if you join the Judicial and Legal Service (“The Service”) and be a Government lawyer. If you manage to be selected to join The Service, after one year, you are entitled under the Legal Profession Act to be exempted from doing your nine months chambering to be enrolled as an Advocate and Solicitor. (You are also paid more as you can get a normal salary instead of a chambering allowance... Believe me, beza dia macam langit and bumi!) Well, that was the route that I decided to take. 
Praises be to Him that I was selected to join The Service. 
If I recall the online digits carefully, there were about 2000 plus applications and only 80 plus were finally selected. Out of the 80 plus, only around half were fresh intakes (which included me) and the other half was formerly contract officers. That was after waiting for a whole year (from July 2006 to July 2007).
Thus sometime in 2008, I started to write some letters requesting that I be exempted from doing my chambering. The Attorney General himself will sign a certificate saying that I am a fit and proper person and that I am entitled to be exempted from completing my chambering and that I can be enrolled as an Advocate and Solicitor. I got that certificate early 2009. Then I filed my papers at the High Court at Kuala Lumpur. I had to complete the necessary forms and finally got my Long Call date on 7th May 2010.
It is not that I am planning to leave The Service or anything at the moment but having been listed as an Advocate And Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya is certainly the dream of most lawyers. You may not want to practice (and have to pay the expensive practicing fees!) but having the certificate is like a consolation prize. It’s like the lightsaber.
You may not need to use it but to a Jedi, that is the most important thing in life!

So Tia, I have just gotten my Lightsaber. 
I'll explain more about the ceremony next time. :)
Blog adjourned.

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