LLVL: Attachments Are A Waste Of Time

LLVL mediumWhy most attachments are a waste of time.

When I was just starting out, I used to be so impressed by people who had done numerous attachments before commencing chambering.

I was intimidated by these diehards, who had usually done four-week attachments at various legal firms during their university breaks. All I ever was interested in doing during my breaks were sleeping, eating, going to the cinema and dossing about (in no particular order). I felt that, if I wanted to succeed, I’d surely have to work my ass off to make up for all that lost “working experience.”

As the years passed, I came to realise that time spent as an attachment counted for nought. Unless you’re a particularly dedicated person, and are lucky enough to find a good firm or lawyer to be attached to, don’t bother.

You’ll learn more useful career/life lessons at the cineplex.

In my third year of practice, the Firm took in a batch of three attachment pupils, and the partner leading my team was reluctantly assigned one to use for four weeks.

The girl was sent straight to me.

“Hiya, this is my third attachment, but the first in a corporate department, so I’m pretty excited! I’m hoping that by the time I have to apply for chambering, I’d know exactly what I want to do.”

How do you respond to that kind of eagerness?

First thought:

“I don’t see how punching, stapling, binding and photocopying will help you decide, unless you plan to read through everything you touch.”

Okay, scratch that, unacceptable response.

Second thought:

“Bloody hell what did I do to have been dumped with this eager beaver for the next four weeks?”

Third thought: “Hang on, I do have that stack of 57 company and winding-up searches I need unstapled, photocopied, scanned and ring-bound.”

“Oh hello, welcome to the Firm. Great timing, I actually do have a few very important things I need your help on…”

I’ve been on my firm’s recruitment committee for three years, and “attachment experience” in a CV honestly doesn’t make a difference to me.

So, if you’re a law student and have a bit of time to kill during the holidays, don’t bother with attachments. Go and work in a restaurant. Help out at an orphanage. Volunteer with an NGO. Travel. Take walks around the city. Get to know the people and the world around you.

Alter Ego has been a corporate lawyer in Kuala Lumpur for many years. Livin’ La Vida Loyar is a weekly semi-fictional, sorta-kinda-fact-based, non-chronological account of her experiences in the legal industry. She is writing this column anonymously because she doesn’t want people around her to know that, when she’s furiously typing on her BlackBerry in their presence, she is actually taking notes for this column! Plus of course there’s all this mumbo-jumbo about client confidentiality and getting disbarred. If you have an interesting story to share from your experiences as a lawyer, your encounters with a lawyer, or if you have a question about lawyers, please email her at [email protected]. Confidentiality is guaranteed. She thinks tweeting should be left to the birds. As all fiction is to some extent autobiographical, you may think she’s writing about you. She’s not. Jangan perasan. You may also think you know her. You don’t. Jangan kay-poh.

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Posted on 16 February 2011. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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