Wednesday, January 10, 2018


Not really keeping this blog up to date anymore, but here's where you can find me these days:
- Twitter: @jcguan
- where I experiment with flowcharts to diagram legal principles.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

An update

I just realized it's been more than 3 years since I last posted.

As an update:
- I did survive my internship. I was sworn in as a lawyer. I practiced for a few months as a lawyer.
- I decided law was not for me.
- I found a job doing web related stuff for a network of law libraries.

I am now much happier and go to bed at a reasonable hour.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Week 17 and losing track

I have apparently received my own email address at our firm. Unfortunately I have not been able to confirm or log in, as the change is supposed to take some time to take effect.

* * *

Went to court for a civil case. First time doing that, as our firm usually does family law. Civil cases have the role call at 2.16, but it turns out the greffier was the one I usually see in 2.17. Woot, familiar!

The case was a bit complicated, and we only got our mandate yesterday, so I had a day to get up to speed.

Met the lawyers for the opposing parties. One of them looked a bit like Kent Nagano. It was surreal.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Week 16

It's been quiet these days at the office. The dreaded 6-day trial isn't happening, as the file is being settled. Most files do get settled before the trial, and judges are generally happy when you can figure things out by yourselves.

On the other hand, I've been kept busy running to the courthouse almost daily since Thursday last week, trying to get a divorce certificate.It takes 30 days before the courthouse issues a divorce certificate. This is because you have 30 days to appeal judgments, which means a divorce ruling isn't "final" until the appeals deadline has passed.

At any rate, we needed this divorce certificate NOW. Checking the court plumitif showed that the certificate had been granted, so I was promptly dispatched to the courthouse to pick it up.

Of course, nothing is simple, and at the Courthouse, I was informed that the note means a divorce certificate has been approved to be issued (which was last week), but it hasn't been made yet.

OK, well, I need it urgently, so is it possible to have it quickly, pretty please?

It turns out that the lady who does them is pretty busy, but it'll be ready by the middle of the next week. Can I talk to the lady? Actually, she just left.

It was 3:50 PM.

That was Thursday of last week.

On Friday, I made a trip again. This time, the lady in question was absent.

Monday afternoon, courthouse again. Oh, she was there this morning, but left for an appointment. Can anyone else help me? No, she's the ONE person who prints the certificates.

Tuesday, I decide to stay in the office and give her a call. Calling her extension brings me to her voicemail. I call the general line for that service counter, hoping to talk to someone who can get her one the phone. Lo and behold, she's the one answering! Can she help me?

No, glitch on the computer system, she can't access the court record. Ugh.

Wednesday. I go there. She's not there. Again.

Finally Thursday morning, I get a call. I got my divorce certificate!! Would I like to have it mailed?


Saturday, March 09, 2013

Week 14: TGIF, after 12 days of work

Today was actually a quiet day, which meant I had better start working on my own file before things get crazy next week.

Being put in charge of a file in the middle of proceedings is horrible. It's not like starting a case, where everyone is on the same page and you know exactly what's going on in the file.

Starting in the middle means reading all the previous proceedings and trying to understand what's going on. And then having to go to court, probably some time next week, with a camera to take pictures of the documents that are in the court file and which I don't have.

Why a camera, you ask.

Because ordering a photocopy will cost you $3 per page. And you can't take the file away to photocopy documents yourself.

* * *

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Week 14 still

Things I will need to do: hand in mid-internship evaluation by next Friday.
Apply for a background check and hope that there's no deadline to submit the certificate.
A stiff drink.

Today has to be the most ridiculous days I've had at court. We went in, Power Lawyer and I, at 9AM for role call, to present a motion. Since we served our notice of presentation Tuesday, we were at the end of the list, so had to wait until about a hundred cases got called, then it was our turn.

Get in the courtroom with the judge, there's already some cases before ours, plus since we've scheduled 55 minutes of pleading time, we're put at the end, after the shorter motions.

So we just waited until all the cases are over, which actually didn't take that long as there weren't that many today. We then looked for the opposing lawyer, who wasn't in the room, and it turns out that she was in another courtroom, and she was actually triple-booked, with two cases pending in this room.

The judge was not particularly happy, as we were wasting valuable court time, and she couldn't refer any of us to another judge.

With all this, we were not able to get started before lunch break, and had to come back at 2PM. Unfortunately, the judge wasn't there, and didn't get there until 3ish, as she had another case to deal with.

Our own 55-minute thing ended up being much more than that, as we had some trouble figuring out the exact facts.

There was a lot of back-and-forth, but the judge was not convinced. We ended up being at court until 5 PM, which is really late for court, and didn't even get a ruling.

We were told by the judge to come up with a consent agreement by tomorrow...

Week 14

I think I'm starting to lose it. Can't remember what I did Monday, tho I did mean to post. It was a busy day. Some kerfuffle with a trial that was set for this week, but the opposing party wanted to postpone, and Power-Lawyer thought no way, so back-and-forth of motions to postpone, motion to strike, culminating with my being called at 4:21 PM with "Hey, I just emailed you a document, you have... um... 9 minutes to serve it".

Today got pretty crazy too. i was informed by PL that she has a 6-day trial coming up next month, and that is going to require a full month of preparation (serious. no kidding) which means I'll pretty much have to be working full time with her on this.

And full-time with PL means me, her, and pizzas, which is never a good sign, because last time that it was me, her, and a pizza, I ended up leaving work at midnight and a half. I guess I might as well pack my favourite pillow and a sleeping bag, cuz I'll be living at the office for the foreseeable future.

Wednesdays are also billing days at the office, and since we have a new software and I seem to be the only one qualified to use it, I was providing PL with tech support.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Week 13: Trial (Part 2)

Not much happened yesterday (Saturday), went to work at noon-ish, left work at 8PM, still haven't finished drafting, waiting for Power-Lawyer to review my drafts, then I'll have to go back today, finalize everything, print the motion and the exhibits, and have the client sign.

So we go back to the story of the trial last week, where I had left off at lunch break in the previous story.

We went back to the hearing in the afternoon, and the Judge took it surprisingly well, and the hearing moved on. The opposing party had his cross-examination.

One important thing for a witness during cross-ex, or any examination, is to answer the questions, even if you don't like them. If you try to dance around the question, the Judge isn't stupid and will call you out if you do it often enough. And if you still don't get it, the Judge might call a break, tell your lawyer to explain to you what a cross is about and how you should behave, and lemme tell you that a lawyer does NOT like to be held responsible for that kind of behaviour, and WILL give you a good talking-to.

The cross ended, and it was our client's turn to testify, which went fairly well.

The trial went on for the rest of the day, then the next.

Then we moved on to pleading, and it was lunch. We had 3 hours in front of us before going back to court, as the Judge promised us a "plan" at 2PM.

The Courthouse is conveniently located right outside Chinatown, which means you have a large selection of restaurants for these long lunch breaks. And lucky for us, the hearing ended at 11:30, so we were just ahead of the 12:00 rush when everyone who works around Chinatown go for lunch.

I was then left alone with the client for quite some time, and it got slightly awkward, since she started worrying about the verdict.

I therefore spent the rest of lunchtime giving her a pep talk, and trying to reassure.

We went back to court to get our judgment. It got pretty emotional at some point, which I didn't expect. The judge actually took the time to explain the new realities following a separation and how things should be done in the interest of the children.