As job applications go, this one seems almost mundanely standard.
A CV, succinct covering letter and two examples of how you’ve worked well either on your own or as part of a team to reach a relevant goal.
Tick all these boxes and you’ll be interviewed by a panel of your would-be colleagues at which you’ll make a presentation - subject yet to be decided. PowerPoint is probably not required.
In view of the size and difficulty of most applications to get in to the legal industry it would be worth a punt for many of you. But this is no ordinary job: this application is to be president of the UK Supreme Court (2 April 2012).
Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers is retiring on 31 September, but will first appoint his successor and last week a number of silks who have duelled in his presence spoke to our sister magazine The Lawyer about his legacy.
Alex Bailin QC of Matrix Chambers says: “His leadership during (the Supreme Court’s) creation has been fantastic. He has genuinely modernised the court in a pretty short space of time. This hasn’t just been a move across the road, there’s real change afoot in transparency and accessibility.”
Bailin points to the use of cameras in the Supreme Court, press releases accompanying judgments, intimate documentaries about justices’ lives and the removal of wigs and gowns as examples of innovations introduced under Phillips SCJ’s “brilliant” tenure.
Essex Court’s Hugh Mercer QC believes that Phillips SCJ’s “less academic” interest in the law makes his legal precedents more relevant and applicable to a broader range of cases.
He explains: “In terms of our premier law lord, his style is very practical - that’s a compliment. He’s focused on the task in hand, what he’s being asked to do, where he is to move the law, and on what basis.
“He sees the judgment as a guidance for future courts. He’s focused on choosing the right sort of cases to blaze a pathway for others in the same area to help develop law.”
Michael Fordham QC of Blackstone Chambers sums up Phillips SCJ’s presidency saying: “Phillips has led an unstuffy, receptive and appreciative court, which places oral argument at the heart of the process, does not squeeze advocates into tiny time slots, and is willing to hear interveners. These are very important values, which could easily have been lost in translation.”
While it may be too early to start eyeing up such a role if you are looking for a role model for the modern lawyer there may be few better.