Olliers’ Martha Odysseos describes a typical day in the life of a trainee criminal defence solicitor
I was attending a trial at Preston Crown Court for a number of weeks.
I catch the train to Preston and use the time on the train to catch up on any emails and news.
I arrive at court and meet counsel and our client. We have a quick conference and go through any questions that the client has. As this is the second week of the trial we do not need to discuss much before the court session begins. Before I head into the court room I check my emails and answer anything urgent that has come in overnight. I also take note of anything that may need doing throughout the day. I forward any enquiries from clients that I cannot answer to my supervising solicitor for assistance.
The case is called on in court. The judge deals with preliminary issues regarding the timetabling of witnesses before the Jury are brought in. Once the jury are brought in the first witness takes their oath and confirms their full name and occupation. This is an expert witness who is appearing by video link due to the pandemic. This witness’ evidence is agreed and he is therefore not cross examined. I ensure I take thorough notes of anything that happens in court. A second witness also gives evidence live in court.
The jury are asked to leave the court as a legal argument needs to be considered. The judge considers the arguments and states he will email his decision over lunch.
I head out to the local market and grab some lunch. I come back into court to eat in the conference room whilst reading over some notes on the case.
The case is called back on in court. The judge enters and further preliminary issues are dealt with. He explains that a full explanation of his decision will be available in a few days. He then asks for the jury to be brought in. The jury is shown some video evidence relating to the witness before counsel cross examine the live witness from the morning. The jury are then given a quick break.
The case resumes in court. Another witness is called to give evidence.
The Jury are allowed to leave. The Judge reminds them of the rules they must abide by. They cannot speak to anyone about the case and cannot do any research regarding the matter. The case then finishes in court. I have a quick discussion with counsel about when our expert witnesses will be needed. I also ensure all my file notes are updated.
I leave Preston and catch a train back to Manchester.
I arrive home. As I am studying for my LPC part time I use the evening to prepare for my upcoming workshops. I also have an upcoming exam which I do some revision for.
I ensure I have some time to eat dinner and relax and prepare for myself for court tomorrow.
Article written by Martha Odysseo
Martha joined the firm in April 2021 after completing an internship at Olliers in the summer of 2020. She was initially a part of the Litigation Support team before starting her training contract in September 2021. Martha is a is also a member of the Corporate Social Responsibility Team.
Martha is currently undertaking her LPC part time during her training contract. Prior to this, Martha completed a degree in English Literature at the University of Reading where she was also the Deputy Editor of the student newspaper. She then went on to undertake an MA in Law (GDL equivalent) at the University of Law. Martha’s research topic focused on the use of special measures for vulnerable witnesses in the criminal courts.
Before joining the firm, Martha gained experience working in the Magistrates Court as well as undertaking voluntary work with the University of Law’s Pro Bono Clinic.
Martha has already been involved in a number of different cases in both the Magistrates and the Crown Court. Martha has also gained experience in pre-charge investigations as well as DBS matters and inquiries.