Pupillage... or not

I was 34 years old when I decided to resign from a full time permanent job and started my chambering. I was a lecturer at a public university, a very promising profession I must say. In fact some of my current colleagues now couldn't believe that I left a secured position in a public university. To start with, I started as a lecturer as soon as I completed my LL.B (Hons). I was 24 years old. I used the word completed and not graduated because yeah.. true enough I got the offer to become a lecturer even before my convocation day. 

I was actually divided, whether to take the offer or not. My plan, like majority of law graduates was of course to start my chambering right away. But after weighing its pros and cons, and after much influence from my father, I took the offer to become a lecturer.. (that will be another long post to babble about, hahaha).

So after some time, I felt that I was not progressing, mainly because I did not have practical experience at all. Having skipped my chambering, I totally rely on television and my practicing friends for ideas on the real legal world. Internet was not common during the early years I joined the academia. I felt... trapped! Whenever I teach, I used examples from the textbooks which was no difference from where my students got their examples too... the textbooks. I was not happy and this feeling bottled up inside. 

So after discussing thoroughly with my husband, we agreed that I should tender my resignation and started a whole new chapter for my life. I do not regret this decision until today, I kid you not. After this decision was made public to colleagues, of course I heard some comments were made, all negative actually hahaha. One even said I must be so naive to leave a stable job and start practicing because practicing is no fun at all. Well, that's the thing. I never said I wanted to start practicing. I just want to start my chambering and yeah, maybe a glimpse to the outside world. And what's wrong with wanting to increase the level of my knowledge? 

Anyways... I started my chambering with Faridzah & Co in Shah Alam in August 2015. This firm mainly focus on conveyancing and corporate banking but I still had to deal with criminal matters whenever I was assigned to station at the Legal Aid Selangor Bar. Emmm, at first, I was always confused with everything, hahaha. There was this junior lawyer the boss asked to assist me and I think she always let me go easy because I was senior in age than her and I used to be a lecturer. Maybe she was guilty to dump me with many files because it's like bullying your older sister... or even mother hahaha. OK, I am not that old! But I was determined to learn. And I have to agree, academic and practical are really, really two different things. Phewwww! 

What I remember mostly was that during this 9 months of chambering period, I met a lot of my former students, at the Legal Aid Centre and courts. I consulted many of them actually for things to do, forms to fill in for this chambering. I had no idea where to start and whenever I asked my batch mate they couldn't remember because it was so long ago for them. So whether I liked it or not, I had to turn to my students for guidance. If you asked me whether it was an awkward experience... yes, it definitely was! Especially to some of them. I was literally the one who taught them the definition of the word plaintiff and defendant. And yeah, if you know me I was a strict lecturer, still am I guess hahaha. So it was awkward asking them about things, it used to be the other way round. I guess maybe in their hearts too they were echoing the words.. "Payback time eh Madam???" 🤣🤣

Every time I went to court I would bump into my former students and they would be very surprised. Usually, the conversation started with, "Eh, what are you doing here Madam?" To which my common reply would be, "Oh nothing, just having this million dollar case to attend to". And they would look so amazed with my answer, hahaha. Of course, they did not know I was just a lost chambering student who couldn't decide whether to take the lift or the stairs to go meet the Court Registrar.😂

After a few months, news traveled that I was doing my chambering. There were few compulsory courses chambering students are to attend and I had to do this with my former students. So stressful. I think many times they caught me in court, looking so lost and also during some courses looking so bored.😂 Above all they got to watch me being scolded too by the court officers.. It must be a privilege experience for them hahaha. Well, I was a chambering student and there was no difference between me and the other students. Never mind the 10 years experience I got in teaching, huwaaaa... 

The experience I had while attending the Legal Aid programme was superb. I really learnt a lot about the legal world especially criminal cases. Every morning we had to sort faxes from the police station so I learnt how the remand system works. Oh ya, I met with many of my students here too.. hmm where can I run.. my students are everywhere, hahaha. Whenever a client walked in with problems on contract law, my students would push me in front. If I object, they would say, "but Madam you taught us contract, so you know more".🙄 I guess that was really pay back time for them, hahaha.

I was then called to the Bar on the 9th of December 2016. Again, during the long call, I met with many of my former students. During the robing session, the judge asked me a question, "So Nurnazida, why did you take such a long route to become an Advocate & Solicitor?" Well, from the speech I prepared, she noticed that I was not a fresh graduate like others. Or was it my wrinkled face that gave me away, hahaha. So I told her that I received a scholarship offer to do my Masters in Australia which I couldn't reject. Because if I really wanted to tell her the true story, then all the other pupil wouldn't get to be called to the Bar that day. The true story would take 6 hours, hahaha. 

So, did I regret started my chambering at a later stage of my life? Nah... knowledge has no limits and all of us have our own path. And I think I was fortunate to have done it with my former students because they really helped me a lot during this time. Or maybe they felt they were forced to help because they were afraid of me.. hmmm... I am not sure but whatever, hahaha. 

I am now an Advocate & Solicitor and nobody can take that away from me.. oh yeah, I just have to add the word NOT PRACTISING there for now 😝



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