Litigation law firms do many things to build their firm’s litigation clout, but New Zealand law firm Meredith Connell has taken matters a step further to build its litigation chops by incorporating a courtroom into its new Auckland office.
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The firm’s Fanshawe Street office building has seen a social media posting its celebration of its lawyers making their first court appearance as a major rite of passage for the firm.
The Courtroom incorporated within the firm’s new office is the same as one in the Auckland High Court and claims to be the only such development for a law firm in Australasia, or the world.
“The people who want to work for us are those who decided to go to Law School because they wanted to be court lawyer and work directly with clients,” Managing Partner Steve Haszard says. “At MC, we aim for all our lawyers to appear in court within a few months of starting here, and the ‘first appearance’ is a major rite of passage for our team.”
But Steve Haszard (pictured left) says no one is thrown in the deep end, the way litigators may have been a generation ago.
“We invest an enormous amount in training not just for own our needs but for the profession,” he says on the firm’s website. “Our newer lawyers learn directly from our top team, before they first have to say ‘may it please your honour’ as a junior counsel before a judge, supported by someone much more experienced. MC is about today’s best litigators training and passing on their knowledge and expertise to the Crown Solicitors, QCs, judges and corporate litigators of the future.”
The in-house training for litigators with their own courtroom is clearly an advantage and demonstrates an increasingly focus for litigation law firms to gain a competitive advantage in an increasingly competitive litigation environment.
What is more common than a mock courtroom is the use of mock trials which is particularly common in the United States where there is a Mock Trial Association and the practice of using them is widespread and used for many litigation situations involving high-stakes claims and the like.