Would 2pm on Friday suit m'Lady?...

In every sense it is ever best to be honest and as an Advocate that is the only way to be. I am humbled to be the member of a profession where integrity and truth are everything - that is why I chose a career in law.

So, time to be honest, this is my first blog for Benchmark Advocates and I am not entirely sure what to write about! In the digital age we are all bombarded with articles or “content” which profess to give us guidance about every topic under the sun. Personally I can feel that to be a little overwhelming, often of dubious authority and usually I just disengage, stop reading and move on.

I don’t want to write articles which just contribute to the noise.

I wanted to write something that would engage the reader and was of value to those who took the time to read. Benchmark Advocates is a new venture and we want to engage with those who instruct us in a fashion more suited to the digital age. In the digital age time is precious.

One of the best sources of interesting legal content I have come across is to be found at The Law Project based in Melbourne , Australia. A recent article on that feed focused on a study which showed that judges in Tel Aviv were 65% more likely to grant parole after lunch. I was immediately fascinated; a forensic analysis of sentencing including data around date, time, parties involved, outcomes. Often as advocates and court practitioners we see outcome in cases in a sense in isolation – that was the crime, that was the forum, that was the record before the court, that was the judge and therefore that was the outcome (determined in a structure where the Judge is fully cognisant of the sentencing framework, acerbic appeal court comments etc). What if there are extraneous factors at play that weren’t apparent at all to key players – the Judge, the counsel, the accused? Does the timing of sentencing in a court day affect in any way the outcome? In the High Court we deal in years in terms of sentencing and is it the case that any influence such as lunch or the day of the week could change a sentence by a year or two?

Fascinating stuff indeed and I do not in any way profess to know the answers. Clearly though for legal practitioners such research and concepts are going to become increasingly relevant. In the world of “Big Data“ where knowledge is gained through analysing interactions and outcomes in an unprecedented way such information and insight is going to influence our actions and how we best represent our clients.

Incredible stuff and I look forward to developing such ideas in conversation and through future blogs….