In litigation we really do use private detectives, wear gowns to appear in court, and you might even occasionally get away with saying 'I rest my case' (probably not).
Despite the glamour of the job, some work experience students have said to me that they don't think they would want to do a seat in litigation. I thought I would address some of the reasons why to show that a seat in litigation is a great experience.
1. It would be too scary to appear in court.
I can't deny that it is scary. A lot of very experienced litigators still get nervous when they appear in court. This can be a good thing. As someone said to me 'The day you stop getting nervous is the day you should stop doing this.' If you're nervous it means you want to do a good job and you'll have done a lot of preparation. Plus a bit of fear makes things more exciting! And all of your non-lawyer friends will think that your life is just like Suits when you say you've been appearing in court.
2. I never did debating or mooting at school or university.
Me neither. Lots of people who work in litigation never did. While these activities are good training for presenting an argument and being able to respond to your opponent's points, they're in no way a pre-requisite to working in litigation. These are skills which you learn on the job. If you are well prepared you will present a good argument and will be ready to respond to your opponent and the sheriff.
3. I don't understand how the courts work.
It's all in the rules. Just don't forget your copy of the rule book! If you carry it around it makes you look like you know what you're doing.
It also goes without saying that you're supported by the litigation team every step of the way when you appear in court. You will have training on what the procedure is, what to say, and what to do if things go wrong.
In case you need further convincing, here are a few more reasons that litigation is a good seat:
1. There's a huge variety of work. I've worked on cases involving property disputes, personal injury at work, breach of contract for the provision of services, insolvency, and more. It's never just the same thing over and over again.
2. You learn very interesting (and random) things while working on cases, such as engineering solutions to land slip on a man-made slope or how the gears inside aircraft work.
3. You often get to go out and about. Aside from court, I've visited power plants and aircraft hangars. A colleague and I interviewed a witness in an industrial container. It is definitely not boring.
4. Did I mention the gowns?
Litigation can be scary, but it is also interesting and exciting. Even if you decide not to pursue litigation as a career, I'm sure that you won't regret having had the experience.