Monday, July 17, 2006

PI School Part III: The Law

I originally planned on writing this up in three parts, but it's looking more like five, so you'll have to wait a few more days to find out why I dropped out of PI school.

Monday nights were the PI side of the course, but every Wednesday night I joined the group of bleary-eyed PI-hopefuls on the 6th floor of Building G to learn all about the law.

This wasn't the light mentions of useful parts of government acts that Jim Biggs gave us, this was a miniature law school taught to us by a $300 an hour solicitor who for some reason moonlighted as a TAFE teacher.

With curly, straw-coloured hair, a white-collared blue shirt and a wide red tie, this ex truck driver tried his best to hammer home the details of torts, civil and criminal law, negligence, damages, the statute of limitations, and so on.

What he spent more time doing was looking at the girls in the class across the hall (he always made sure to leave the door open), repeatedly making bad jokes about his wife (who was also a solicitor), and reminding us of the small cases he wouldn't take because he could get $300 an hour elsewhere.

He paced up and down the room, breaking off into tangents and eventually asking the class to help him return to the original subject. He rarely made eye contact, and seemed to take great pleasure in disagreeing with the females in the room.

I'm painting him in a bad light, but most of the time he was fairly entertaining, and some of the case work he discussed was truly fascinating. Some of it was heart wrenching, as he was involved in various rape cases. That was when we saw the truly human side of him and he let down his boisterous courtroom front.

You'll notice that I'm carefully avoiding the details of these classes because I have to confess to finding the study of the law a very dull subject. I also don't want to get sued for slander. As a consequence, the notes I took had more to do with the possibility of creating a slimy lawyer character in a story some day, rather than the ins and outs of individual cases.

The main point that came across from those Wednesday nights was that a lawyer's job is really just a logical puzzle: based on a case, how can we find a section of the law that will get the most for the client?

It would be easy to become dispassionate about the process, after spending eighty hour weeks studying previous cases to find a useful precedent or come up with a plan of attack. Someone has to do it, and as far as I can tell, the system mostly works.

Someone has to do it, but I'm glad it's not me.

Next up, Part IV: Surveillance.


M. G. Tarquini said...

Looks up, bleary-eyed, from rewrites.

Wait a minute. You were studying to be a private investigator?

Daniel Hatadi said...

Yeah, I did it last year for a couple of months, but never put up a proper post on this blog.

So I'm making up for it in full.