Developing My Legal Knowledge - My Follow Up Day Shadowing Judge Levett at Ipswich Court

The university student shadowing scheme gives students who are considering a career in law, an insight into the work of a judge. The scheme aims to provide a firsthand experience of a judge’s work and to inspire the next generation of legal professionals.

I was very privileged and grateful to be given a second day of work experience at the Crown Court.

This time my experience was different from my previous visit, as I knew what to expect once I walked into the Court building.  After passing through security, (which was easier this time), I felt more comfortable and confident to spend the day at the court.

The staff were waiting for me at 8.30am, where I was able to meet different people in multiple departments, which I did not get to meet on my previous visit. I was then showed around the Court and saw how the clerks prepare the judge’s daily agenda.

At 9.15am I met Judge Levett in the judge’s library, where he explained his agenda for the day and what he expected from me as a student shadowing him.  I was so pleased when Judge Levett said he remembered me from my previous visit and my ambitions to become a barrister!  I felt so amazed that Judge Levett, who has a busy schedule, remembered me, when I had only spent only one day with him during my previous work experience. It gave me reassurance that judge shadowing means a lot to judges as well as the students, as they are sharing what their day entails, to help motivate students for future careers in the legal profession.

We entered the Court room at 9.30am, where the barristers were waiting for the Judge. I was also allowed to sit on the bench which I felt very privileged by!  The case we saw was regarding a murder; the prosecution explained the case and then we were given an insight of how the morning would proceed. The jury had been selected the day before, so when they walked into the courtroom, they knew exactly where to sit and what to do. I had the opportunity to listen the prosecution and also learn how CCTV footage is used in court (which I did not know previously) and how it can be used as evidence in a case.

Sitting on the bench with the judge, I felt like I was part of the team, which I really enjoyed!

During lunch, I stayed with the judges in their lounge room, where Judge Levett said to sit at the head of the table.  I felt very surprised to be asked to sit in that seat, as 5 other Judges also came and sat at the table to eat their lunch, however, it also made me feel very welcomed.

In the afternoon, I sat in on more cases and in total, the judge presided over 6 cases in the same day, which I was really impressed by. 

They said that they would like more students to come for work experience, as they recognise how important it is to students who may become the next generation of judges and barristers.

I had a fantastic day, and it was another great experience within the Court. I would encourage more students to take this opportunity, as judge shadowing helps to develop certain skills, such as communication skills when conversing with the judges or barristers, as well as learning how effective you need to be in public speaking.

This blog was authored by Eunice Mendonca.