Susan Norris [dartsue]
What did you study? What did you specialize in?
I have studied with the Institute of Legal Executives which is now the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives. I have studied Conveyancing, Land Law, Landlord and Tenant, Employment Law.
I then went onto study with the Council for Licensed Conveyancers to become a Licensed Conveyancer. I am licensed to be a conveyancer and probate practitioner.
I am also a will writer regulated by the Institute for Professional Willwriters.
What has been your professional experience in the arena of law? How long have you been in the profession?
I first started work as a secretary many years ago and then took the ILEX exams which I passed quite quickly to my surprise. I then started to do paralegal work and worked my way up the ladder to do my own work load in residential conveyancing.
I have also worked in commercial conveyancing on shops and small offices. I am also licensed to do probate work and writing wills.
I can now work unsupervised and I help to train other people in one of the offices where I work. It is rewarding to see people interested in what you do but there are great changes in the legal field with the advent of alternative business strucures so I do not know how long small high street firms will be able
Are there any links we can follow to see something more about you?
I have a couple of websites which give details about the type of work I provide:
What types of cases interest you most?
Case law does not affect the type of law that I practice in residential and commercial conveyancing.
It affects probate law more in that you have to follow case law in the advice that you give, such as Bank v Goodfellows in that the testator must the mental capacity to make a Will.
How do clients find you? Why do you think they choose you?
I do not choose my clients, they mostly get referred to by solicitors' practices I work as a consultant for.
How do you set your rates? Does it have to do with time commitment , what is at stake, or with the financial ability of the client?
Most of the work I do is carried out at a fixed fee like the most of conveyancing in this country. The financial ability of the client to pay fees is paramount as its an expensive business to buy any property.
How do you sell a client on the strategy you develop for litigation?
I do not practice litigation, I leave that for specialists in that area.
Clients can sometimes be emotionally upset. How do you get them to adopt a realistic and rational attitude?
Clients do sometimes get upset when you take instructions for a Will. You do your utmost to put them at ease and try to explain what they are doing is a good thing.
The conveyancing procedure is more of a stress thing and people often don't realise what is involved. You put them at ease by being professional and efficient in your work and keeping the client informed of what is going on.
What do you do when your gut says your client is lying to you?
You try and get the client to tell the truth as it could get the fee earner into a lot of trouble if the client is up to no good and the fee earner does not know about it.
Have you ever defended someone's innocence while knowing with certainty that he/she was really guilty?
This is not my area of expertise.
What reasons would you have for not taking on a case? How would you justify it?
I would not take on a transaction if I thought the Lease was not in an acceptable form or the client was difficult and would not listen to reason or the advice that you give them
What strategy is usually effective, an aggressive and intimidating one, or one that seeks a reasonable compromise?
This is not my area of expertise - I do not practice in court.
Is it important to know beforehand the personality and habits of the judge that is going to decide the case?
I do not go to court - it is not my area of expertise
Is courage needed to practice your profession?
I do think you need to have courage to practice as a lawyer now. There is a great deal going on and no one has a crystal ball to see how things are going to pan out.
What is justice? Is there a way to measure it, or is it only a sentiment?
Justice is when a person who has done wrong is punished for what he has done and pays his debt to society to the satisfaction of the wronged person.
Should the social repercussions of a sentence, i.e., the message that it sends to society, be kept in mind?
The social repercussions of a sentence are always important, it sends out a message to society and, hopefully, discourages other people from commiting crime.
DNA analysis has revealed some serious judicial errors in the past. Isn't that a sufficient argument for abolishing the death penalty?
The death penalty has already been abolished in Britain. I think it should be abolished in America as well due to the miscarriages of justice that take place.
Is it acceptable ethically to think of a lawsuit as a business opportunity?
A lawsuit must be seen as a business opportunity so the lawyer handling the law suit makes enough money to keep him/herself.
A video shows the guilt of the defendant, but because it was recorded illegally it is not admissible as evidence and the defendant goes free. Is this absurd justice?
All evidence should be obtained in a legal manner so it can be admissible as evidence in Court.
What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of the jury system?
The jury system is a tried and tested system of law. The jury should be independent of the accused and the judiciary so are able to give an objective decision in a court of law.
Unfortunately some individuals in a jury do not realise that they must obey the system and not to contact the accused, not to look up similar cases on the internet or info on the accused. This places the trial in jeopardy and a retrial is the only way round it thus wasting a great deal of money.
Is it necessary to maintain a costly and slow justice system in order to avoid a flood of irrelevant cases?
Each case has to be judged on its own merits.
How do you see the defense of royalties in an increasingly digital future?
More control must be kept of a person's intellectual property but this is not my area of expertise.
Is the amount of attention paid to crime by the mass media excessive?
It may seem it as it is the most interesting area of law.
What continuing education do you receive in order to keep up-to-date?
I go to seminars which are offered by my regulators. I go to talks which are provided by a commercial provider such as "Pro-Conferences" These are now expensive and anything free is greatly welcomed.
Where are you headed professionally? What would you like to be doing five years from now?
I hope to be working more on my own with my own firm, perhaps.
What advice can you give someone with an interest in pursuing this profession?
I would advise them to stick at it if they really want to succeed. There can be set backs as with any profession.
Dartford Kent United Kingdom