Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of a busy criminal solicitor is like? Forget the glamorising crime dramas with the tense dramatic courtroom scenes and the team building socials after work. Nama Zarroug, founding director of one of Liverpool’s fastest-growing law firms has given us an insight into a ‘day in the life of a criminal lawyer’ and it makes for exhausting reading!
In 2016, Nama founded Astraea Legal and acquired Linskills in 2020 leading to the creation of Astraea Linskills in 2021. She is a specialist in criminal defence but with a holistic approach and therefore has a good working knowledge of family law, civil actions, proceeds of crime, professional standards, private client and immigration.
Nama said “Working as a criminal lawyer is something I have worked so hard to achieve, overcoming many hurdles along the way. Starting your own law firm and raising a young family can be beyond challenging and beyond rewarding in equal measure. No two days have EVER been the same, and the experience I have gained along the way mean that there are very few complications I have not dealt with over the years. My biggest challenge is fitting it all into my day and making sure I have done the best job possible for my clients”.
This is Nama’s day:
1.55am Woken up often in the very early hours by the emergency defence solicitor call centre to advice that suspect has been arrested for a serious arrestable offence and is in custody at a local police station
1.57am Ring the police station and speak to a usually harassed but helpful custody sergeant who will have the very basic details about the case. Lots of shouting and banging in the back ground.
2.02am Speak to the client who is often extremely anxious, confused and vulnerable. Reassure client that we are dealing with the matter and that we will be in attendance at the police station as soon as possible.
6.30am Liaise with colleagues to advise re the arrest and re-arrange the upcoming day
6.36am Children and dog come running in demanding toilet, breakfast and to be dressed and walked
6.40am Sort children and dog
7.00am Drink coffee
7.05am Speak to police again and confirm time for suspect to be interviewed
7.12am Hand over to colleague
7.30am Walk children to school
8.45am Go to the office in Castle street and drink coffee
9.00am Catch-up with colleagues to discuss the “overnighters” which will be either suspects in police custody or defendants charged and remanded to court
9.10am Access Court case management system to retrieve and read the days case papers
9.30am Walk to court QEII Law Courts Derby Sq nodding hello to all the other businesses opening up for day and lawyers headed to court or their offices – promising to catch up and say hello properly later
9.34am Have banter with security and court support staff whist being searched for sharp objects
9.35am Head to the court cells
9.37am Sit down with client who is understandably frightened and anxious. Explain in simple terms the very complex situation they are in. Discuss the evidence in the case, their options on plea, whether to opt for a trial by jury, discuss sentence if convicted. Discuss the process and prosect of applying for bail and any likely bail conditions. Discuss the repercussions of failing to abide by bail conditions. Discuss fees or apply for legal aid. Obtain contact details for wife, mother, girlfriend or other family member that client wants appraised of the situation.
10.30am Telephone family who are worried sick update them
10.35am Head up to court. Discuss case with prosecutor and legal adviser. Agree a position re plea and bail if possible.
10.41am Court usher calls me out of court as family have arrived and want to sit in
10.46am All stand for the judge
11.30am Case formally called on.
- am Plea entered and I make an application for bail.
11.55am Bail granted and everyone cheers
- am Everyone told to be quiet or get out by the judge
- am date set for a trial
- pm Client released from custody
12.13pm Hugs, kisses and thank you’s from client and family
12.25pm School ring, child no1 is sick come and get them please
12.27pm Liaise with colleagues to re-arrange the day.
13.12pm Collect child from school
13.35pm Hugs, kisses, medicine, snacks and watch telly in my bed
14.30pm Go to home office and resume day. Phone calls, zoom meetings, drafting statements
15.10pm Walk dog to collect child no2
16.00pm Feed children and homework time
17.50pm Face time with dad and grandparents and story time
19.00pm Lights out and bed
19.05pm Put wash on. Unload and reload the dishwasher, tidy up.
19.30pm Cook dinner
19.55pm Take dinner to home office and clear e-mails
20.30pm Start late meetings with clients who need these due to work commitments
22.30pm Reading case papers and drafting advice e-mails to clients
23.05pm Catch up with fellow directors re the business
23.25pm Glass of wine in bed with something light-hearted. Currently re-watching “still game” on BBC iplayer and “this is us” on Disney+