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Victoria Mole
23 July, 2010  
Of grease and tears and judges

MasterChef and its lawyer cooks … A round or two with Dyson Heydon is excellent training for plating-up to George, Gary and Matt … Leaving the brulée off the crème would be akin to omitting the vitals of a contract … Vicki Mole blogs

imageAt the time of writing, heels are off, wine is poured, takeaway is ordered and there is a one out of two chance a lawyer will win MasterChef.

Now lose the smirk, would you? Reality television it may be, but it’s got more substance, entertainment value and authenticity than watching the Ginger and Mr Rabbit piff inanities at each other all night.

The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. Long gone.

Is it just their cooking skills? Or is there something about the hyper reality of the MasterChef kitchen that the modern legal profession prepares one for?

The curly construction lawyer spun something the other night about her focus and ambition justifying her place in the finals. Now she’s gone.

True, there’s ambition by the truckload at the Firm. I hear they’ve rented out external office space to store it all in.

And the ability to focus on sorting a small rainforest of discovered documents into chronological order while your family celebrates your grandmother’s 80th, your boyfriend “catches-up” over two bottles of wine with his ex and your gym bag stares up at you optimistically from its relegated home under your desk is one of the core skills an average articled clerk must master before her year is out.

But I think it is more than that.

What about the impossible time constraints.

A lawyer wouldn’t fail to plate up half the crème brulées any more than she would leave the tail-end off an urgent contract or advice.

You assess what is absolutely necessary, get that in and make it look complete.

If there is time, go back and accessorise with some cute clauses about the Charter of Human Rights compliance, suggestions they might want to think about sprucing up their instruments of delegation, or flowers made of tempered chocolate shards.

Any advocate worth their Murray River salt flakes can read a bench (judicial, not kitchen) and deliver their message in a way that will resonate with the judges thereon.

Thus, the dumpling-loving media lawyer cooks schmancy eggs for the French chef, not dahl mark three.

Test the boundaries with salty custard, sure, but know your jurisdiction.

The lawyers know to distinguish constructive criticism from statements of personal preference from the narcissistic expressed as such.

After years of watching senior associates take all the commas out of their draft advices and partners put them all back in again, they don’t lose sleep if George thinks too salty a sauce that Matt adores.

But once her dessert was deemed to need something crunchy on top, the curly one would have sooner julienned her own toenail clippings than presented it without.

To do otherwise would be like appearing in the High Court before Justice Heydon without extensive research on what the tea lady at the 1891 constitutional convention thought about the matter.

Yes, working at the Firm is the Ivy League of training for reality television.

And come next year’s auditions, I’m sure there will be just any many lawyers putting their hands up for a career change of peeling potatoes on minimum wage for three years, rather than continue with the grease and tears of corporate law.

Bon appetit.


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