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A Life in the Law

LSJ November 2016

Judge Stephen Scarlett, lover of the arts, vintage Porsches and courtesy in court, recently retired from the Federal Circuit Court after a 28-year judicial career.

He was appointed to the Local Court in 1988. He became the Senior Children’s Magistrate in 1995. He was appointed to the new Federal Magistrates Court in 2000.

His life in the law illustrates the remarkable diversity of professional opportunities a law degree can offer. It also raises questions about how each generation learns and transmits the traditions, technical skills and values of the profession.

Is the current crop of young lawyers meeting the expectations of their seasoned colleagues?

Judge Scarlett took time to reflect with me.

Judge Scarlett believes there has been a deterioration in standards of litigation in recent years. He points to complaints about the lack of professionalism, the lack of courtesy and the lack of basic skills of a lot of solicitors.

Published in the November issue of the Law Society of NSW Journal.

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