Working from home has its challenges, but a group of barristers have portrayed the difficulties appearing in wigs, robes, jacket and jabot from home.
Working from home has its challenges, but a group of barristers have portrayed the difficulties appearing in wigs, robes, jacket and jabot from home.

Lawyer lockdown: Wigs, robes, dogs and kids don’t mix

WOMEN in criminal law around Brisbane have taken to YouTube posting a video with a healthy dose of humour to illustrate the frustrations of working from home during the pandemic.

The video shows the barristers and solicitors juggling home life with work, dressed in full gown and robes to present to video court proceedings while children or pets interject, walking from their desk to stand on a piece of Lego or lounging poolside to study a case.

Shot to the Wilson Phillips song Hold On, the women are clearly looking forward to some sense of normality as children head back to school in the coming weeks.

However self-employed barrister Laura Reece said while there was a lot of work to retain a functioning court system, things would not return to normal in the courts for some time.

She got together with friends from her previous workplace Legal Aid Queensland and other friends in law to make the video in a way to let off some steam.

"We're all working around the current restrictions with court and family and it just became a fun project to let off a bit of steam and have a bit of fun," Ms Reece said.

"It's been pretty challenging. We're all criminal defence lawyers which means we are trying to do court appearances by telephone and video. All of those services are continuing but they are being delivered in really different ways."

Brisbane barrister Laura Reece says working from home and home schooling her children Oskar and Astrid Öresjö during the pandemic has its challenges.
Brisbane barrister Laura Reece says working from home and home schooling her children Oskar and Astrid Öresjö during the pandemic has its challenges.

With most matters dealt with online, taking part in a virtual courtroom from home with multiple parties present via online connection presents challenges.

"The challenge for me working from home has been trying to do court appearances with small children in the house. Most of the women in the video have one or more children and obviously there are challenges for those without children as well because we are all doing our appearance work in a really different format. It is very different to not be standing infront of a judge in your robes advocating to someone whose eyes you can see and who you can engage with and you don't usually have a client you can quickly ask a question of.

"In some ways it has become more casual because you find people on the phone tend to slip in to 'oh thanks for that your Honour'. There is this casualisation of language because you are on a phone, or people putting you on hold and all of a sudden the courtroom being filled with hilarious hold music.

"There are all of these stories about dogs barking in the middle of our submissions, kids barging in and you are having to do smoke signals to get them out of the room and having to home school kids as well as managing your phone calls from solicitors and clients. It has just been nuts."

A screen grab from the video as a barrister heads back in to a virtual courtroom at home.
A screen grab from the video as a barrister heads back in to a virtual courtroom at home.

The strangest part of virtual courtrooms is barristers wearing wigs, robes, jacket and jabot around their home.

"We were trying to convey that in the video," Ms Reece said. "One of the weirdest things is sitting at home and you are in your robes and you don't know whether to stand up when the judge walks in. You are sitting at your desk in robes with a wig on infront of a computer screen.

"In the video we were just trying to show that we are all just doing our job in fundamentally different ways at the moment and trying to laugh at it."

The full video can be found on YouTube.

Originally published as Lawyer lockdown: Wigs, robes, dogs and kids don't mix


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