“What are you doing now?”
“I am a practising lawyer…”
“How long do you have to practice to be lawyer?”
It never occured to me that it will be confusing to tell people I am a “practising lawyer”… until I was asked how long do I need to “practice” to be a lawyer till I can be a real lawyer! :s
Actually, practising lawyer means a lawyer who is in practice (just like a doctor being called a practitioner), ie, a working lawyer who has a practice certificate, a licensed lawyer so to speak! A lawyer who is no longer under pupilage*, and has been called to the bar** and has a current Practice Certificate***.
*Pupilage is the 9 months (in West Malaysia) or 12 months (in Sabah/Sarawak) training period (not practising but training) every lawyer has to undergo before they could be “Call to the Bar”".
**Call to the Bar means being called to the legal fraternity. In practice, it means a lawyer whose name is on the Rolls of the High Court. Ie, the name is listed as a lawyer in the High Court’s list of lawyers!
***Lawyers have to pay a prescribed fee to the courts for their names to be kept in the Rolls. Therefore, each year, lawyers have to renew their respective practice certificate in order for their names to be retained in that Roll so that they could continue to “practise” as a lawyer! :)