Deborah Piccos – SAHCA Vice-Chair
Firm: TV Edwards LLP
Area of Practice: Children’s Law
Year Obtained Higher Rights: 2007
SAHCA Member since: 2007
What made you become a SAHCA Committee Member?
Family practitioners don’t need their higher audience rights civil to practice in the lower courts and, as a result, many don’t have them. I wanted to be able to demonstrate by obtaining my higher audience rights civil that I had an additional level of competency in my advocacy. Given the small numbers of family practitioners with higher audience rights I felt that it was important to step up and represent other family practitioners as a committee member of SAHCA, and this year as our Vice Chair, to ensure family and children’s law advocacy issues are on the agenda.
What aspect of advocacy do you find most rewarding?
This year is my twentieth year of being an advocate. I advocated in court on the first week of my training contract and became addicted quickly! I love being in court – the intellectual challenge and the importance of everything you advocate, especially as I am usually acting for the children in child protection cases. My favourite part of advocacy is responding on my feet to something new that has been raised in court, or responding to unexpected submissions – essentially responding to matters that you could not have expected or prepared for!
What do you consider the biggest challenge facing Solicitor Advocates in 2019?
I think there are numerous challenges at present. In particular in family and children’s law the main challenge is balancing your caseload with being out at court during the day, especially if you are legal aid lawyer!