The Judge disappeared for hours today, leaving us unable to eat lunch in case she returned. During that time I spent a long while chatting to Stephanie, a young Probation Officer (we discussed everything from work to replacing the detention centre at the back with a bar, and using the juvenile detainees as free bar staff, possibly using the extras to open up a brewery too!), who explained that she much preferred dealing with boys than girls. Her reason was simple: girls run. She explained that even if a boy doesn’t like their sentence or the environment in which they have been placed (specifically Group Homes, which are like halfway houses for kids) they still work through it as a challenge. Girls, on the other hand, will often run at the first possible opportunity, and are impossible to find because the guys they stayed with would be extremely loyal (apparently guys on runaway are usually ratted out by ex-girlfriends…).

For socio-economic reasons, it’s unsurprising that the vast vast majority of our clients are black. However, I had to hold back my surprise at seeing a well-groomed, suit-donning white boy in court today. Not our usual breed of client, it’s fair to say. In fact I had been expecting to see him there since I had lunch with his uncle, an eminent Judge, in a Brazilian steakhouse and lounge named Marrazil a few days earlier. My rank was also upgraded to “associate” today, since I tend to talk with clients independently now, while Stephen is tied up in court. As a result, I guess many of them can’t really make any distinction between me and a “real” lawyer!

Yesterday Stephen and I attended an anti-Globalisation talk being given by an author/activist and a freelance photo-journalist who has spent a good deal of time in Iraq. The latter provided some really interesting insights as he was working there both at the start of the war and again at the end of March. As a journalist he was particularly outraged at the closing of Muqtada al-Sadr’s newspaper Al-Hawza. Indeed that, he explained, was what convinced the Iraqi people that the American occupying force was no more commited to their freedoms and free speech than the old regime.