St. Joseph's College

Ronald Arculli - Careers

G&W -
When you were at SJC, did you plan to become a lawyer?

Mr. Arculli -
No I did not. I remember after my A-Level exam in 1958 I went to England to see what course were available for me to take up. I went there in September and in December, my mother called me and told me if I didn't take up my mind what to study in 2 weeks' time, I would have to come back to Hong Kong. I remember asking my friends in England what was the fastest major to get into and they said law. That is how I picked the subject.

G&W -
When you were at SJC, did you have any political aspirations?

Mr. Arculli -
In the beginning, I had no interest in local politics at all. When I came back in 1961, I practised law as a barrister. Then in 1974 I left my practice and entered the financial sector for a little more than a year, doing brokerage and merchant banking work. Finally in 1976, some of my existing partners at Woo, Kwan, Lee & Lo suggested me joining them as a solicitor and that's what I ended up doing since.

G&W -
What are the differences in pressure and workload between being a barrister and a solicitor?

Mr. Arculli -
Well for a barrister his clients are the solicitors' firms. If there is any pressure it will not come from the solicitors' firms because they are professionals and understand that a barrister only concerns himself with the legal technicalities of the cases on which his ability and competence is judged. The pressure for a barrister comes from the number of cases he is handling at any one time. Sometimes it is not that simple to leave one case and go into another just like that. But for a solicitor, the pressure comes from every client who feels that he is the most important person to you and it is your job to provide him with a service which he could not easily replace. To keep the client happy, a solicitor cannot just sit there and do nothing. He really has to set his mind moving and give advice which is in his client's best interest. You can say a solicitor's job is more business-oriented.

G&W -
What advice would you give to students who want to be lawyers in the future?

Mr. Arculli -
First, if you study law, I think it is a good training for one's education and mental development. I will recommend others to study law but whether to practise law or not, that depends on one's own interest. After studying law, you could always choose to become a lawyer or enter the business or banking sector......and I don't think it would be a waste not to practise law after studying it.

G&W -
Many people think that the legal profession is saturated. Do you agree with this view?

Mr. Arculli -
Some fresh graduates say that it is not too easy to find jobs because they have to be an apprentice for about one and a half years and they may not be able to find a principal since lately, the local economy has not been doing that well. Another point to bear in mind is that it used to be quite difficult to gain admission to study law at HKU. My advice is by doing law, you do not always have to enter the legal profession and you may use your training for other disciplines, depending on where your own interest lie.

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