The elite sportsman and trainee lawyer Frederik Weber on what the law and fencing have in common.
“Fencing and the law have a lot of parallels”, says Frederik Weber. He should know: the 25-year-old from Basel is a world-class fencer. At the same time, the law graduate is completing his internship at Walder Wyss. Here he explains what lawyers can learn from fencing.
Everyone deserves respect.
Because anyone can beat you. Fencing is fast, just a couple of lucky hits are enough to win. In the legal field, too, you must never get lulled into a false sense of security – however inept your counterparty may seem to be.
In all walks of life: experience counts.
The best age for a fencer is probably around 28. But you can certainly keep competing at the highest level up to 40.
Preparation is (almost) everything.
For hours on end, weapons are prepared and competitors analysed, training is completed and agility and power are developed so that you are ready to move quickly in a fight. “Confidence in your preparations is essential – in the legal sphere and on the fencing piste.”
Keep your composure.
If you behave in an unsportsmanlike way and, for example, throw your mask to the ground, you get a black card and a ban for three months. “It has never happened to me – probably because I started fencing at an early age and internalised the right values.”
Films like “Pirates of the Caribbean” triggered a worldwide boom in fencing, but convey a false image: you never see anyone waving their sword around wildly in fencing. The actions are simple and run in straight lines. You wait, size each another up and then strike like lightning. “Flèche”, the French word for “arrow”, is the term used for attacks of this sort. That brings us to the next point:
This, too, can be applied to legal work. Because: “errors and rash actions are punished immediately at elite level.”
Fencing, originally from France,
helps you to learn the language: “Cases in French are always landing on my desk now.”
Ultimately, tactical skill is crucial.
“A match is a dialogue. You have to anticipate your opponent’s attacks. And in the end, outsmart them in whatever they try – just like in court.”
The list includes irritation.
If you manage to get an early hit on your opponent’s hand or foot – in épée fencing, hits on any part of the body count – you will knock them out of their stride.
began fencing at the age of five. Today he is a member of the Swiss national team and a world-class épée fencer. The 25-year-old is currently completing an eleven-month legal internship at Walder Wyss in Basel. He is planning to take his bar exam at the beginning of 2024.