5 Things I Have Learnt By Working As A Research Assistant For Authors

5 Things I Have Learnt By Working As A Research Assistant For AuthorsThis article is written by Bhanu Tanwar 3rd year law student from National Law University, Delhi. Want to share your law school experience? Email your write up to [email protected]

I developed passionate interest in research activities when I was exposed to search engines like Manupatra and SCC Online. The quality of articles available there increased my knowledge manifold.

One of my senior who was planning to write a book asked me if I would like to research for his upcoming book and help him in searching new case laws concerning various issues. I was a little hesitant in taking up the responsibility of a researcher. He assured that my initial responsibilities would only include simple Manupatra searches for finding relevant case laws. Being a first year student I was happy and content to be engaged in something constructive. Following are the important lessons that I learnt from my work as a research assistant. However, every bit counts.

1) Simple Language leads to Better Understanding

The most amazing thing that I learnt by assisting an author is that a simple book, with complex content written in simple language can truly help a lot of people gain legal knowledge. Some basic legal knowledge is a must for all individuals. Legal awareness is the key to most problems and it is more convenient for a legally aware person to exercise his rights. These rights may be in terms of the very basic needs which are essential for survival. Hence, as far as law books for laymen are concerned, it is best if they are written in the simplest of language with footnotes which explain the meaning of each legal term. This would ensure that the idea’s of the book are easily communicated to the readers.

2) Prisoner rights are not just restricted to Prisoner’s

While researching case laws on prisoner rights, I came to know that children below the age of five years accompany their mother’s to the prison. A lot of people are not aware of this fact. On being informed, people are stunned to see the plight of the young children who stay in prisons. It was during my Prison Advocacy Project at college that I got a chance to visit the women prison at Tihar Jail, Delhi. I was a witness to the horrendous scenes of female prison. Though the Supreme Court has laid down guidelines for providing basic maternal facilities to pregnant prisoners as well as their children, the condition still remains the same.[1] This issue gathered most of my attention and in future I would like to work upon it in detail.

3) Reading helps in building interest

Our parents constantly emphasise on the importance of reading from our very childhood. However, this is what most children ignore. By working as a research assistant, I realised the fact that reading helps us to gain interest in the topic. Reading is infact the key to excellence in the legal profession. Reading helped me overcome the presumptions I had made about certain issues. While working as a research assistant, I gained a lot of interest in intellectual property rights. Intellectual Property Rights is often misunderstood by young students as a subject with least social relevance. However, reading articles and books about intellectual property rights of Indian and African tribes totally changed my presumption about IPR. IPR is very important in guaranteeing the basic rights with regard to providing livelihood to the tribes whose Intellectual knowledge is openly exploited by MNC’s who do not give any credit to the tribes.

4) Indulging in constructive work make life peaceful and happy

Working towards something which interests you makes you happier. I also learnt that appreciation is the key to get good work done. Further, I learnt that working for people who involve you in bringing about a difference is the greatest thing to do.

5) Embrace every opportunity that comes in your way

The first three years of our law school life are the most crucial years. I now realise how important it is to embrace every opportunity that comes by your way because no work is small. I learnt so much from the initial simple Manupatra searches. The brief case notes encouraged me to read judgements and the judgements encouraged me to read the newspaper articles concerning such issues.

I still continue to learn at every step.

Article is written by Bhanu Tanwar 3rd year law student from National Law University, Delhi

[1]Hussainara Khatoon v. Home Secretary, Government of Bihar, 1979 AIR 1360



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