This article is written by Sanjana Jain, a student of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi. This article talks about the challenges that are faced by young lawyers when he/she takes the first step in Supreme Court. This article also tells some strategies which have to be followed for becoming successful in the Supreme Court.
Earlier there was a saying that in the legal profession it was hard for young lawyers to make their place, as the older lawyers with more experience had an upper hand. However, the emergence of technology has changed that equation. Young lawyers who grew up by using the internet are using new techniques to increase their knowledge, skills, potential, clientele, etc, while on the other hand, the old lawyers are at a complete loss as the skills and knowledge they generated after years of working are provided to young lawyers in just one click with the help of technology.
One of the reasons that a long time was taken by lawyers to get a place in the legal profession earlier was that they were dependent on old lawyers to learn practical skills and knowledge. Even the price of the law books were so high that young lawyers were unable to afford their own books initially. Earlier it was a challenge for lawyers to buy a set of SCC or AIR on their own because of their high price but now there are many online sources where they can get case laws like Manupatra, SCC Online, Indian kanoon, etc.
The challenges surrounding a young lawyer when he/she first steps in the Supreme Court
To run a successful practice every lawyer must have four qualities i.e excellent legal skills, great client services, and the ability to find and retain the client. The main challenge faced by young lawyers is that they receive no training in business development. This makes finding a client very difficult for them. Some more challenges that are faced by young lawyers are mentioned below.
1. Lack of experience
Do you know why while choosing internships, Law students are advised to proceed with district courts and not with the Supreme Court or High Court? The answer to this is that the opportunities and experiences that a district court provides to a lawyer are not provided by any other court. It will make you learn the basics of interpretation of law and drafting work. It will provide you a platform to work on procedural aspects of the law. It will give an exposure and opportunities that will never be provided to you by a higher court. So in short district court polishes and prepares you for practice in higher courts. The experiences and skills you developed while practicing in district court can be applied by you in higher courts. However, if a person proceeds directly with higher courts he will never be able to get such knowledge and skills as provided by the district court and he will not be able to be successful in his career.
Because of this reason only in 2014, the Bar Council of India with the New Certificate of Practice and Renewal Rules, 2014 has stated that “5 years experience is a must to be a Supreme Court lawyer”. An advocate must practice for at least 2 years in the trial court and for 3 years in a High Court in India.
2. Lack of knowledge regarding the environment of practice
There are no written rules which tell you how to operate in the courts. However, there are plenty of unwritten rules which make it difficult for young lawyers to understand the operation of courts. In litigation groups, peer interactions and evaluations are given much importance. For young lawyers, many discussions and interactions will be strange or unusual. They will find it hard to understand when to speak and when to keep quiet.
In the initial days, the young lawyer will feel like a confused outsider who is unaware of the functioning of the Supreme Court. This is supported by the fact that a person takes time to adjust to new faces and voices. There might be many instances where your patience, presence of mind, and ability to maintain his/her cool is tested. But one day, all this will begin to make perfect sense and you will get comfortable with it.
3. Long working hours
Being a supreme court lawyer is not at all easy, you have to work day and night on a case to win it. It’s not only the long working hours, but the amount of alertness you need to have is unbelievable for many people. This profession requires a person to be switched “on” all the time, even when you are waiting in the courtroom for your matter to be called, you must be alert and paying attention otherwise you will miss it. One mistake of yours will result in you losing the case.
The social life of lawyers comes to an end as there is only Sunday left with them for themselves. Added to this, the kind of pressure and stress they take have a debilitating effect on their health. Therefore it is very important for young lawyers to manage their day properly so that they can take care of their health, otherwise, they will not be able to continue as a litigator and have to look for another job option. But the one thing that young lawyers have to keep in their mind is that they have to work very, very hard. The initial years for young lawyers are the hardest but over time they get used to it and get better with time.
As a young lawyer, people may not always support you, but they will certainly judge for what you don’t know. One of the expectations that people have from young lawyers is that they should be well aware of all the recent developments in the political, social, and legal fields. They shall not only have the knowledge about the legal case but also be able to participate in the arguments in which the lawyers are always engaging. In order to meet all these expectations, a young lawyer must make voracious reading an inseparable part of his/her daily life, as a lawyer is generally known for his/her vast knowledge bank.
How to become a successful lawyer in the Supreme Court?
Being an advocate is a delightful job, both financially and personally. You help those who are having marital or financial problems, or in some cases more serious problems. But it comes with great responsibility, while arguing in the courtroom you have to protect your clients’ interest, as your one mistake will cost the client. It is quite a challenging task, but it is achievable. Following are the few tips which can help you to become a successful lawyer.
1. Continue to learn in your area
One can be successful if he is up-to-date in the field of law, with new cases there are new rulings and changing regulations. It is difficult to know all the changes but if one makes voracious reading an inseparable part of his life then he can achieve it very easily. Without continuous reading and learning one can fall behind easily. For example, a divorce lawyer needs to stay updated regarding all the changes happening in divorce, family, custody, and children laws.
2. Keep improving your communication skills
One of the best qualities of a lawyer is the way they talk, whether it be with a client or in a courtroom in front of a judge. They are supposed to be calm, collected, and confident while presenting your case. But if you stumble over words or not sound confident or conveyancing in what you are presenting then you may lose the case that will put a halt to your success. So for winning a case a lawyer should have good communication skills and shall learn techniques that will help them in improving their communication skills.
3. Develop good research skills
For fighting a case you have to do some background research, technology has made researching simple for young lawyers as now they don’t have to find case laws in SCC or AIR they can easily find it in a few minutes on the computer. So good research skills will help in not only speeding up the process but also in ensuring that the result of the case comes in your favour.
4. Be creative and analytical
In order to get success lawyers to have to be creative now and then. Creativity will help lawyers in thinking on the spot solutions, problem-solving, etc. The more you are, the more success will come behind you. With creativity, you need to be analytical as well. A successful lawyer takes in everything he reads, sees, and hears, and then he analyzes it, and comes up with solutions, and applies the one which fits best in the situation. So, take some time and polish your analytical skills, it will surely help you in the long run.
What to learn or remember from your counterparts?
Nowadays, young lawyers do not have a mentor or role models as senior lawyers are too occupied with their work that they do not have time to teach the tricks of litigation to young lawyers, however sincere the lawyer may be. Presently, this is the situation of every young lawyer. He has to look after himself as old guru-shishya parampara i.e institution of a senior-junior lawyer is no more. Because of not getting proper guidance some lawyers leave this profession or some don’t enter this profession.
Earlier young lawyers join the chambers of senior lawyers and learn from them for at least 5 years of litigation skills. The seniors used to allot work to junior and also give them some amount. But unfortunately, this ritual is not alive anymore, as now the senior does not allow the junior to draft or argue the case, they only give them tasks like reading files, watching cases that are listed before the court, and informing the senior when the case is likely to come in court, etc. Because of this young lawyers are getting frustrated as there is no one from whom they can learn the skills of the legal profession. Whenever they get a case they have no option but to take help from a senior lawyer because of which a huge amount of money passes to the senior and peanuts are left for the junior.
Young lawyers have the potential to generate new ideas, but they need to be directed properly by someone who has a lot of experience in the legal world. According to my opinion, there must be a legal obligation on senior lawyers by the Bar Council of India to keep young lawyers for a fixed period and make them learn the skills required in the legal profession.
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