A few decades back, being a lawyer meant that litigation was your only viable career option, and growth in it was slow. With the emergence of corporate law firms and in-house positions in companies, many ambitious lawyers instead preferred these options owing to concerns about financial security and having a certain career growth path in comparison to a career in litigation, which presented a lot of uncertainty and a very long gestation period.
However, litigation has reclaimed its eminence as an important career option in recent years, for the following reasons:
- It does not take as much time to acquire stability of income as a litigator now, as it used to earlier. You can be financially self-sufficient really quickly if you are ambitious and strategic about some key decisions, such as choosing your senior correctly, taking independent work, choosing your city and the forum you want to practice in, the types of clients you want to work for, the area of law you want to specialize in, etc. You can develop your own practice fast. Many of my friends and juniors from college who started their own litigation firm or their own practice started earning well (as much as their peers in law firms with similar experience, or even more than them) in as little as about 3 years.
- Law firms are increasingly looking to hire litigators. They are building in-house litigation teams to handle different kinds of complex litigation work. They are aware that in the long term, building the capability and track record of handling complex litigation is going to be the key to retaining the edge. It is more difficult to standardize pricing for litigation-related work, and we cannot currently rely on artificial intelligence and machine learning to come up with creative legal arguments or argue in court. Thus, litigation-practices can potentially yield very high profit margins.
- Companies are setting up in-house litigation teams which do a significant amount of strategic, conceptualization, briefing and drafting work, identification of evidence, creation of arguments, etc. to effectively work with external counsel and produce superior results. In essence, except for arguing in courts and the actual filing of the petition, in-house litigation teams end up doing a substantial part of the litigation work for a large company. This produces superior results. You may be surprised to know that a diligent in-house lawyer (in the litigation team) may know more about the specific legal problems pertaining to the sector than an external lawyer, or even a senior counsel.
I have myself witnessed this change over the past few years. Litigation is assuming prominence.
Owing to the importance of litigation skills for a variety of legal careers, litigators have a vast string of backup options, if they want to shift to a different career for some reason.
I can share more about litigation as a career option, but for now, you need to know that a sea of opportunity has opened up for litigators today and is available for you to benefit from. To capitalize on this opportunity, you will need to identify specific strategies you can use to grow at the rate you want to and make the best use of your time.
As you proceed to take decisions about your career, be wary of the several myths about litigation, which still prevail, and be open to questioning them. For example, many lawyers who intend to pursue litigation hear that they must work hard for at least 10 years (before expecting any kind of financial success), or start working at district courts first, learn how trials work, etc.
Another myth is that the only real key to success at litigation is limited to pursuing long-term internships or finding the right senior. While that may lead to a lot of learning, it may not be sufficient for the kind of growth you want for yourself. Internships are too short and too unstructured to really learn a complex skill like litigation, especially from the perspective of building your own practice. It may take a very long time if you exclusively rely on acquiring practical skills and obtaining mentorship from seniors alone. As you pick up their best practices, you are also likely to subconsciously pick up the blind spots of your senior’s thinking.
Remember that many of the seniors who give you advice may have built their practice in a different era, and they may not be able to provide the most appropriate advice on how to optimally use the resources available today to grow faster, such as pursuing online courses, blog-writing, professional networking on social media, etc. Some of them may have themselves not pursued litigation themselves.
In fact, when we saw how the careers of some litigators take off in the past few years, we were ourselves amazed. It was not the trajectory we had imagined for litigation career paths! They had shown us that anything is possible professionally if you work for it.
Given that our work at Lawsikho involves sharing the best career-related learnings and skills for our users, we decided to identify how civil litigation skills could be imparted, if at all.
In this regard, identification of the syllabus for civil litigation took us the longest period of time(almost 2 years to create a syllabus that satisfies us). It was really hard to lock down on the building blocks, because they would form the core for any specialized litigation that a lawyer subsequently performs, such as family litigation, writs, consumer litigation or any other form of regulatory litigation.
We explored what it takes to build a career in litigation by speaking to many practitioners about the work they performed and then invited them to contribute their learnings, insights and templates into a number of courses at Lawsikho pertaining to litigation.
In addition to building mainstream courses on civil litigation, criminal litigation, arbitration with the help of these insights, we also found inroads into teaching regulatory litigation-specific skill-sets. For example, the Diploma Course in Companies Act covers NCLT and SAT litigation, the Executive Certificate Course in Corporate Taxation covers direct tax litigation and the Executive Certificate Course in Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) focuses on litigation work pertaining to the IBC.
We are grateful to Karanjawala & Co. and Santhalia Law Chambers for being our knowledge contributors to the civil litigation course.
Our litigation courses are taken by several corporate lawyers, in-house counsels and practicing advocates who are expanding their practices, and even people who want to learn how to handle their personal litigation matters. Law students who want to prepare in advance for a litigation career also find them extremely useful.
Now, let me share with you some very valuable resources that you are going to appreciate. At iPleaders blog, we published hundreds of articles on litigation and our students keep writing new ones, breaking new grounds. There are literally thousands of articles accessible to you, all for free.
Here are a few articles that may get you started:
- Advantages and disadvantages of practicing in a big city over a small town
- How to transition from a law firm to a litigation practice
- 11 challenges every law graduate faces in the first year of litigation
- Skills for being a successful civil litigator in 2018
- Objections taken in civil litigation
- 10 things to learn about Indian Civil Procedure Code (lawyers learn these in law school)
These are some articles from our blog. Some of these are written by our alumni as a part of course work.
Here are a few webcasts around litigation we thought you’d be interested in:
Priyanka Saraswat, Benefits of Pursuing Litigation in Bombay
Raveena Rai, Surviving Litigation as a Young Lawyer
Krishna Mohan, Commercial Litigation
Chetan Priyadarshi, Going Independent as a First Generation Lawyer
S.N.Thyagarajan, Things You Must Not Do In The First 5 Years Of Litigation
Rohit Rathi, The Journey from Mooting to Courts
Arti Mashru, Online Presence Simplified for Lawyers
We have conducted numerous webcasts on YouTube called An Hour With LawSikho, where industry insiders have discussed their experiences in the legal industry. If you are interested in watching, do drop by at our YouTube channel.
We would love to know more about any pre-existing views you have identified about litigation. Are you willing to reconsider them, after reading this email? We look forward to hearing from you.
If you want to schedule a consultation call with our experts about how our courses will help you take your career to the next level, you can hit reply and let us know. We will schedule a call for you according to your and the experts availability.
Our suggestion is that you think of specific results that you want to achieve in your future and focus on how to achieve those results during the consultation for best results. Make it detailed – think about the types of clients, your earnings, the city and forums you would practice at, the area of law you would specialize in, etc.
You will also have the opportunity to explore how the online courses offered by LawSikho will help you advance in your career.
At LawSikho, our goal is to create a new generation of extraordinary lawyers, and litigation skills are critical. Since you are interested in developing top notch legal skills, you are welcome to the LawSikho community of lawyers and professionals striving to achieve legal excellence.