Would you be Nani Palkhivala if you read and understood his books? Would you become a Zia Mody simply by learning corporate law?
Was Seervai a great lawyer because he knew constitutional law? Is ‘knowing’ or ‘understanding’ law all that is important to the making of a great lawyer?
What about the difference created by high-paying clients, valuable relationships with stakeholders, social skills and political connections? Are these restricted only to the rich?
There are many human rights enthusiasts in law school. There are many budding M&A lawyers in law school. As many stud mooters in your college. Almost as many toppers across all colleges (one or more per batch). Somewhere, they have exceptional mental and reasoning faculties, which they can use. They read, and study hard before exams. They do their assignments sincerely.
Are you one of the above?
Reading, learning and thinking are good. If not duly channelized, they can potentially lead you to become just another part of the machine, just another cog in the wheel.
Are you an expert? A thought leader? A personal brand? Why not all of those?
Untapped opportunities are everywhere. Reading, learning and thinking are of no use if you don’t go out there and do something.
This is the age of personal networks, relationships, trust and of course – expertise.
Here’s the sketch of an alternate reality:
Find a cause. Do your research. Start a discussion (on LinkedIn, Facebook, your blog, or anywhere). Get views from stakeholders. Do your legal and factual research. File a PIL. Approach the media. Make relationships you make in the process. See if that makes you feel like a great lawyer.