Charles Dickens said it right: “If there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers” . There are many good lawyers in India. But Nanabhoy Palkhivala, Ram Jethmalani, Harish Salve, Fali Nariman and Jehangir Sorabjee are the five renowned lawyers who inspire me most. It’s nearly impossible to give an idea about their vast achievements and great qualities within an article, but let me try.
5 Renowned Lawyers – My Inspiration!
Image Source: libertarianism.org
Palkhivala is “a man of genius who never lost the virtue of humility; a man of singular simplicity graced with unbounded warmth and kindness, a man of letters as much as of the law”.
- He was born on 16th December 1920 in Bombay and after leaving his footprint on the sands of time he died on 11th December 2002.
- He was an Indian Jurist and an economist too.
- In his school days, even though he was hampered by a bad stammer, he was a dedicated scholar and excelled.
- His incredible professional success inspired several generations of youngsters to improve their own performance & become better professionals.
- He entered into the bar in 1944 and served in the chambers of the legendary Sir Jamshedji Behramji Kanga in Bombay.
- He quickly gained a reputation as an eloquent and articulate barrister. He used to be the center of attention in the court, where law students and younger members of the bar association would flock to watch him.
- Palkhivala used to welcome the legal problems and complications as he enjoys solving these problems as the way ordinary people enjoys solving crossword puzzles.
- Palkhivala did not regard the work as ‘work’ or as something that one had to do to earn a living while craving to do something else. For him, work was itself a source of pleasure; a tool of amusement and something that would refresh him.
- He had an incredible ability of making his argument sound so simple and convincing that the Judge would be left spellbound.
- His speeches are full of quotations, statistics and lots of other information that he would recite from memory and without a single scrap of paper before him.
- He was a stickler for time discipline.
- He received unmounted recognition from academics, academic institutions and the government.
- Every lawyer in his legal career must read about him, he cannot be condensed in few lines.
Ram Boolchand Jethmalani
Image Source: Kollytalk.com
- Jethmalani was born on 14th September 1923 in a small town called Shikhapur, located in the Sindh region.
- He is known as a maverick lawyer with many distinctions to his credits. Genius, flamboyant, and contentious are some of the words that are commonly used to describe his life and career.
- He is the lawyer who got the double promotion in his school and completed his matriculation at the age of 13 years and therefore, he became the youngest lawyer at the age of 18 years, where a minimum age of becoming a lawyer is 21 years. A special resolution allowed him to become a lawyer at his very early age.
- Ram Jethmalani started his career as a lecturer in a Pakistani educational institution.
- Then he started his own law firm with his friend, A.K. Bhori.
- Then he started his new life in Mumbai as a visiting lecturer in GLC, Mumbai and then started practicing law.
- Then in year 1971, he entered into the world of politics by standing as an independent candidate. He is both Indian lawyer and a politician.
- He has served as India’s Union Law Minister and as Chairman of Bar Council of India.
- In 2010, he was elected to be the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association.
- He has represented a sweep of cases from the high profile to the controversial, for which he has often faced severe criticism.
- He is the highest remunerated lawyer.
- He claims that 90% of the cases he fights are free of cost.
- He is also the best criminal lawyer in the country.
- He has been the recipient of prestigious awards such as International Jurist awards, World Peace through Law Award and Human Rights Award by World Peace through Law for his work in against fascism in the Philippines.
Image Source: IndianExpress.com
- Harish Salve was born on 22nd June 1956 in Warud, Maharashtra.
- Today, he is one of the India’s leading lawyers, in the areas of Constitutional, Commercial and taxation laws.
- He is considered to be an all-time favorite professional, the one that we aspire to be.
- Before qualifying as a lawyer, he was qualified as a Chartered Accountant and practiced as a CA specializing in taxation.
- During his CA exams, he failed three times and after failing, he said with a wink,
“Failure teaches you more in life that success does” and so you should never be afraid of failure.
- He is a role model for professionals on how one can balance professional work with his personal life and work hard while enjoying the fruits of that work.
- He is capable of immense hard work and has a never-say-die approach. Like in the case of Vodafone matter, he gave up all other matters to focus on it. During that time he even shifted his office in London for concentrating on it. (Read How India’s biggest tax battle was won and lost – LiveMint )
- He always emphasizes that:
“you must have the ability and the desire to work long hours with great concentration and enthusiasm. You must keep thinking about the matter and always keep your mind open for fresh ideas. And you must never give up.”
- He is totally inspired from Nani Palkivala as Palkhivala use to do a number of matters for his father and Salve was part of that environment. Therefore, he discovered that accountancy was boring and he thoroughly enjoyed income-tax, so he decided to practice income-tax as a lawyer.
- On the personal front, Harish salve is also inspiring for his outlook on life and his obsession with personal fitness. Therefore, he is considered to be a perfect role model for today’s emerging lawyer.
You can learn more about him from Taxtitans.
Fali Sam Nariman
Image Source: dailymail.co.uk
- Fali S. Nariman was born on 10th January 1929 in Rangoon, Burma (Myanmar).
- He is a distinguished Indian Constitutional jurist and a senior advocate to the Supreme Court of India and has remained the President of the Bar Association of India since 1991.
- He is one of India’s most distinguished constitutional lawyers and has argued several leading cases.
- He has also remained as Additional Solicitor General of India.
- He is an original thinker, never willing to give up and always optimistic.
- In a court, while arguing he always think of how a point can make all the difference in the matter, he does not stop thinking of how a new approach or a new angle can make the difference in the matter. He can turn a point around on its head and discover an argument missed by others. That quality is what makes him different
- He is known to be quick-tempered and very impatient with his juniors. A conference with him leaves a person feeling breathless and helpless. He will shoot ten questions at the same time and if you don’t have the quick answers to them, he will glare you down.
- Nariman’s personality also frequently intimidates the judges. They dare not question the propositions of law that he formulates for fear that Nariman will lash out and they will appear ignorant. The foundation to this is the confidence that Fali Nariman will never formulate a proposition that is wrong or can be faulted.
- He came first in his advocate’s Examination and has been awarded the Kinlock Forbes Gold Medal and Prize for Roman law & Jurisprudence. He has also been awarded the Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and Gruber Prize for Justice.
Soli Jehangir Sorabjee
Image Source: DelhiEvents.com
- He is popularly known as “the Brahmin without a sacred thread”.
- Soli J. Sorabjee was born on 9th March 1930 in Bombay.
- He is a leading legal luminary of the country. He brings with him an extraordinary Constitutional knowledge and International experience.
- He is a renowned Human Rights lawyer.
- He has been a Chief Law Officer of India and the Attorney General of India.
- He was appointed by the UN as a special Rapporteur for Nigeria, in 1997 to report on the human rights situation in that country.
- He is a member of the United Nations Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities.
- He has also served as a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague and he has also appointed to hold several other posts.
- Soli Sorabjee is a champion of freedom of speech and expression. He has defended Freedom of Press in many landmark cases in the Supreme Court of India and has been instrumental in revoking censorship orders and bans on publications.
- He was honored with the Padma Vibhushan award, the second highest civilian award in India for his defense of Freedom of Speech and the protection of Human Rights.
- With a lawyer, he is also a prolific writer on the issues of protection of Human Rights, upholding Constitutional Law and Freedom of Speech and Expression. He has also written many books, essays and articles and has been published for the same.
You can learn more about him from Brandeis.
Want to share anything important and interesting about these renowned lawyers that I missed mentioning? Let me know in the comment section. I’d also love to know about the lawyers who inspired YOU most.
B.B.A., L.L.B. (Hons.) IIIrd Year
University of Petroleum & Energy Studies