This article is written by Yash Singhal from Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies, New Delhi. This article specifies methods to manage knowledge inflow during the lockdown period along with the positives of each method or source.
Every individual in the current situation of national lockdown has been affected physically and mentally due to the restrictions placed all around the country. All legal professionals need some sources of their personal interest to manage their knowledge inflow during this period. The online as well the offline sources must be effectively used by them to develop or acquire knowledge for future success. Time is significant for every lawyer, hence, it shall be put to maximum use by them. The article devises strategies to manage knowledge during the lockdown without the need to move out of the house.
Knowledge management during the lockdown
The lockdown has practically confined all people to their houses with all public places shut down and police out on the roads to prevent any unnecessary movement amid the spread of COVID-19 through human contact. The national lockdown, however, unsystematic it would seem, is an attempt to break the chain of the spread of the virus as said by our Hon’ble Prime Minister.
In these difficult times, when we have to spend the whole day inside our houses, it is really important to adopt certain activities to keep ourselves physically and mentally healthy. Physical fitness can be achieved with in-house exercises once a day but the actual issue is with the mental well being which is disturbed with lack of social interaction with the outside world.
Communication through digital means has been the most preferred norm in times of crisis, while the inevitable dependence on technology forced people to learn technical skills in order to engage in ‘work from home’ culture. Even the court proceedings are conducted through video conferencing.
The die-hard critics of technology have also been pushed into accepting it without any arguments as no other option is left with people to keep up with their work. The students have been provided with online material to cover the syllabus so they don’t miss out on anything due to time-lapse in the future or face any disadvantages owing to the pandemic. All professional employees in firms have been receiving online work updates from their employers after separation of work through video conferences.
The productivity of individuals has been affected in this period for they believe that they don’t have any other activity to engage in since they are restricted to their houses. In this period where we have achieved optimum technical advancement, there is no limitation to the extent of knowledge that can be found online. Keeping this thing in mind, the following pointers are a few modes of knowledge maintenance during the lockdown period for legal professionals to keep them all out of boredom and yet put themselves in a position where they will gain knowledge of some topic in detail.
These points are not exhaustive in nature and it is up to subjective choices of the reader to select those modes that they are comfortable with or search for any other mode online. The basic purpose of the list is to put the free time in use while keeping the productivity intact.
Learning a new language
There is no end to the extent of knowledge one can receive in a lifetime. These words should be the driving force behind an individual’s motivation to gather all sorts of knowledge present in his near surroundings. In these times of globalisation when the national economy has been integrated with the world economy, international travel and communication has increased. The process of outsourcing work to other countries for cheaper costs, better productivity, to decrease the workload of local employees has been adopted. The receiving of consignments from international companies regarding corporate firm deals or signing contracts for any legal assistance or any task thereof.
Every country has a language that is spoken by and understood by the majority of the population, which makes it necessary to learn as many languages as possible and attain some level of proficiency to be able to communicate effectively with those speaking a similar language. Learning new languages would surely increase the horizon of an individual’s reach in the world and communicate the interests in working together with the international clients.
Learning a new language takes time and commitment on the part of the learner, which can only be developed with keen interest in the same. This lockdown period is the perfect opportunity to surf the internet on significant sources through which a new language can be learned. An individual is bound to succeed if he/she is at an advantageous position compared to rest, in terms of added proficiencies.
Learning a new skill
In these intense times, every individual needs to find an activity to divert its attention from the ongoing crisis which has the potential to discourage the strongest of personalities restricting them to the walls of their houses. Prolonged social inactivity might reduce the level of productivity of people that they are capable of in normal conditions, in which case, physical or mental activeness needs to be maintained by learning a new skill.
There is no specific list as to which skills can be learned in this period but the individual has to choose according to their interest. There are various fields of skill set but only a few are mentioned in the article:
Reading is one of the best skills a legal professional can develop in their lifetime. There are far too many positives of reading, from extensive information on a particular topic in a knowledge-based book to a fiction-driven story that can develop the creativity of the person. An interest in reading can help the individual increase the reading speed over time which could be beneficial as they will be able to read long judgements in an instant while understanding everything contained in it.
Apart from books, there are other sources available as well, a thorough reading of which is essential for the overall knowledge of people. Regular blog posts on iPleaders blog are a must-read for all law students to get all information regarding a topic at one place in simple language. Newspapers are an amalgamation of all news articles covering fields of interest including- national, international, business, sports news for all sorts of enthusiasts. An avid reader of newspapers is well aware of the happenings in the whole world and puts the person into a position to form opinions on all political, social, cultural issues.
All legal competitive examinations contain a portion of General Knowledge that makes it even more important for the aspirants to follow every news article to become up to date with all information from around the world. Regular reading exercise would be a fine mental activity during the lockdown to keep the person in good stead and maintain the knowledge base of the individual.
Writing is an important skill required by everyone, especially law practitioners. Writing research papers and judgements are some areas where writing skills are very essential in the field of law.
The submissions made in court are to be drafted with precision with zero errors where the drafting skills of the litigators and law firm employees come into fore. These drafting submissions include drafting contracts, deeds, etc.
The writing skills are improved by making an initial draft of an article or a judgement and subsequent drafts until a final draft is reached that includes every minute information that the writer wanted in them.
The grammar, punctuation, spelling, and vocabulary are some basic skills required for writing an accurate write-up. Every company in the market has a website to reach out to its target audience which is an amalgamation of every service the company provides to the customers or clients. These websites are incomplete without the content which is the task of the content creators to present in ways that can attract people to consume their services while providing substantial details of the services they specialize in. The legal content writers are employed to write legal content on the websites.
People need to brush up on their basics of fundamental principles of writing. Write on a regular basis to get a knack of writing, then proofread the write-ups as if it’s their job to analyse different articles.
A companion to write with would motivate them to improve their skills by learning from each other, read other judgements to understand the structure while not losing out on the relevant information, start with writing brief articles on issues that one associates with or is interested in or admires the most. Every write-up should have an outline drawn before the actual piece to not miss out on any detail which the writer wanted to include but forgets in the process.
Every individual is expected to know a certain level of computer skills to be able to handle technical work with less manpower in less time. Computer skills are a mandatory prerequisite to employment terms and conditions as these skills are considered essential for the employee in order to be an asset to the company.
In recent times, when work from home culture is the only alternative left with the people, computer skills of the people are tested to the helm with all kinds of official interaction done over computers. The judges and the advocates are carrying out the court proceedings over computers. The ones who are not competent enough with the computer applications are suffering during this lockdown, this calls for learning of computer skills for youth that include young lawyers, freshly graduated lawyers, law students and aspiring lawyers to prepare themselves for any such future inconveniences.
The computer skills might range from simple software applications such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Powerpoint, Microsoft Excel to complex skills such as learning to use cameras for video calling and conducting video conferences over computers.
The art of communication is the primary skill required by a lawyer in a social setting to be able to express their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and ideas in a way that is comprehensible and encoded by another person to mean the same message as the person communicating it had.
Communication skills are preferred over any other skill as the person with the ability to express correctly has better chances of corporate or litigation success than those who are aware of the stuff but lack adequate communication skills. The court proceedings are a battle of communication skills of two lawyers, the one with better skills gets the judgement in its favour.
The communication skills are effective ways of using appropriate words in a simplified manner for everyone to understand the message. It is developed by continuous practice of trying to communicate with others through oral or written means.
The online courses available over the internet is a significant way to manage knowledge during this period. These courses are provided for various fields by different institutes/organisations/persons on their websites or youtube. Lawsikho provides a wide range of online law courses to be taken advantage of by people during this period.
These courses may be free of cost or charge affordable fees for certificate courses, which contains the learning videos along with questionnaires at the end of these videos to test the understanding level of the individual. The certificate is provided after a prescribed time duration of the course and an assurance achieved by the course provider over the capacity of the individual in that particular course. These online courses are more effective ways of learning complex courses in a short span of time than going for an offline course which costs more.
The person has the option to watch the course video number of times while going at a speed that is suitable to them. These online certificate courses are identified everywhere in all the firms as an achievement of the person.
Accessing free journals and books
The Internet has a plethora of online free journals and books which can be accessed at any time with just a simple click sitting at home. These journals and books can be downloaded by individuals in the pdf form and be read in the comfort of their bedrooms.
Journals and books could be hired from a library but even that is limited, in terms of only limited stock available, added to which the lockdown has also restricted that limited stock. The internet does not have any extent to which the resources are available for free of cost, either full text or their interpretation in the perspectives of different judges or their reference in different cases. The law journals are a set of research papers in different fields of law.
The ideas learnt from the sources are articulated further in the future as precedents or improve the society in ways specified in these journals and books. It increases the analysis capacity of the individual to use them in his/her own benefit during a case in the future.
There are numerous online and offline ways to maintain the inflow of knowledge during the lockdown period. All individuals within their capacity and interests have a plethora of choices to choose from to keep them busy while gaining knowledge. Learning a new language, learning a new skill, online courses and access to free journals and books are few examples of available sources which could be utilised by people to increase their creativity in unimaginable ways. These sources are not limited to any profession but are significant for legal professionals in every walk of life.
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