What is the biggest hurdle for young lawyers and law students on the way to success as a lawyer?
I would say it is the general negativity and environment of doom and gloom that every young lawyer in this country is subjected to. Junior lawyers are given horrible advice all the time.
I was watching a video today, where a woman was being interviewed. She was driving a truck. When she was asked, she informed that she is a lawyer, but when her husband died she was forced to turn to drive a truck for regular income.
Here is the link of the video: https://youtu.be/qzNMjp2NKfM
I was appalled. Why is it that a lawyer cannot earn enough that she has to turn to driving a truck?
She didn’t say it was her life’s dream to drive a truck. She was forced to do so in order to earn money. She studied law, practiced law and then left to drive a truck clearly because driving trucks made her more money. So please do not tell me that it is a beautiful thing and that there is nothing wrong with her driving a truck.
It is a failure of the entire system that thousands of lawyers fail to earn a decent livelihood from the practice of law. A primary reason for their failure is that they do not get enough practical training.
It is a bit like engineering education. Technology companies are always short of good techies. Ask me, we have such a great deal of difficulty finding good developers for our tech team.
Still, there are tens of lakhs of engineering graduates who are not finding jobs, because they have not been taught any marketable skills. They got their degree, but they do not know any craft for which they would be hired.
Very sad situation.
This is exactly what is happening in law as well!
So many lawyers are registered to practice in the court without having any ability to getting any work done! They are dependant on their seniors to learn even the very basics. And seniors do not really have the time and someone not even the intention to teach.
Hence it may take a decade to learn what should have been taught in months!
However, injustice does not end here.
I would say that the practical skills in the legal profession are not very difficult to learn. A reasonably clever person can learn all the skills needed to practice law on their own. It may take way more time to do so, but it is totally possible to learn a vast majority of these skills over time on your own, with minimal guidance.
Of course, it is better to learn the same faster, under proper guidance, but learning late is better than learning never. This is why we in LawSikho are thriving – we teach what people learn over many years from their seniors within a matter of months.
However, most junior lawyers do not prioritize learning and are actively discouraged from investing their time and effort towards building a skill repertoire or a client base. They are told to do lame things like reading a caselaw every day that does not help anymore in the age of internet where even clients and interns can find any case law at a moment’s notice.
They are especially discouraged to apply any sort of creativity. They are not taught how to get their own clients. They are not taught how to develop and grow a practice.
Instead, they are told that they need to spend 10 years in poverty, building the elusive face value in the court. They need to start by carrying around files of seniors for a year or two. They are told that if they don’t get a job in a law firm or PSU or MNC, they have no future.
They are told that the only way to succeed in court practice is to keep spending more time in court so judges and lawyers get familiar with you, and then apparently they will begin to refer you cases.
All weakass, ridiculous, unrealistic strategies that do not work anymore even if they did in the past.
Most of all, junior lawyers are subjected to tremendous negativity and told that there are not enough matters in the market itself. In reality, there are huge swathes of unaddressed markets where legal services are not being provided.
Even those who work in law firms face a different kind of negativity. They are brainwashed to think that the world outside is cold and terrible and that you will not survive if you left these hallowed law firms and tried to make it on your own. This is absolutely not true but a vast majority of law firm lawyers truly believe in this.
There are other myths like only children of judges will do well, or that first-generation lawyers are very less likely to succeed in litigation.
What nonsense. It is a tough profession indeed, but why create these stereotypes when hordes of first-generation lawyers are doing extremely well in every single court in this country?
You definitely need to develop the ability to get yourself some clients in order to succeed, and rapidly develop relevant skillsets that you can then demonstrate in your work, in the same way you would do in any other business – networking, building your brand, making your existence known, demonstrating the value you bring to the table, proving over time that you are reliable and you are not going away anytime soon and hence you are worthwhile.
Today I met a lawyer who did her law degree from IIT Kharagpur, and she is specialized in IP. She is being told by lawyers around her that there is very little work in IP in India. Are you serious?
There is not enough IP work?
I do not even know where to begin.
Please stop surrounding yourself with losers who think that there is not enough work in the legal industry, immediately. Please associate with lawyers who have built successful, exciting practices in the last 4-5 years, not the ones who have built a practice 10-20 years back. You will see a huge difference in approach.
I gave this lawyer a concrete plan she can begin to execute in the coming weeks. I hope she would do so and get back soon with some good news.
Btw, when I mentioned to her about the great demand for lawyers in the media industry, she said “but is there much work in media law in India?” I was incredulous. I told her that media is the fastest growing industry in India, and proceeded to tell her all the different kind of media law work existing today. And then I realized, it is the environment around us that tells us all the time: there is not enough work in that. There is not much scope in that. You should do a CS instead. Damn it!
There is not enough scope in sports law? I recently interviewed the founder of Kreeda Legal in the LawSikho office. Check out a snippet of that. Sports law is truly a small niche, but even then Kreeda Legal has grown to over 15 lawyers!
If you are a young lawyer, and your mentors, seniors, etc tell you there is not much scope, or that you need to remain poor for many years to be a successful lawyer, run in the other direction. Don’t take that nonsense from anyone.
There is no harm in starting small if you are not well prepared. But it is a lie that there is not enough money to be made for junior lawyers in this profession. All you need to develop the right skill sets.
And senior lawyers, for fudge’s sake, please stop passing on your failures, rejections, dejectedness, and negativity onto the younger generation of lawyers. There is so much to achieve in the legal profession, so much money to be made, and so many untapped opportunities, that you have only yourself to blame if you have still failed to succeed. And a whole world of changes is on its way, from which the younger tech-savvy lawyers are tremendously benefitting.
If you want to learn how to rapidly develop a law practice with new grammar and new syntax of the world that is emerging from the ashes of the past, please check this out. Just like any of our premium courses, this is also protected by a full money-back guarantee. Here is the refund policy in case you have not read it yet.
Also, here are the courses which can help you to rapidly learn practical skills that you will otherwise take many, many years to learn:
EXECUTIVE CERTIFICATE COURSES
Students of Lawsikho courses regularly produce writing assignments and work on practical exercises as a part of their coursework and develop themselves in real-life practical skill.