This article is written by Anant Bajpai, a student pursuing BBA.LL.B(Hons.) at Centre for Legal studies, GIBS, Affi. to GGSIPU, Delhi and Anurag Kumar Tewari, a student pursuing B.A. LL.B. at D.E.S Shri Navalmal Firodia Law College, Pune.
The crisis that the world by and large is facing because of the rapid and wild spread of coronavirus is not only unprecedented in contemporary times but also it is very harmful on various fronts. Nearly the entire world is in the lock-down and just essential services are allowed to function. But on the other hand, we are sure that mankind will find its way to turn down this novel coronavirus, however, the immense and unfathomable harm which this crisis is causing before it passes must be considered with a view on moderating and easing the subsequent conditions. As we don’t know how the world would look after the fallout of Covid-19. Certainly, numerous things would experience a drastic change, from our eating patterns to cleanliness and way of life.
Covid-19 has fundamentally changed the whole world. In today’s world practising social distancing, work from home, virtual learning, virtual hearing are the new trends. The traditional market system has completely toppled down, the people around the globe are living with lots of uncertainty. With Covid-19, business and industry are getting lesser in the affair. The economy is in doldrums, with pay cuts, it is bound to reduce the number of employed people. However, In the Legal profession, things are going to take a paradigm shift, with that legal professionals will have to cope up with the challenges. The involvement of technology in the legal world in India is minimal, But in the coming days, the legal arena of the country will be going through a drastic change. Therefore, to overcome with these challenges, law firms and advocates will have to mend their ways of working in the profession.
Career in Law & Challenges
According to Pound, “Law is a social engineering tool. Law is a building procedure. It gets a start from a scratch. Building blocks are to be put one after another, there are no shortcuts to building an efficient carrier in the field of the legal profession. Law is closely interwoven with right in rem. The economy is in the doldrums. The present scenario has resulted in hampering recruitment and dampening down the number of hires planned for this year. The courts are going to address limited issues which will further put limited jobs opportunities. It will also affect the young minds to prove their calibre in the courts, who will have limited facets to showcase their brightness.
The Covid-19 pandemic places students in challenging financial positions as many are unequipped to manage unforeseen expenses due to extended timelines. Thousands of young graduates across the nation are facing uncertain futures and experiencing high levels of anxiety and fear about the future of their academic and professional careers. The pandemic has made it harder for the youth to find their ideal jobs and candidates may have to lower their expectations and standards.
Influence of technology
Technology will make things much cost-efficient and will impart transparency in the system. Internet access is a boon. Technology has given an edge and facilitated the expansion of the legal profession in a true sense. Artificial Intelligence has transformed the role of lawyer’s potential. With a drop of a hat, it provides immense legal information thereby making clients well informed and aware of its problem. Though its defeating the role of lawyers, yet lawyer’s skill is offering to be an edge over AI as natural intelligence and reasoning coupled with human analytical and empathetic nature cannot be compared.
The Covid-19 pandemic has shaken lives deeply. Amid the all overrunning vulnerability instigated by the pandemic, the fresh graduates find it tough to keep themselves motivated throughout this difficult situation. The Legal profession has taken a new dimension. It has now become a typical contest of survival of the fittest.
Suggestions for fresh law graduates during COVID period
“With every challenge, there’s an opportunity waiting.” As rightly said by PM Modi “turning the disaster into opportunities”. Utilizing innovation to network and taking additional courses can enable these fresh graduates to hit the ground once things get back to normal. Many individuals will look for some kind of employment searching for occupations, requiring some investment ahead of time to consider what additional knowledge and experience will help them get ahead can offer an invaluable edge.
While the coronavirus pandemic maybe incalculably tragic, it should have a limited long-term impact on the legal field. Unlike the Great Recession, which was caused by structural weaknesses in the finance markets, a recession due to reduced economic activity during a public health crisis could be more short-lived.
Due to present crises, it has given a positive boost to the adoption of digital technology in the legal profession for bringing in a new evolution which has paved for new opportunities for dynamic and updated professionals who can provide services from their respective homes.
“Sweet are the uses of adversity which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head.”
– William Shakespeare
The Covid-19 has just strengthened the pattern of utilizing social media and the web for correspondence. Before the lockdown seminars, conferences, public gatherings, workshops and meetings involved a thriving industry. But now it has brought a halt to the entire set of events. The lockdown and the Work from Home have prompted a lot more noteworthy utilization of apps like WhatsApp, Webex, Skype and Zoom, particularly in business, for gatherings and conversations. Presently, directed by the requirement for social distancing, even academic and common social circles have turned to utilize this as a stage for intellectual discussion.
This has led to the introduction of esteemed panellists across the nation and globe able to address the legal fraternity, thereby imparting legal dialogue/education in the webinars. This can be seen as an opportunity to connect with the targeted audience and gain a competitive edge.
“John Grisham in his book ‘The Rainmaker’ has given a deep-rooted practical message that there is nothing like completeness in a man’s ability, but it’s a process of constant evolution thereby filling up one’s greyscale.”
“Stay in India, study in India” is going to be a new the slogan for all fresh graduates who had made up their minds to pursue masters or further education in foreign universities for at least a year or two post-pandemic, this can be utilised by the system/administration by providing platform for the research skills so that the brightest and the best students can be chosen for academia within the nation rather than contributing to foreign universities.
To quote Hon’ble Supreme Court judge, Justice Madan Lokur – “Indian Law Students when in India are not able to contribute to research projects effectively, but the same students when goes to foreign universities, bring laurels”. This lockdown period has provided an opportunity to introspect, inspire, engage, transform and connect with young minds. Principal demand for quality of lawyers has increased over the period occasioned due to socio, political, economic developments which have set up the high standard for the selection process for the lawyers in different job profiles, the pandemic has just put more to it. Struggle and desperation during the earlier phase is the essence of future success. Through will, endurance, persistence and perseverance the legal profession can give amazing vertical growth. It is inevitable to have foresight on the future, thereby having a multidimensional the approach towards the career aspects are essential.
Opportunities for fresh law graduates
Unlike the financial crisis of 2008, companies are still recruiting fresh graduates. If we look into the legal field there are some areas which are going to create tons of opportunities for fresh law graduates are,
Mergers and Acquisitions: The historical backdrop of the recession has shown that the small scale players often get cleared out, so for such small scale players to endure they should search for consolidating themselves with big scale players.
Labour and Employment laws: With developing disputes between the employer and employee post-Covid-19 situation, legal advisors would have abundant opportunities to exhort to amicable resolution under the new labour laws system.
Outside court Settlements: Out of court settlement, negotiation, conciliation and arbitration will be looked upon for cost, time and value addition for resolving the disputes amicably rather than prolonging the matter for a court hearing.
Rent defaults/disputes: After the notification of the MHA regarding the payment of rent should not be pressed, would raise the number of disputes among the tenant and owner.
Non-performance of Contracts: Force majeure, one of the most questionable topics in recent times of pandemic for its applicability in contractual transactions.
Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code: The legislation of one in itself enacted for time-bound recovery of debts from the defaulters will act as armament in time of this catastrophe.
Criminal laws: The law involving IPC, CrPC, and Evidence Act might see a gush in issues of criminal proceedings.
Association with an NGO: An NGO association plays a pivotal role in the life of a law student, as it allows to work on varied problems prevailing in our society, which can be facilitated through legal skills and learnings and it ultimately results in the all-round development of the person. It not only helps evolve the student but results in the upliftment of the underprivileged, downtrodden and marginalised sections of the society, which is the sine qua non for achieving the objectives of an NGO.
Judicial Activism during Lockdown
The Indian Judicial framework rapidly and productively moved from its old fashioned way to deal with another innovative methodology with virtual courts and e-filings to guarantee that the equity conveyance framework is not stagnant. The decision of embracing technology has reduced the footfall in court premises, which eventually saved a large number of people getting affected by the Covid-19 and also balanced out the loss of justice system in society. The coronavirus emergency has empowered courts far and wide to discover creative methods of delivering justice.
The Apex court has reportedly heard more than 15,000 matters through the medium of video conferencing since March 23, when the lockdown was announced in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Apex Court completed 100 days of virtual court hearings and disposed of approximately 4300 cases till now. Whole 1022 Benches were constituted to hear the cases, over 50000 advocates appeared before the virtual courts. Procedures have been laid down for e-filing of cases.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made numerous difficulties that will have long-lasting impacts. However, it additionally offers numerous novel open doors for new law graduates to learn and contribute. Although, core foundations will probably profit by the scope of advancement during the pandemic in one’s career. It is fundamental that difficulties of new law graduates are recognized. During the current pandemic, Work from home has given a seamless experience and shown how things can be managed efficiently irrespective of demand. With the dependence on technology, video conferencing has exponentially increased and has proved how with the adaptation to technology, the needs of the clients can be met. Efficient utilization of innovation in network and additional courses, diplomas, and certificates under taken by these fresh graduates will enable them to hit the ground post-pandemic. Inculcating the negotiating skills with a business mindset and multidimensional specialization imbibed with human empathy will help fresh graduates for vertical growth in the profession. Therefore, In the present scenario when globalization is sure to take a cataclysmic blow, it is a high time to adapt emerging technology in the legal profession which will help to minimize the burden upon the legal structure country.
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