Trying to succeed in litigation is a lot like batting when you are chasing a big, scary target.
You have to pick the balls you hit out of the park. And there are balls you don’t touch. And of course, from most of the balls, you just try to take singles.
The most important thing is however to stay in the crease and keep playing. You need to stay in the game. You can’t get out. You can’t crumble under pressure. You can’t make costly mistakes.
You start slow. The first 10 overs you are facing the new ball and ferocious pace. You just need 40-50 runs from the first 10 overs. You cannot completely choke and fail to score altogether, or you will be out of the game as pressure builds up. However, at this stage, patience is the key. You need to remember that you need to last 50 overs!
So you watch the balls. You try to get comfortable with the pitch and the game. You get a sense of things. You sense which bowlers are having a great day and who are not. You try to adjust to the tremendous performance pressure.
That’s the life of a beginner in litigation. You are learning the ropes. You do not want to step on any toes. The biggest goal is to stay in the game long enough and not quit because you are failing to make enough to sustain.
You have to take what comes your way and learn. You can’t be too picky about the matters you do. YoUdo not get too cocky with a few successes. You know the time for big hits and amazing rewards are still far away, now is the time to grind on and face the heat bravely, without giving in.
The bravery at this stage is to face the difficulties with a straight face, and not make mistakes by stepping our or aiming for big hits from the wrong balls. You do not want to get trapped. Heroism at this stage marks out the player as a fool who is unlikely to last in the long haul.
At the same time, it is important to play with a straight bat and show some sparks. Punish the stray bad balls. Opportunities will come, and you better recognize and exploit them.
However, the most important thing is to feel grateful because you are even getting to play the game, and the objective is to keep playing. Keep going no matter what happens.
Surely you will make some mistakes here and there, but you got to slow down and contain the damage. You are building the foundation of a big innings. Foundation work is done with diligence, craftsmanship and patience.
I know I said the patience word a lot of times, but trust me I did not say it enough. The P word. You have to get this clear and loud. It is not easy, but you have to stay put.
And you can’t be patient unless you know that you are capable for winning this match, that you can see this through till the end.
That confidence is critical. It comes from practice. It comes from dedication. It comes from tremendous sacrifice. It comes from having put in hundreds of hours in preparation.
That’s where the craftsmanship come from too.
Do not walk into the match unprepared. Hint: take a look at our Litigation Library program by LawSikho. We can give you those hundreds of hours of practice, craftsmanship and confidence that young lawyers need.
Then comes the middle. This is the body if the beginning was the foundation. This is the bulk of it. This is the place to shine. This is the place to do or die.
You still have to preserve wickets and be careful. But you start experimenting. You start showing your creative talent. You need to score some 150-180 in these 30 overs.
This is hard. It takes tremendous form and good skills. But by now you are out of the woods. This is the time to perform and really take the battle to the other side.
You start to go for more big hits. You have now your favourite bowlers who you attack more. Some others you play a little defensively. But you still do not let go of any opportunity to take a single or double. You try to place your shots between fielders to steal those runs.
It is no different for a litigation lawyer. The cases you take now make your career. You get more picky about what you do. You specialise, but you still do not say no to other billable work even if you are doing it for the first time as long as it looks promising, However, there are plenty of matters you will not touch, because that kind of work is not aligned with your career goals.
Knowing what balls to play would still be very important.
It’s beautiful when executed well. It is like poetry. It is a work of art. And it is incredibly rewarding. You know you are dominating, you are on the path to victory. As you progress, you start to see the mountain peak you are trying to climb. It gives you more energy and add a bounce in your walk.
You are now in your natural habitat. A killer in the killing field. This is your time to shine. But at the same time, you hold back a little. It is still too early to go all out. That dance of destruction is reserved for the last 10 overs.
As a litigator, you have your favourite baskets of cases and people know what to bring to you. And you hit those predictably out of the park. But there are difficult balls and you still need to take singles without losing wickets. You take the matters which you are not so comfortable with too, because you need to play them all if you have to win.
You need absolute clarity of mind. You need absolute clarity of purpose. You need a strategy that you will execute until finish line. This kind of feats are rarely pulled off without a plan and a compass. You do not stumble upon such performance ambling about aimlessly.
To do these things you need a terrific coach. You need to be a student of strategy. You need to be a master at learning. To stand out, it takes training and development. If you are not doing it, your middle is going to look lacklustre.
Lot of lawyers start brilliantly but lose wind in the middle. They key is to keep growing. Keep investing in yourself. The match is still left, you have not won yet. This is no time to rest on your laurels.
If you are in the middle and still not investing in your training as a litigator, and hoping to ace it in the field alone, you are going to have a tough time. You are relying on luck. Check out the Litigation Library program. Lawyers in the middle are going to benefit the most from it.
The final dance
The last 10 overs. Not all matches reach this stage. Only the best sides can reach here, after doing well in the first two stages. Otherwise, the match is already over. There are sides that are out of the game and playing these overs just for formality.
However, if you have done your work in the first two phases, this is where you unleash the real show. Now you will score 100 runs in 10 overs. Or more.
This is where heroes and legends are born. Big hits are a dime a dozen.
If you are already here, we are your fans. Please help us to make our Litigation Library even better, and give back to the legal fraternity. Nobody else is doing the kind of work we do, and we deserve your support.
We are at the middle of transforming standards of legal education in India, especially continuous legal education. We are the only one organization in a country of 15 lakh lawyers even daring to take on this problem in any meaningful way, and we need your help. We have been at it for 10 years now, and we are building this innings ground up. Our start was trailblazing. Now we need your coaching, guidance and encouragement.
Our final dance is a long time away. But we can’t wait for it. And until then, we need your support.
And yes, you guessed it right. My today’s mail is inspired by the spirited chase by Bangladesh against Australia in the World Cup. May the best side win.
All the best to you too!