A Lawyer’s Staircase

Well it is unusual to start an article like this, but the topic that I am going to discuss about, is not what you discuss every day. The thought on how to become a lawyer dates me back to my School days, preferably in those days of my summer of my 9th grade. In India, unlike most countries, what you want to become, starts it initial stage from High School itself where, one needs to select a stream, which mostly determines the profession in future you shall be opting for. It is quite difficult for a 16 year old kid, still in his own world of teenage, to decide what he would like to become, and to make it a little worse, deciding on to become a lawyer at this stage, hats off.

On a light note, if you really aspire to become a Lawyer or wish to be part of the ‘system’ either through Legislative or Executive or Judiciary, you will always get the advice for studying law. But before you opt for these professions ask yourself, what do you really wish to do and how will having a law degree be beneficial for you, because at the onset of your Life, the only reason you want a degree is to earn. And as people say do what you love, choose the profession which is your hobby. I will be honest to you here, Law can never be someone hobby, and if you think arguing is your hobby, perhaps visiting a Psychiatric is better option for you.

Coming back to where I left, to become a lawyer you should know why you want to do it. The biggest challenge I faced was perhaps in deciding on the stream I would like to go ahead with. When you’ve an amazing friend circle, most them willing to do engineering or wish to become CA or Doctor(s), you start inkling towards these professional lines as well. But if you really want to understand the reasoning behind what governs us and who is above all of them, well Law is the most apt option for you.

The first stage in becoming a lawyer is to determine at least 2 year before you appear for law entrance examinations that you want to do Law and wish to become a lawyer. In a profession like ours, it is a necessity to be patient; one could say need of the profession. The question you would be asking yourself why I should start preparing at least 2 year prior for the entrance examination when the paper asks me questions on English, Mathematics, Reasoning, General Knowledge and Legal Affairs. Well don’t be dumb enough, the answer is lies in the very fact that they are not marking you on your Curriculum or any concept based on them, rather they want to test your common sense, your horizon of knowing the world around you. In very blunt terms, to crack a law entrance test, blonde or any student waking up before the exam and appearing for the test, should thank his starts that his parents could afford their child wasting money on the test.

One should focus less on Legal Affairs and Mathematics at least 2 year before the examination, rather should read more and more articles to improve their English, write blogs or essays or articles, to improvise and increase their vocabulary, further, most important of all, one should read newspaper every day to keep themselves updated about the General Affairs, apart from this you should also recall and revising Social Studies covered during Grade 6 to Grade 10 under CBSE. The next thing you should start preparing is, your reasoning and aptitude. The reasoning section, on the other hand involves exercising your brain and testing your analytic aptitude. It is very important for lawyer to analyse, reason and argue with logic.

If, you’ve command over General Affair, English, and Reasoning, which can easily be achieved by reading, writing and solving respectively, clearing the examination to become a lawyer will be cake walk for you, as on Legal Affairs and Mathematics, one could master it by starting a year before the examination. And then the D day appears. Once you clear your law exam and get through a law college, your actual preparation for becoming a lawyer begins.

The way I look at it is, it is not necessary in which law school you attend, but it matters what you learnt and if you are graduating amongst the top students of the batch. One wise man told me, that the Top of a Ladder is always empty and waiting for you to reach there. Yes, I do agree to his views, but question before us, the budding lawyer is how?

Before I answer that question, I would like to make note that if you plan to become a corporate lawyer, the Law School you are graduating from will make a difference, but, it will not make a difference if you’ve other options as a lawyer to explore. In today scenario, a position of lawyer has drastically changed from working under a banyan tree outside court to working in multistory air-condition offices. A person not from recognised law school can also reach the top of the ladder with his determination, dedication and hard work.

The most important factor which determines your legal career ahead, is the places you do your internship. I would suggest, unlike others, that intern everywhere from NGO to Law Offices to Lower Court, High Court and Supreme Court to Cooperate Offices or LPO in your initial 3 years of Law School, due to the very reason that you’ve just created your interest in legal affairs and what is the subject that you are more fond of could be determine once you practically work on that subject. It would be highly recommended that an interest in either field of law from various available options is generated due to more reading and learning about the law. If someone asks me today, I would say WTO Law. To answer why, because I have created my interest in this subject over the period of span by reading on this subject, learning about the subject and following the recent developments, which is all you require to do.

There are certain co-curricular activities that will help you build you interest and assist you in becoming a good lawyer such as Moots, Trial Advocacy Competition, Client Consultation Competition, Mediation and Negotiations Competitions. These activities help you having an understanding of law better, make you research unfolded areas of law and let you argue on academic questions of various loopholes in law or trending issues in law. If one would work hard in such a competition, it would not only help you have an in depth understanding of the subjects of law, but will also create you interest in these subjects because that is something you be through with.

Lastly, if you are looking for a corporate job it is necessary, not only for you to evolve yourself academically, having achievements in co-curricular activities, but you should also make a niche in the extracurricular activities like MUN’s, Parliamentary Debates, Singing, Dancing, Sports, etc. If you are studying in a law school not ranked amongst top 20 law school of the countries, I will advise you to work on your Co-Curricular and Extra-Curricular activities and have achievements there as well to be recognised by the top corporate houses or top law firms.

Additionally, certain Student Exchange Programs, attending Conferences (both nationally and internationally), having diploma(s) or attending certificate course(s) in specialised area of law will make you closer to your goals, at top of the ladder. Unlike a corporate lawyer, if you wish to litigate and argue cases in the Courts, the best apt options for you would be doing as many as moots, and Trial Advocacy as possible and writing papers / articles / essays on the subject of Constitutional Law, Criminal Law and Civil Law. But in order to learn, how to argue, what to say before the judge, the best experience can be gained through internships at the courts and chambers of various lawyers where one learns from consultation of client to filing an affidavit to arguments on the merits of the case. Presenting a case before the judge is not an achievement, but presenting it with articulate manner, conclusive evidences, and reasoned logics backed with authorities is what makes you a better lawyer.

Without imparting anymore words of wisdom, to conclude, the process of becoming lawyer can start anytime you feel you wish to be one. But to become a good lawyer, the preparation starts at least 2 year before the law entrance examinations, and goes to your performances during the law school, concluding with your appearance in Bar Examination and / or joining a corporate house or LPO. And all that is require to be on the top of the ladder is your patience, dedication, hard work, determination, diplomacy (at times), and most of all a defined set of goals which modifies according to every step you climb.

by Ridhish Rajvanshi

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