CHALLENGES FACED BY FIRST GENERATION ADVOCATES
What do you do?-is a serious question which most likely we do not care while answering somebody but still gives a chill and makes you think that “what are you actually doing in your life?” Questions are good to ask and most of the times you feel like you are the boss! So is the legal profession. A layman is unable to understand the legal language in our country, even a simple document is drafted in such a way that he needs someone from law background to translate it into a common man’s language. First generation advocates are same as that ‘layman’. A first generation lawyer need somebody as his guide who can tell him at least something about this ‘noble business’. Being an outsider or first generation is like “harvesting in famine because you have to believe first then you have to find certain measures to transmit your belief into results.” ‘Noble business’ because you need to have some sort of business tricks to establish yourself in this ‘noble profession’. Business training helps people to expand work opportunities. Indeed, many of us despise to admit but this is the harsh truth about litigation.
Therefore, first believe and find measures. There are some challenges faced by first Generation Young Lawyers:-
1. Zero Practical Experience-You just got out of your law college so definitely you are inexperienced in practical field of work nor your family member is in this field of competition to support you. Your family invested hard enough to send you to law school and supported you all along. Having zero experience creates a huge trouble for first generation lawyers.
2. No Financial Assistance- A freshman has nothing in his pocket and many seniors are witnessed to this. Your experience in law field is zero and your knowledge is limited so who will pay you on the first day of your work. It is quite impossible if your senior would pay you even after a month. Obviously you have to earn your paycheck with your hard work.
3. Identity Crisis and Competition in Peer Group- You might be one of the best students in your college and used to get excellent grades but no one cares about your good grades in litigation. All they want a hard worker and quick learner junior. You might feel peer pressure. Some might be doing better than you in your opinion but trust me all are stuck in their own way and feel the same as you. You may have identity crisis as some of your college friends have their parents in law field already and they get ‘success’ sooner than you or people in the courts treat them better that you. In that situation I would suggest, just chill and focus on your learning and work.
4. Networking- Yes, networking is the tool which makes your life a little bit easier in law practice. Why? Because law is a profession where you need to have “solid connection” and also be called ‘business tricks’. An advocate’s work comes from his/her networks/circle/connections. Now, you might be thinking you have never thought about that. You are right and now you suffer. However, now you have to invest in networking as well as in learning practical aspects of law practice. Grow your circle in and outside the court while you learn the court work and litigation. Not that hard I guess because before you get into independent practice you will have good professional circle.
5. Lack of Mentorship- Most of the law students lack a mentor who can guide them. Who can support and provide a direction to their career. Passing out from non- NLU makes situation quite tough for you because your college might have not provided you certain type of platform which you needed. You have to work on yourself now and be your own mentor and guide. And nothing is wrong in that. Be your own judge-the good one. At the end NLU and non-NLU does not make a difference. All you need is your efforts to do better and grab the opportunities you get and moreover, you all are going to sit in the same court. No matter where you come from.
What Can Be Done Now?
If you are a law student, start building your portfolio. Sharpen your communication skills, grow your networking circle, find other streams of income, get experience-you can go for different type of internships. Find a mentor who can share you his/her practical aspects of the legal profession. Who can teach you about financial independency. Who help you groom your communication skills and gaining different types of knowledge about courts. Being student have limited access to practical world of courts but you are not restrictive to talk to a senior or asking for their advice. You can also join some advocate’s office part time for documentation and drafting.
If you are fresh law graduate or about to enter in to litigation, being a freshman your primary and main focus should be on “learning the work” and connecting to other colleagues and expanding your work circle. You had enough theoretical knowledge and experience in your law school. Now focus on practical learning and establishing yourself in law profession. Find a senior who has at least 15 years of experience in the legal profession. I know it’s odd to ask him for stipend on very first meeting but see the practical approach. It’s better to clear out your stand to crying later that you are not being paid for your hard work and efforts. You are going to work there for 8 to 10 hours without any leave so why not ask for daily remuneration?. Some seniors do pay after a month or two as per their convenience and some do not or just say –“will see your performance and then he will decide”. And he actually start paying you and some do not pay even after their word. This is a place where first learn then earn. And treat this noble profession noble as it is. Law field is a pool of knowledge and learning. Read all type of material-poetry, literature, philosophy, politics, romance and whatever genre you get. A lawyer is a bit of everything. Remember-No one can claim he/she know it all. It’s a process of mastering facts. A master in process. Learn as much as you can. Litigation is not easy but if you have potential then only sky is the limit. “Law is one of the great healing professions. While medicine heals the body and the clergy heals the soul, the law heals societal rifts”- Steven Keeva - Advocate Asha singh advocate at High court of Punjab and Haryana