April 9, 2018 at 12:47 am #4405
My son has an MA in history from Calcutta University, and have now taken admission in LLB 3yr course at GLC mumbai and preparing for his final exams. He has been doing an internship with a lawyer in the lower courts, mainly in the NI act and divorse cases, and feels that he should seek experience that will give him an exposure at higher courts. Which area of law should he try first ? We feel that he does not stand a chance in the business law or companies law segment. What career advice can you give ? All his applications have yet not received a positive response yet.
April 9, 2018 at 9:55 am #4412
Dr. Ashok DhamijaAdvocate
It depends more on the interest of the student and his background. For example, some lawyers do not want to practice in criminal law, as a matter of choice.
Major branches of law in which there are good number of cases available are: criminal courts; regular civil courts, service law, etc. Yes, it is true that there are a large number of cases relating to cheque bounce and matrimonial matters. There is a better chance for a beginner to get cases in these types of matters, more so if he is a first generation lawyer.
Number of cases in the company law would be comparatively less, and majority of such cases go to the established law firms. Usually, big corporates have regular arrangements with established law firms and they may not trust newcomers or individual lawyers. So, if the student is willing to join some law firm as an associate lawyer, then he can consider business law and company law, etc. Individual practice in these branches at the initial stages of practice is generally difficult to establish.
Since most of the initial cases that a lawyer would get come from his contact circle, such as friends, relatives, colleagues, known persons, the student should also try to ascertain what type of cases can come to him from his contact circle. For example, if the student is from a service class family (i.e., his parents or other relatives are Government servants), there is a likelihood that he may get some service law cases from the friends / colleagues of his parents.
If the student is from a lawyer family, then of course, he can concentrate on the branches of law in which his family members are already established.
During internship, the student should at least try to learn about the major branches of law, in which maximum number of cases are registered. This is applicable more in the case of a first-generation lawyer.
If he is interested more in joining as an associate / junior of some lawyer or in some law firm, rather than establishing his own independent practice, then of course, he can choose his branch as per his liking.
Internship is more of a familiarisation process with the legal system, including the courts. Ultimately, he would learn when he starts practice. My experience has been that when you finally practice in courts, your knowledge of law (substantive laws as well as procedural laws) will help you 90% of the time and the court-craft (including arguments inside court, mannerism, filing of cases in courts, etc.) will help you only about 10% since the latter part is not much difficult to learn. So, while internship may help to some extent, ultimately it is your actual knowledge of law that matters more. This is what one has to learn during LL.B. But, when it comes to getting success in law, if you want to practice independently, initially at least, your contact circle will matter more than even your knowledge of law. Initially, you’ll get cases from your own circle, as I mentioned above, and not on the basis of your knowledge. Over a period of time, of course, if you can establish yourself as a good lawyer, the chain reaction starts and your good work starts fetching you more work, by word of mouth, etc.
Dr. Ashok Dhamija is a New Delhi based Supreme Court Advocate and author of law books. Read more about him by clicking here. List of his Forum Replies. List of his other articles. List of his Quora Answers.
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