What do you think Lawyers do?

 

I just got off a call with a young one who called me up to ask me about law as a profession (seeing as how I once used to be a lawyer). I immediately had a flashback to the days when I was mulling over law as a career. Three months away from passing out of school, the last thing on my mind after a full year of drudgery and poring over books was being wedded to more books, but one very, very delusional movie based on a lawyer had me believing that it would be a neat thing to become a lawyer.

Boy, was I in for a surprise!

But there I was, at the cusp of passing out of school, informing my bewildered parents that unlike the millionth cousin/bhaiya/didi next door who picked up commerce or science or engineering, I wanted to be a lawyer. They thought I had lost my marbles! But I was adamant. I filled out forms for various law schools in the country, wrote their entrances, and as luck would have it, got through one. Soon I was packing my bags while my Father looked on disapprovingly, especially because I had rejected a chance to study his favourite subject at a good college – English.

The first few weeks in college were disorienting, to say the least. I don’t think it would be wrong to say that our school systems vastly differ from our college systems. After being spoon-fed in school, in college we were left to fend for ourselves where our Professors would only give us a brief outline of the topic, tell us which books to refer to and leave us to navigate the vast expanse of our college libraries. Yes, we were that clueless.

Here’s an example of just how lost we were –

Professor: You will have to refer to the Bare Act for this course.

Students: Say wha’?

Me: Why ‘bare’ act? (In a low voice) Is it in the nude *followed by stupid, adolescent giggle-fest*.

Professor: No, dimwits! Because it is a ‘bare’ act, only the act, no commentaries or explanations.

Me:                        w8mvc

 

Anyhow, as days passed by, we slowly acclimatised ourselves to legal jargon and legal lexicons. But there always did remain a vast difference in the expectations and impressions of the non-legal crowd vis-a-vis the lawyer reality. For example, my parents back home used to think that my education would give me a free-hand to argue with anyone I wanted to (I had a reputation already). My friends thought I was pretty studious. My neighbors thought I was going to make it big someday, looking at the tomes of books I used to lug around, and strangers who came to learn that I was a lawyer thought I was like Harvey Specter (cha-ching!).

But here’s what most young lawyers actually end up doing for quite some time in their formative years – heads bent over a fat book, or pressed to their computer screen, going through page after page of filings, drafts and case laws. The only interesting thing that we can look forward to is the tea-break gossip or the boss making a mistake (a rarity)! The featured image at the start of the post is one I’d taken while I was spending the 5th consecutive day in the college library trying to prepare for a mock trial.

Ours is one of the most misunderstood professions out there, I feel. There have been times when I’ve come across people accusing us lawyers of being leeches or being shameless for defending, say a criminal. Why? When doctors can save one without having a blot on their reputation, why can’t we?

This picture pretty much sums up how vastly varied outlooks on our profession are –

 

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So when that poor kid asked me, “Didi, what do you think, is Law a good profession for me?” I told him – I hope you didn’t come up with that idea while watching Suits. Turns out, I was right.

I still told him he could do well if he swore to marry books and spend endless hours in research  while not complaining about barely making minimum wage, at least for the first few years, all of which he assented to. So I sent him off with my blessings.

 

But here’s my question to you, dear readers –

 

What do YOU think we lawyers do?

 

I’d love to know your thoughts on this. Thanks 🙂

 

Till Later!

 

©Pradita Kapahi, 2016

Picture Credits: https://imgflip.com, https://thedailychelle.wordpress.com and Pradita Kapahi

29 thoughts on “What do you think Lawyers do?

    • Hmm. In a way you’re right. But the law doesn’t let that happen endlessly. You have to have a very solid reason for taking an adjournment or else you’re slapped with a fine or your case decided on merits. Thank you for the reply 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Well, i think the entire lawyers fraternity have the responsibilty to protect law and ensure that justice is served come what may….but u talked about the profession being underestimated and blotted with dark labels, i think this cannot be generalised but yes there are lawyers who knows to play the system and prevents justice to get served….for instance take vijay malya case, the lawyers of nirbhaya case.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, I am sure they don’t save their clients as easily as they show in the movies. Going by the amount of research they seem to have done about their opposition (sorry not sure of the exact legal term for this), it appears that are more of detectives than lawyers. I have always wondered about the true nature of proceedings in a court house.

    But I think I like the concept of how you have the power to change the course of a verdict based on how you convince people to see your side, be it true or not.

    Can you suggest some movies/documentaries where actual court proceedings are shown in the manner they take place in real life?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with your comment. Because the police force of our nation is oh so vigilant l, us lawyers have to sometimes become sleuths, and might I add, we make rather good sleuths. I have till date to watch a movie that is true to the Indian court scenario. They say Pink comes close but I haven’t watched it so I can’t comment on it. Like I mentioned in my post, a ‘delusional’ movie led me to believe that law was fascinating. There are a couple of good Hollywood movies that accurately portray the court scenario in the US or UK, but I take those too with a pinch of salt. One of the law based movies I like are A Time to Kill. Check out Kramer v Kramer too. And if u really want a weepy one, watch the rainmaker. Thanks for checking out my post 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. White dress requires a lot of maintenance. In fort area in Mumbai as college kids we used to frequent the NCC building behind Elphinston college, old Secretariat. And we admired the smartly turned out lawyers in their crisp white dress and coats usually thrown on the arms. And Mumbai is humid all year round.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post I think the law profession is the most misunderstood career out there. I’m currently in law school and just started a blog about what we really go through check it out
    Talesofanaspiringlawyer.com

    Liked by 1 person

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