- Kinjal Jani
1. How I became an Advocate?
Updated: Jun 3, 2019
A hobby baker, planning to pursue her career ahead in bakery & patisserie industry while in class 12th has now started her journey and has entered the law fraternity, still not knowing how everything will work out eventually. The admission process to the 5-year law degree was quite a struggle as I made my decision at the very last minute and had to opt for a college which was the best available then. However, I managed to later change to a college of my choice. After all, the professors and academic environment plays a crucial role in one’s career development, which I was privileged enough to get. Today, here I am trying to encourage as many people as I can to never lose hope and never give up on their dreams. Yes, these lines look dramatic but they can totally be experienced in reality!
Struggling to choose the stream of education, among the varied choices, after completing my H.S.C. exams, confused, just like every other student, but I, between the Civil Services and the LL.B degree, had one agenda clear in my mind, which was to not opt for B. Com (it was too mainstream for me). Luckily, with the guidance of my family, I somehow made my way and climbed the stairs to try my luck at being a Lawyer.
Initially, I had to face a lot of negativity and even some discouraging talks as to why I had selected a profession with no milieu in law. But that did not stop me from pursuing my degree at any point. In fact, the negativity around me boosted me to prove the naysayers wrong.
The whole perspective about our fraternity changed in the 3rd year of my BLS.,LL.B, when I started my first internship at an esteemed firm in Mumbai. After starting my internship, I realized that practical and theoretical knowledge are two very different challenges to conquer. All the theory that we study is going to help us understand the terms of law clearly, but applying them at the proper place and at the proper time is a skill that is acquired after entering litigation practice and having spent some time in brushing oneself after having fallen down and of course, some bruises to the ego as well. A roller coaster ride in the beginning; which I was scared to step into, has become a much smoother ride now, with fewer bumps along the way. Among a lot of people having no background in law, surprisingly, were the Managing Directors of various well-known firms having its popularity worldwide. A lot of encouraging colleagues around me boosted my confidence to stay strong in the competitive world.
A lot of disappointment comes to those who are big time Bollywood fans and have grown up watching all those courtroom drama movies. (Yes, I was a little disappointed too). The etiquette followed by advocates, the decorum to be maintained in the courtroom is drastically different to whatever we have grown up watching on TV or in the movie theaters. A well-mannered profession that we are into, does not need yelling and a loud voice to prove the point, it is the law that proves its point.
The experience of interning with a law firm molded me into a different person. I began to look at the litigation practice from a different perspective. The deep sea that I had dived into, had brought me close to a sea bed of oysters, some filled with pearls that dreams are made of. Litigation practice is unending in its scope and complexities. I realized that becoming adept at handling litigation will take my utmost dedication and commitment to becoming a sincere student of the law, as every matter tends to present a new law point hereunto not encountered and has invariable something new to teach you. One of the few things I learnt was that, Advocates, Attorneys, Solicitors, Barristers are not mere different words but each word has its own meaning, which requires a lot of study and research coupled with hard work and passion.
The first interview that I ever appeared for, was for the internship; in a state of complete nervousness and anxiety. Fortunately, I got selected and started interning. While assisting the seniors, I gained a lot of practical knowledge in addition to all the theory I had been learning for the last 3 years at the college. While visiting different courts, I noticed the difference in the dress code for the Advocates in general and Senior Advocates in particular, the appropriate manner of addressing the judges and greeting fellow advocates, observing the seniors as they made their submissions before the Court, noticing their etiquette, I realized that I had entered a new world, a world out of the books, in addition to which, I further became familiar with the High Court and Supreme Court websites and a few other websites which are used normally for legal research. I even learnt the basics of the art of legal drafting, which included the drafting of a Writ Petition, Original Application, Notice of Motion, Letters to clients, etc.
After a few months of my internship and meeting Solicitors, I had decided to sign for an Articled Clerk and clear the Solicitor’s exam. After the completion of my internship period, I started looking for a vacancy for an Articled Clerk. But, not everything works out as you plan it to be.! I suffered an injury on my foot which took two long years to cure (Yes, it did take that long!), leaving me devastated, as I had to sit back at home and just read anything I could, that was related to law. I also spent countless hours wondering whether it made sense to think of an alternate career. Travelling and rushing to courts was not even an option at that time and I didn’t think it would be, in the near future as well. However, by the end of my last semester in college, the injury was in the process of healing, but by then, I had very little confidence left in me to join as a junior with any firm or any Advocate.
After consulting the doctors who then gave me the green signal for travelling by train, albeit with a few conditions to take care of the healing injury. I decided to enter the fraternity and started applying for a position as a Junior Advocate, at various law firms, individual advocates etc.; once again nervous and under confident, having self-doubt as to, whether I will be able to give my 100% as an Advocate or not.
However, I gave my first interview at Govilkar & Associates, LLP, with no hopes of getting selected by them, as I seemed to be competing with a few experienced people who had also come for the interview. To my astonishment, I received an email from them within 2 days of my interview to join immediately as a Junior Advocate and be a member of their firm. I willingly accepted this opportunity with a positive attitude that “I can and I will”.
On my first day at Govilkar & Associates LLP, I expected that I would be told to sit in the office and refresh the basics principles of law, read the matters etc. Once again, I was left in shock as the Senior asked me to not only accompany him to the Court along with other colleague but also wanted me to appear before a Judge at the Bombay High Court, for seeking time in a matter. This boosted my confidence. Slowly and steadily, I started loving my job because the positivity that I felt around me, enable me to focus only and only at redesigning and accomplishing different goals at every step. It was after one month of my employment with Govilkar & Associates, I realized that, to become a good lawyer is not only to have a good education and to be aware of different facets of business and industry as well as the functioning of the Government, to be able to properly put forth the case before the Court. I realized that it is also necessary to have a good command over the language. It is not necessary to be an extremely polished speaker, although it helps, but it is more important to be aware of the meanings of the words that are used by us regularly. Words are the weapons of a lawyer!
This is when I understood the importance of the different competitions held during my college days and why I should have participated in them. The law quizzes, moots, judgement writing and the debates would have certainly helped me develop my skills, which, I started developing during my law practice. The teachings of the Professors have a huge impact on us, and I being one of the students, who was able to attend the least lectures at college due to my foot injury, regret that I could not acquire all that knowledge.
Our profession being vast in scope and depth, the important role of an internship and continuously being engaged with multiple law publications (Law Magazines, Videos by renowned advocates etc.), helps you nurture your skills at every step. With every single matter/case we come across, leaves us with a new lesson learnt. Our fraternity has various opportunities open for us to explore. It is during the internship that you can learn these variants available. The terms Civil Practice and Criminal Practice are not as easy to understand as they seem. From Media Law to Intellectual Property Law to Company Law to Specific Relief Act and the list goes on and on. The process of learning is continuous and unending. One can never get bored of being a lawyer.