Most budding lawyers take one of these two paths in their life, either corporate, which is the new norm, or litigation, the traditional affiliation attached with being a lawyer. While litigation deals with actually going to courts and arguing cases, the preparation for the same can be very exhausting. Mooting, an exclusive law school activity, is dedicated to litigation.
So when we explored this career option, we asked a few of our seniors as to how they went about accomplishing their interests in litigation.
One of the most important questions is how to go about internships for pursuing litigation, and whether Internships under Courts and Advocates are the only way to go about it.
We asked Siddharth, a final year BA LLB student at Amity University entering litigation this year, for his advice regarding the field and aspiring advocates.
The field we’re entering has a lot of work with regard to handling cases. What is a good way to approach the cases you get?
Don’t be biased. Start your research on case laws and relevant case laws with an unprejudiced mindset. A good way to approach cases would be to first have a very thorough understanding of facts from both sides. Your reputation depends more on how you approach the case than the court’s decision, so be dedicated and try to be as meticulous as possible.
Given that we need to have more interactions with our client as compared to a corporate sector where you just approach a company, how would you go about accommodating your clients?
Having an extremely professional relationship is advisable for representing a client since you need to be able to offer them the best advice and more attachment often gets you feeling dejected and pulling you down. You need to pass on your extensive knowledge of the field to them in the simplest way and make them understand the consequences of their actions in the clearest terms possible. You are not there to just represent them, but also to advise them so that they don’t commit the same mistakes in the future. Never give them false hopes and always give them the basic touch of reality so that you can manage the situation better.
Now that we know how to approach the cases and the client, any advice on how to win a legal battle, or is that reserved for Harvey Specter only?
Haha, no. Personally, I love “Suits” but in a country like India, most of those tactics fall short on a ground level. The best way to win would be to win from your client- have complete knowledge about them and assure them that you’ll be transparent with them as well. Don’t hide anything for them and make sure they’re able to confide in you, so they don’t hide anything from you either.
Other than that, have a good understanding of the case laws and the relevant sections you’re arguing for and focus on facts, circumstances, questioning any witnesses, and counter questioning those related to the case to have the greatest perspective ever.
Then prepare a brief that tells the situation from your client’s perspective and incorporates the other details too. Provide your client with the best chance at representing themselves, and that’s something you can only accomplish with transparency, knowledge, and perspective.
Most students in law schools tend to take up a lot of internships. How do they help in litigation?
Internships always help in the way that you’re able to learn the nuances of the law in place. In any course, you learn that these laws exist, but it’s only when you start interning do you realise “how” these laws can be used. Be it any kind of internship, it helps you apply your knowledge and makes you more capable of researching things. There is only so much a class can teach you- for example, in class, you may get to learn the provisions of Contract but only in an internship do you learn the kinds of contracts that work in a legal space and their applications to various situations. Therefore, internships always help a student prepare for a career in law more so in other fields even because contrary to popular perception, the law is a very practical field, especially when you’re in litigation.
Lastly, do you think internships at Courts and under Advocates are the only way to a good start in a career in litigation?
To be frank, while it isn’t exclusively advised under any circumstance to only have internships under advocates and courts for a career in litigation since exposure to other fields is a must as well, it is much better in the long term if the majority of your internships center around these themes itself.
It is mainly due to the fact that it is much better in the long term for you to have had extensive experience in the field of litigation itself. Though it will be difficult at the beginning given the lack of comfort in this practice, but the sooner you start, the easier it becomes to adapt. It also gives you a reality check as to how the system works. Clients who want to move to the Court whenever something goes wrong are plenty sufficient and for you to be able to have the exposure for the same from the beginning is something advisable for you to be sure of the path that you’ve chosen and to gain a better standing in the field from the very start.
As such, we see the need for these internships for those invested in litigation and its importance when handling clients and getting a good start in such a tough field.