Fate Of Young Lawyers
The current election season for both Lahore High Court Bar Association and the Lahore Bar Association was recently concluded. Some celebrated their fateful victory, while the others have somehow accepted their defeat. A few days back, in consequence of the unfortunate conclusion of elections, I heard one junior lawyer saying, “I have been fired from the job. They say we cannot bear your (salary) expenses”. This is not the story of a single young lawyer who fell prey to the concept of ‘hiring for campaigning’, it would have happened to several others as well.
Although this profession of lawyering comes with its own perks, but traditionally, this is not an easy job to bear with. Either you become something, or you end up as nothing, but ultimately it takes up almost an entire lifetime to yield results. Or let us put it the other way, that it takes an entire lifetime for people to recognize that you can do something too.
The day I formally started appearing before the courts, I was told by one of my seniors, “kitaab kisi ke baap ki jageer nahi” (Urdu translation: the book is not owned by anyone’s father). This was their way of encouraging a young lawyer like me to muster the courage of appearing before a court of law. This was a way to put a hand on my shoulder, and reiterate that I could do something too. This was their way of channeling my deep-rooted belief ‘that the only thing that counts is experience’. This was their way of giving me the confidence to swim against the stream. Actually, this is the encouragement and appreciation that everyone needs before commencing his or her career.
From daily experience, it seems that new lawyers are being persuaded that this is not the place where they belong. This is the place, where being a junior lawyer is the most unfortunate thing that could happen to anyone. Be it your senior, any experienced lawyer, or a judge sitting at a level higher than you, you would find none of them to be on your side once you have committed even a minor mistake. Taking risks and ending up committing mistakes should be part of the learning process instead. Precisely, this should be the only way to move forward.
Very humbly, the members of bench, who are placed at a higher level than other lawyers in this profession, and are an integral part of this legal system, are not even doing any favor to encourage the youngsters. As an alternative, they consider these ‘juniors’ as people to whom they show their wrath. What is being done to them is heart piercing since as soon as one’s senior lawyer appears before a court, one is embarrassed for being completely unsuccessful in properly explaining the situation to the court. I wonder how easy it is for them to get away from such a situation.
At times, I have realized that the phenomenon of having experience and superiority in this profession has damaged the career of many young lawyers. Using experience or superiority as a tool to get away with any situation is not the way forward or attitude appropriate for members of bar and the bench.
But the seniors are not the only ones to be blamed. Another important role in this regard is of the law schools which often lack sufficient training for lawyers-in-the-making during their study period. Apart from a few schools, no proper training for working in the courts or handling novel situations is imparted to law students. As a result they lack the patience and courage to work in this ruthless environment and are therefore are unable to make ends meet.
Besides the important role of the members of the bar and bench, half of the responsibility still falls on the lawyers for them to show their commitment and hard work in this profession. The shortcuts these youngsters have started availing are not going to take them to a better place, instead, it is the courage and hard work that would be of some help. There is no denial of the fact that this profession (including its members) is a tough job to handle, but meanwhile focusing on who you are and who you want to be is an easy way to gain courage and confidence of battling the hardships.
We need to persuade the bar and the bench that we are not the ones who have smaller brains, we are not the ones who cannot explain the laws in more comprehensive ways, we are not the badges and banners of a potential candidate for bar, we are not the ones who would support confessional murderers, we are not the ones who would burn tyres on the roads – instead we are the ones who are clear in our thoughts, the ones who are aware of the integrity and respect of our uniform and the ones who are fascinated by our profession. Among us there are those who still believe in what Iqbal once said, “Jawanon ko peeron ka ustaad kar” (Urdu translation: youth to assume leadership).
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of CourtingTheLaw.com or any organization with which he might be associated.