My name is Aman Prasad. I am 27 years of age and a practicing advocate in the State of Delhi NCR (National Capital Region). I completed my Bachelor of Law (LL. B), 2014-17 from Faculty of Law, Law Centre-1, University of Delhi and subsequently Master of Law in Investment Treaty Arbitration from Uppsala University, Sweden, 2019-2020.
As of now, apart from being an independent legal practitioner, currently handling a few family litigations and an ongoing matrimonial dispute before the District Court, Saket, Delhi, I am currently employed with a boutique law firm named ‘DSNR Legal’ based out of Defense Colony, New Delhi, where I majorly handle Commercial Litigation and Arbitration practices of the firm.
APPROACHES TO LEGAL STRUGGLES
Being a first-generation lawyer, having no prior pedigree within the family, the struggle of a lawyer such as me in a vast populous country like- India are manifolds. Practicing law has never been an easy job, be it for a first-generation lawyer or having a prior pedigree.
However, one cannot deny the fact that individuals with a law lineage, born in law-related cultures and backgrounds are placed much better than a first-generation lawyer. The reasons for this are the archaic model of practicing law and preferential treatment given to a person born with a golden spoon called the all-mighty law. A person being born in a law family is well adept with the basic notions of law, has exposure in dealing with legal matters and an indirect experience of handling clients.
With this being said as a generation in a law family passes by, the legal acumen, as well as clients, get passed on too. One of the most important aspects of undertaking and practicing law for one should be making clientele for his/her own private practice. This clientele for a first-generation lawyer takes years to come by or sometimes built slowly and gradually over a decade. Another aspect of the practical struggle for a first-generation lawyer happens inside the Courtrooms.
There has been an old as well as a recent trend of having the son/daughter of a high-profile lawyer as a go-to solution for complex litigation and representation in the courtrooms. With the ease of which such lawyers mark their representation in the courtroom and get the practical expertise of handling courtroom litigation is sometimes astonishing. Such legal representation since watched by thousands of fellow colleagues, senior and junior members of the Bar, such representational privilege and handling of matters referred through a generation of a client surely lack amongst the first-generation lawyers.
In hindsight, the consequences for the first-generation lawyers is frustration due to the lack of enough clients, legal matters amongst economic hardships and systematic societal discrimination.
Apart from the struggles faced while practicing law as listed above, the recruitment hurdles remain one of the most cumbersome procedures to overcome. By recruitment struggles, I mean struggles of a first-generation lawyer to get into top tier law firm or a corporate organization.
Getting into a Tier-1 law firm or for that matter in any mid-sized law firm for a first-generation lawyer is full of reputational challenges as well as a challenge posed by lack of relevant reference in the field. By relevant reference I mean to say a word of mouth from a lawyer in the family, Senior advocate equivalent to a Queen’s Counsel (QC) in United Kingdom (UK) or a familiar reference in the family holding a top government post.
Speaking from a personal experience, hiring processes in several firms requires a strong connection or a reference to get into your desired post. Sometimes such process turns out to be rather of a boon than a bane as the recruiters across the firm prefer hiring a person of both, reference as well as preference. Therefore, the fact remains the same that there are some tedious and unending challenges for a first-generation lawyer to realize his/her dreams of pursuing law.
TIPS TO OVERCOME STRUGGLES
Following are the tips to overcome practice as well as recruitment struggles faced by a first-generation lawyer like me.
- During the tenure of law school, I strongly advise students to voluntarily and actively participate in various inter and intra moot court competition.
- Apply for Internships, preferably Tier-1 law firms, or any well to do mid-sized law firms. Please note, it is advisable for a law student to pursue all or any areas of practice during the initial years of law. However, it is also advisable for such student to carve out one particular stream of law and area of practice for them to gain technical expertise under time.
- Apply for Judicial Clerkships or Law Researcher posts in various High Courts of India as well as the Supreme Court of India.
- Participate in paper presentation in various legal conclave and conferences, seminar participation for improving professional contact. Furthermore, participating in various workshops for law policy reforms and pro bono legal aid services to underprivileged sections of the society.
- Lastly and most importantly for improving a worth of a law graduate who aspires to apply for higher education like a Master of Law (LL.M), Juris Doctor (JD), etc., National as well as International publications in reputed law journals is a must nowadays. This showcases ones writing, researching as well as analytical skills and carries certain weightage in gaining a potential offer letter from a prestigious law school abroad.
In reference to Point No. 1, 2 and 3 as mentioned above following were the career analysis and the way forward for a first-generation lawyer like me. It is imperative for a first-generation lawyer to hone their respective skills involved in from starting a law journey from finally becoming a jurisdictional lawyer. I, both as a law student and now as a lawyer, would advise my readers, irrespective of the jurisdiction and the nationality they come from to constantly evaluate their career trajectory and shed light equally on all of the points as enumerated above.
At last, in spite of everything said and done, in life, luck too plays a pivotal role in one’s legal journey!