First Generation lawyers face so many problems in initial stage of their practice. They join any senior to learn the basic and essential formalities, laws, procedure of the court. If they are fortunate enough then their senior will treat them gently otherwise they face lots of problem, senior grill his juniors often. The following nuggets of wisdom are a result of several ‘interesting’ experiences.
1. Money. There will be very little of it, if at all.
A well known senior lawyer practising at the Supreme Court once told :
Juniors should be grateful for anything they’re paid for the ‘first few years’, after all, college doesn’t even teach the basics of practising in courts.
Juniors at his office start with a monthly salary of Rs 5,000. He’s a generous man.
One of the most successful lawyers in India doesn’t pay his juniors a dime for the first one year.
The chances of working with a well-paying lawyer/law firm are very few unless you’re from one of the national law schools or belong to a well-connected family.
Wait, scratch that.
The chances are very few, simply because there are very few lawyers / law firms which pay a respectable amount.
Two reasons are offered by most lawyers:
a) Law School leaves you ill-prepared for practising before courts.
It takes a few months before a fresh graduate is of any use for an experienced lawyer.
There is a fair bit of truth in the first half of this reason.
The irony however is that the Bar Council of India, which is a body of several accomplished lawyers, regulates law schools.
So basically, lawyers decide what/how law will be taught, only to (rightly) claim later that the training imparted by a system they regulate isn’t good enough.
b) ‘You shouldn’t even think about money when you start, you should focus on work.
Believe it or not, the practice of paying juniors a pittance is considered a proud custom.
Senior lawyers speak fondly of how even they weren’t paid anything respectable when they started and emotionally communicate to the fresh graduate that the baton of this custom is being passed on to him/her.
I’ve heard instances of lawyers taking offense at their associates asking them how much they will be paid.
2. Prejudiced and sometimes predatory clients
Everyone wants to get Harish Salve and Ram Jethmalani to fight their case.
Those who can’t afford them / don’t have the kind of cases these lawyers take, go to other lawyers.
Since lawyers are prohibited from advertising, how does a litigant decide which lawyer to engage? The answer is a combination of “Let me ask my friends / family / colleagues” followed by an analysis of how big the office / cars / clientele of the lawyer in question is.
“He’s so rich, he must be a good lawyer’ is the popular perception. Clients, like banks, want to give you their money / work if they’re reasonably certain that you don’t need it.
They assess these needs by how fancy your office is and how many cars you have. (Yes, they do.)
Some Clients even try to exploit young lawyers if they know that the lawyer in question is desperate for work.
Payments will be delayed and sometimes never made.
Some people offer tons of future paid work if only a particular assignment is done for free.
The work never comes, of course.
3. Your family will be the brand ambassador of alternate Degree
Mom, I had a great interview with a lawyer I applied to and I’m starting work tomorrow. Congratulations beta! What is your annual package? Beta?
1 year later:
Beta there’s still time, why don’t you pursue any other degree and get a ‘Normal’ Job’?
If your family isn’t aware of the unique customs of this profession, chances are you will have a hard time convincing them that you’re not supposed to even ‘think about money for a few years’ while sacrificing any notions of work-life balance that you or your loved ones may have had for your life.
You will be constantly reminded of all your cousins and friends who, having attained the popular MBA degrees, Engineering etc have ‘settled down’ with good ‘packages’.
Conclusion: Generally young lawyers opt for law firms which provides handsome salary at the very beginning of their career. Though practice is very challenging profession and it takes long time to become a stable advocate but still it is considered to be one of the best profession of the world. Once a lawyer is set then money use to follow him with huge respect and appreciation in the society.