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A recurring clash of priorities

As a law student, there are always certain expectations and aspirations which you carry with you while entering law school. Expectations and aspirations are important since they do give you a preliminary glimpse of what path needs to be taken or which area should be focused upon. Unfortunately, this glimpse does not eventually graduate from the zone of being a glimpse to ideas which can actually be materialised. This statement must obviously seem confusing and making no sense whatsoever. Let me illustrate this with an example, A certain student 'X' enters into law school from a middle class household specifically inspired by the 'national' tag the law school has and the earning potential that he might be able to capitalise upon. While studying law, he realises that he loves the law for what it is and wants to enter litigation but is plagued by the monetary constraints that he has. What does 'X' do over here? For purists, the proper approach would be to follow your passion and believe in what you do, therefore, 'X' would be advised to take up to litigation and struggle it out. The other approach would be to capitalise upon the opportunities presented and tap the earning potential present. This is an argument where different people have different viewpoints but as far as guidance and counselling goes, unless and until 'X' would know someone big in the legal fraternity or can bask in the shade of someone big, there would be a clash of priorities created in his mind. Let us put 'X' in another situation, 'X' has to choose between going to the 'Jessup' and lets say the 'ELSA WTO Moot', while 'X' does have a keen interest in international law, he would also be inclined to go to the 'WTO Moot' from the perspective of future prospects since trade law has many firms engaged in it and that is where the earning potential is. 'X' again is faced with a clash of priorities in his head to which the only answer would be to forgo one for the other like in the earlier case. A final example in this regard, suppose 'X' has to choose between doing an LLM and getting work experience, where does 'X' go? Again there is a clash of priorities in this regard.

While webstites do exist, career guidance books are present and people in the field can advise a student on a path to pursue. A common link which can be drawn in each of the illustrations mentioned in the preceding paragraph is that 'X' always has an opportunity cost to choose. This is because, law the field by itself is vast and so overlapping in its avenues, it is extremely tough to categorise a particular avenue in watertight compartments as such. An area of interest can be developed and imbibed over a period of time such as IPR, Tax etc. but this happens only in few cases and in most cases, atleast 90 % of the cases that I have seen, people seem to be confused because of the very nature of law that exists and the seemingly thin line of demarcation that exists within the aspects of 'choosing' and then 'pursuing' a particular path.  Most people end up sticking to a job or an avenue or an area of research by virtue of default because guidance at the age where the law is taught and learnt fails to give a fair view of the opportunities and the challenges each avenue has. The national law universities and colleges alike mostly havea herd mentality present and rely more on hearsay snippets and information about any particular avenue which can be taken up.

While, I am anticipating comments in vehement opposition of what I have stated with a recurring undercurrent stating that "You must do your own research, find out your avenues and are responsible to choose between 'earning' and 'interest'. " These anticipated comments would fail to appreciate the twin objectives this entry intended to convey, firstly, the constant confusion that a law student is faced in some form or the other at some time or the other in his/her law school life and secondly, the existing 'trial and error' approach that most people are resorting to in the present day legal market due to lack of accurate guidance and counselling with regard to the same. Of course, the elite national law schools would presumably cater to all requirements of a law student but what about the rest, do the rest of the law students have to necessarily adopt a default or trial and error based approach and make it a tale of the rich church mice with proper guidance, counselling and conviction and the poor church mice with a constant tumoil of having to deal with opportunity costs time and again for no fault of theirs?


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