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Dear Prudence: Litigation is really interesting but........?

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Dear Prudence,

                  I’m a law student in my fourth year and I’m thoroughly confused about what I want to do. Litigation is really interesting but I’m not sure how to go about it. People tell me that one doesn’t have a future in litigation unless one has a godfather. Should I give up my dreams and just join a firm?


Without a map


Dear without a map,

            I spoke to a few reputed litigators and it seems there truly is no map to litigation. Everyone has their own way of going about being a litigator. While some people suggest one starts practicing at the lower Courts and then proceed to the Supreme Court, another set of people just start practicing at the High Court or the Supreme Court depending on their preference. However, it is important to have a fair idea about the procedures in all these Courts.

         Most of the litigators suggest you begin by joining an advocate either in the High Court or the Supreme Court. One school of litigators suggest you join a Senior advocate while the other suggest you join an upcoming advocate. Both these methods have advantages and disadvantages. By joining a senior lawyer, you’re chances of learning much reduce if the lawyer only uses you to brief him about issues. You are mostly never likely to get a chance to argue or handle a file. However, people tend to see you with him/her and this will be helpful in getting cases in the future. On the other hand, joining an upcoming lawyer will help you learn how to get your hands dirty since you’ll be allowed to handle matters.

    When I asked them about payment, most of them told me that many junior advocates start out with Rs.3000 and some pay about twenty thousand in the beginning. So be ready for a pay cheque as small as the cheque itself. One lawyer told me that in the beginning a lawyer is paid peanuts for his work. After a few years, one is paid exactly for the work one does and with age you’re paid a lot more than you’re supposed to be. So be ready for three to six years of waiting before you can start your own practice.

    Last, I asked them about whether its important to specialize in a particular subject of law. Most of them told me that while it was a plus point, no one is at liberty to choose their clients in the beginning. So while you should do an LLM, don’t expect it to come in handy at the very beginning and in every matter. The Indian litigation scene hasn’t advanced to the stage where clients approach advocates depending on their specialization but their rapport before the Judges. 

With warm regards,



Warning: Use this advice with caution. This is the scenario for the average litigator. Results may vary from person to person. 

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