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Postcards from the Fringes

Travails and dilemmas of a middle aged, non ranked law school student

An estimated 3-minute read
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Changing with ageNo. I did not see myself as a lawyer. When I graduated fifteen years ago, lawyers were one of two things – assorted lawyers on the pavement outside the city metropolitan court or the types ones saw on ‘The Practice’, ‘Boston Legal’ and ‘Ally McBeal’.

No, the‘milord’ and ‘judgesaab’ spouting vakilbabus from Bollywood courtroom dramas of the 70s and 80s didn’t count.

So, off I trotted to join the workforce and after fifteen years of slugging it out in some of India’s leading organisations, find myself at a career dead end. Moderately successful, but a dead end nonetheless, thoroughly and utterly b-o-r-e-d. While this is the time for most bored middle management types ‘to delegate’ and let the juniors do all the work, that just isn’t my cup of tea.

To cut a long story short, I found myself enrolled in a three year LLB, egged on by a lawyer friend who predicted likely future extinction of the three year LLB and that I would lose my only chance if I didn’t start this pronto! Didn’t do it for the intellectual stimulation really. Just needed to study, something. Anything.  

A college that looked like it would be easy on *ahem* attendance was duly chosen. Also the silly 30 year age limit for the three year LLB meant, being turned away from the doors of the better-known law colleges.

The first year was certainly no cakewalk trying to comprehend IPC and Contract while racing between lectures and full time work (yes, bored middle managers have to work sometimes), excusing myself from lectures for the odd con-call, sneakily reading constitutional law notes hidden under the keyboard at work, taking a couple of hours off from work to write semester exams to the odd tear or two when I flunked a paper for the first time in my life.

Panic attacks while the Boss scheduled a conference in Phuket in the week of 3rd Sem  exams and thereafter cramming ‘Law of Evidence’ in Phuket till the wee hours of the morning while most staggered into the hotel at 9 am next morning also adds to the fun sometimes!

Yet, mid-way, I am discovering that I actually like studying law. And thereafter started the ‘due diligence’ - googling about career prospects of ‘senior status’ students starting over, law firm internships (thank you Lawctopus!), reading law firm websites, bugging the legal folks at work for advice, logging in to Legally India five times a day, trying to figure out whether I was a complete lunatic to think of starting all over again as an intern. (Admission: Most people go.. errrmm… YES!

And questions, questions and questions… !!

Do I dare throw my hat in the ring with the younger and extremely talented fresh graduates with high CGPAs, moot court champs, top law firm internships etc?

Litigation, Law firm or NGO?

Corporate law, Criminal, IPR, Family or Maritime law?

Practice in Mumbai, Delhi Bangalore, Goa (the beach beckons) or Sikkim (ditto with fresh mountain air)?

LLM or not?

Quit job or not?

Quit in May, July or December or not?

Will my internship application get rejected from every single firm or lawyer that I apply to? ok, the answer to this is a big YES but that doesn’t make the question go away

Will the interest wear thin, in the cold light of day, when bills and EMIs need to be paid?

Will I starve on the street and have the roof over my head auctioned if I opt to litigate?

Alas I have no answers…Undecided

All I can do for now, is count the days, hours and minutes till I jump off the dive board into the unknown! And that should be fun. Kinda.

Quotable Quotes

“Let me tell you something. I didn’t become a lawyer because I like the law; the law sucks. Its boring, but it can also be used as a weapon. You want to bankrupt somebody? Cost him everything he’s worked for? Make his wife leave him , even make his kids cry? Yeah, we can do that.” – Douglas Fish, ‘Fishisms’ from Ally McBeal

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Legaloldie attempts to provide a different perspective from the ‘wrong side of the tracks’- 3 year LLB, unranked unknown law college, trying to make it against all odds.
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