By Tanuj Kalia
If you don’t love to read a lot and if you don’t love to write a lot you’ll turn to become an unwilling, bored lawyer with migraine, rheumy eyes, painful creeky neck, a twisted creeky backbone and migraine. (Migraine, twice as frequent and twice as painful, mind you and creeks that you can hear).
The daily life of a lawyer will involve reading tomes (tome is a nice word) of Bare Acts and Commentaries, full of hard texts, difficult to read and seemingly impossible to comprehend.
You’ll also read case laws, difficult to read and seemingly impossible to comprehend (is this a repetition?) coupled with a Judge’s idiosyncratic preference for foreign words (Latin, Greek, Sanskrit and even Mandolin. OK. Kidding about Mandolin) and other weird proclivities (like citing Ramayana, a Telegu Scholar and even LST modules). PS: We love Justice Katju.
A lawyer has to do the difficult and achieve the impossible and then write what we call a ‘brief’.
Now a brief is anything but brief. It’s long and tries to resolve your client’s legal issues. It’s long because it has to refer to the lot many things you’ve read. It’s long because then you have to add your own analysis into it. It’s long because that’s how Indian lawyers like it and that’s how they get paid. (Alan Siegel, meanwhile, is trying to change this).
Lawyers read and write more than anyone else. They have to go through at least a couple of hundred pages (multiplied by two or four depending on how merciful your boss is) during the most hollowed (a law firm partner should read it as hallowed) task of a junior law firm associate, namely, Due Diligence. (More on that). Lawyers also write more than news-reporters or even writers.
We at LST thought we should prepare you for this. Develop the habits essential to live nicely in this habitat. (How cool is this? Habits for the Habitat!) And oh yes! This helps you in CLAT like no other thing does: reading and writing.
How (is this a trap to get law aspirants write for free for LST)?. No, but really, how does reading and writing help a law aspirant?
Reading will improve your English vocabulary and comprehension skills and as you start writing regularly, you’ll slowly untie the knots that seem to emerge during a critical reading passage. Writing organises and refines your thoughts and sharpens your thought process and that’s what critical reasoning is.
You also improve your GK, Legal GK (when you write what you read in newspapers and magazines) and as I’ve laid out (in my trap) it will help you develop two habits which make a huge chunk (like Popeye’s forearms) of Legal Aptitude: reading and writing.
Read a lot and read well. Write a lot and write well. That’s the message from the master. (For this life, that is. BTW Lawyer’s commonly are species coming from hell, in case you are thinking of visiting Brian Weiss that’s what your past life transgression is going to reveal).
Hey! I hear someone shout! I speak and therefore I am (at LST and a wannabe lawyer). Isn’t powerful oratory a lawyer’s ‘the’ thing?
Prize winning school debators can rejoice; you’ll probably do great as mooters and then as litigators.
However, here is the deal: if you don’t read well and if you don’t write well you cannot make for a good lawyer. However, if you can speak just all right, that’s good enough. Though, if you can speak great, then of course, it’s great. (See, how dearly you need a ‘great’ vocabulary too to be able to write well).
The next post: How and What to read and Why to write.
The pics are an effort towards LST’s ‘more personal and more human tutorials‘ approach. 🙂
Tanuj Kalia is a 4th year student at NUJS and is presently interning at LST.