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Two methods of learning in the legal profession

Filed under: People and society by Hari
Posted on Wed, Aug 17, 2011 at 20:20 IST (last updated: Wed, Aug 17, 2011 @ 20:49 IST)

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As I enter into the legal profession, I have come to know that there are fundamentally two methods of learning the tricks of the trade (or to be more formal, the practice, the procedures, the technical and legal aspects of the profession).

One is to dive in head first and learn without fear from day one. Get your hands on a case, learn how to do it from start to finish and be prepared to commit mistakes and profit from them.

The second is to get into the everyday routine of the job slowly and steadily and learn the different aspects of the profession in a piecemeal fashion while working under the wings of a more experienced advocate, under supervision and without undue risk.

I am not saying either is better, but naturally a vast majority of law graduates prefer the second option; because for one thing, getting your own client to practise on (to put it in the proper perspective) is rather a tough ask and you cannot experiment with other lawyer's clients. On the other hand, the second method is definitely a slow and inefficient way to learn the practice and besides, you are restricted to only those fields of law that your senior practises in. A lot of freshers have no choice but to accept this reality.

I think, however, that the first method definitely has its merits if the opportunity of handling a case entirely or at least substantially, presents itself. It offers a rare, first-hand experience of courts and all the procedures followed therein. And there is no hand-holding process either. There is no question in my mind that handling a case from beginning to end, however simple, will definitely go a long way in bridging the gap between theoritical knowledge of law, as imparted in the law school and the actual practice (including clerical and procedural aspects). So I will definitely not say 'no', when the opportunity presents itself.

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