Are connections and family background necessary to be a successful Lawyer today?
No one who is part of the legal world can refute the absence of an even playing field between first generation lawyers and those who do enter into the profession from a family of legal professionals.' Jitika, a B.A. LLB Student at the Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak delves into the concept of Nepotism in the field of Law. She has very well presented her thoughts and views on the same.
Is there Nepotism in the Legal field?
Being from a family with law background, it is no doubt that you do get a well established platform to practice. Not only there is the pro of huge knowledge and resources already available, there is also an added advantage in the case of networking. But on the other hand as a first-generation professional, you are not likely to have that guidance, the relevant family ties or the connections in the legal field. Other challenges that a young lawyer in this position faces is the lack of insight in social norms or the office politics. Being in an unfamiliar terrain can be very intimidating, which can often lead to lack of confidence.
Navigating through the law field without being acquainted with the unwritten rules, without understanding the necessity of building relationships, working with support staff, or comprehending on how to advance in the maze, ‘the law career’ are few barriers named. Often first-generation lawyers do not realize the importance of shaping relationships with peers and other senior lawyers in the initial years of their careers. Some other common hurdles to be tackled are to understand the hierarchy, or learning about available resources.
No one who is part of the legal world can refute the absence of an even playing field between first generation lawyers and those who do enter into the profession from a family of legal professionals.
This is not to say a first-fen lawyer cannot thrive here. Though we cannot negate that having connections and family background can soften your path in legal world. But can we say that it is the only avenue to success?
The leading rule for the lawyer, as for the man of every other calling, is diligence. – Lincoln
Despite all the inevitable impediments, being the first in anything, itself is something that we as a society, value a lot. We tend to support and cheer the underdog. We adore hearing the stories of people who took the initiative, step out of their comfort zones. They worked endlessly to overpower the numerous challenges and ultimately reach their aims. We come across the lawyers, jurist, judges who by their valiant efforts had made their mark.
Instances before us
Chief Justice Kapadia – his indomitable spirit, working against all odds, Vrinda Grover - Recognized as one of the 100 most powerful women by the TIMES magazine, Indira Jaising - the first woman appointed as an Additional Solicitor General of India, 2009, Karuna Nundy – the woman who played an instrumental role in seeking the justice for the victims of Bhopal Gas Tragedy, Nani Palkhiwala - one of the finest speakers in the Court of Law. Today we do not know them by their family background or their family connections; we remember them by their persistent efforts not only in their respective fields but also by their strength and resolve it took them to achieve not only the success they so truly deserve but also the respect of law community in our country. They have become an inspiration to every new or budding lawyer of this generation.
What should a First-generation lawyer do?
So now it won’t be wrong to say that even after being someone without connections in the law field is not a daunting thing, but it is not without its advantages. Those are willing to go to the extra mile, the law career is rewarding beyond words, where you not only get the sense of achievement but also the satisfaction of working for the good and betterment of the society.
To be first-gen lawyer is an adventure in itself. But if you do not understand that rewards of legal profession take time to come by, you are unlikely to do much and give up soon. Being self aware, accepting and overcoming your shortcomings is essential. The key to succeed in this profession is ‘Perservance’ ‘Persistence’ and ‘Patience’. It’s crucial to have a plan but at the same time you need to diligently work towards achieving that goal. You can know you are going in the right direction when right things happen to you at the right time.
Every case you take, every argument you make will teach you something. From your first office to next, your mentor and teachers you would learn a lot of things, have good and bad experiences, which will shape your career. It is important to absorb knowledge like a sponge, get to know your professors, take advantage of the career resources your law school provides, interact with your alumni, attend seminars, workshops, shadow other lawyers – you would it will help in demystifying the legal field, start building your network early, ask for feedback and support. Above all, stay positive and determined.
It is aptly said -
Your attitude will go a long way in determining your success, your recognition, your reputation and your enjoyment in being a lawyer.