Mr. Kapil Sibal delivered an inspiring lecture on the Art of Advocacy (see here). Here are my key take aways that I wish to be reminded of, each and every time I am preparing for a case.

How to be a good lawyer?

  • Be knowledgeable. You need to invest time in all aspects of human life and societal relationships because they relate to economics, philosophy, literature, history. Behind every law is the regulation of human conduct and human relationships. Your depth of knowledge in various facets of life, will enrich your arguments in Court.
  • Be industrious. The only way to win a case is to be better prepared than anyone else. You need to prepare your case better than your opponent and the Judge. This is the only profession where Article 14, Indian Constitution applies. Those who stand up in court have equality of opportunity because you, the Opposite Counsel and the Judge, have the same file. It’s what you do with the raw material that matters.
  • Never get angry. You cannot win any argument by getting angry. Be pleasant in Court. Be respectful to the Judge. 
  • Be courageous. Don’t be foolishly courageous. Have courage with conviction, consistent with what your conscience tells you, knowing that what you are saying and doing is right, which comes by following the path of righteousness. Have the courage to politely tell the Court that it’s wrong if you believe it’s wrong.
  • Seize the opportunity. As a young lawyer, an opportunity will do you more good than appropriate monetary compensation. Do not say no to a case because the client cannot give you more money.
  • Understand the Reason. When you read a statute, don’t limit your reading to the cold prints because behind those cold prints are human beings whose conduct has to be regulated. Ask yourself, why was the law made? For whom? Why was it necessary? Interrelate emotive human elements with the statement of the law. There’s a constant conflict between law and human conduct. Changes in human conduct are followed by changes in the law.
  • Be warm to your client. Understand the troubles, tribulations and emotions of your client. Law will emerge from your understanding of his/her problem which is a human issue. Sometimes facts are such that the law needs to change. You have to get into the soul, the heart behind the law.
  • Give back. You cannot rise without support. If you don’t remember the ones who supported you then you’re not a good human being. Give back to the society, to your supporters. 

There’s no one particular quality that makes a lawyer successful. Just remember to be an open-minded human being that seeks to understand.