An Ode To Lawyering

Sudeep Mahajan, Advocate
Ex-Additional Advocate General, Haryana
Punjab & Haryana High Court, Chandigarh

Date : 03/08/2022
Location : Punjab & Haryana High Court, Chandigarh
📱 +91-9814025102

An Ode To Lawyering

After passing out, in early 1980s, from awesome campus of Mahindra College Patiala, on completion of my graduation in English Literature, I thought, joining M.A. (English) was the only and the most natural way to go forward, not only because I thought it was my natural calling but also because I thought it would see me through to the Central Civil Services. My father, then a judicial officer, however, persuaded me to join the LLB course, for he thought it offered better career prospects and I, in the end, very reluctantly agreed to fall in line.

Just as we were nearing the completion of LLB, everybody worriedly reflected upon, "what next". As far as I remember no one, enthusiastically planned on setting up his own law practice. I too followed the then `National hobby' and started preparing for the Civil Services. As we went along, we often heard of some college mate, upon completing his MBA, joining a well-known private company on a "handsome package" and we would think, wow! Some went to banking and some to public sector undertakings and seemingly, the more accomplished amongst us, cleared the Civil Services, leaving us envious, as we thought, "wow! A regular monthly salary, with power & influence to boot as well, how damn lucky". Eventually, I decided to give up chasing that elusive dream of joining civil services and plunged into the Law Practice. Soon I shifted to Chandigarh and started my own practice at Punjab & Haryana High Court in the right earnest. It is as a lawyer you realize what `uncertainty in life' really means. As once the Hon'ble Mr. Justice G.S. Singhivi remarked in court that a lawyer often does not know how and when his next meal is going to come from. However, like many before me, I too realized soon that eventually a lawyer's persistence and sheer hard work starts bearing fruit. It gradually dawns upon him that he on account of his dogged persistence is not only able to make more money than the most `handsomest of the packages' that some of his erstwhile peers are getting but also on account of being able to get judicial "decrees" and the "writs" issued by the process of law, is able to exert a considerable amount of influence and respect in society. Those amongst the lawyers who could move up to the `Bench', needless to say, outshone all services, in the arena of `power', influence and respect.

I am however, only now beginning to realize, that the best was still yet to come, especially for those who steadfastly kept pulling themselves along the path of the legal practice. Almost suddenly, all those college mates who had joined any kind of services, started staring at the impending retirement and then there actually were retirements all around but the lawyer within us (the lawyers) was telling us, "what retirement? I have just started and all that tremendous knowledge and experience that I have gained over the years will continue to be put to their best use and cannot be allowed to go waste, God willing, not for the next, may be, twenty years". Quite clearly the lawyer is, in fact, the proverbial tortoise.

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