This post is in continuation of our previous post Success Lessons for an Aspiring Lawyer! – 1. Build your own library.
The post has been contributed by Ms. Shilpi Jain. She practices at the Supreme Court of India.
Litigation is one of the most fulfilling and exciting aspects of law practice. An amazing thing about litigating is that you can steer the result according to your own desire and commitment. There may be several guru mantras for making-it-to-the-top in litigation. Below are a few of my self-assessed view-points.
Takeaway 1: Know the facts of your case, but don’t forget to brush-up on the law!
A principal aspect of litigation is that you must know the facts of the case on your finger-tips. Once the facts are known, it is much easier to apply the law. Nevertheless, knowledge of the law is mandatory. Reading the bare act, again and again, is always helpful. After several years of experience also, one may find a new meaning and interpretation to a particular section of law.
Takeaway 2: Sound assertive, persuasive and pleasent while arguing your case!
In litigation, it is extremely important for a lawyer to be confident. Confidence to speak with ease and authority always gives a lawyer an edge over others. Ability to speak English fluently is very important. There are no retakes in litigation, hence the presence of mind is very important. A lawyer must be impeccably dressed and look smart.
While arguing a case, it is important that you should have the ability to replace one argument with another. Sometimes the Judge may not be convinced with the first three arguments but may accept the fourth. The key is not to give up, but keep arguing. During this time, it is important to stay calm while continuing to remain assertive. The pitch must be assertive and confident.
Takeaway 3: “Maintain civility and respect while voicing your diagreement”
While agreeing with the Judge is fine, it is also important sometimes to disagree with the Judge when required. The key is not to argue with the Judge but to make him/her arrive at your conclusion by asking questions or by pointing to an alternate perspective. If the Judge interrupts in the middle of your argument you should hear him/her out and respond to the specific query.
To establish oneself as a litigation lawyer is a slow process and you get better with every hearing. Combination of knowledge of facts, law and ability to present the case in an impressive manner are some factors which are most important for litigation.
Image from here.
This post has been internally edited by the Law & Practice Blog’s editorial team.