A Day In The Life Of A Lawyer

Is your child thinking about pursuing law as a profession? We talk to a lawyer to find out what life in the courtroom really looks like. Read to know more.

By Dr Debarati Halder

A Day In The Life Of A Lawyer

Dr Debarati Halder, LLB, LLM, PhD (Law), has been championing for the rights of children and women for many years now. An expert in cyber law, she is the honorary managing director of Centre for Cyber Victim Counselling and is also the founder-secretary of South Asian Society of Criminology and Victimology.

In this article, she talks about the various challenges and perks of being a lawyer and what’s the significance of Legal Services Day.

A day in the life of a lawyer

I start my day at 4 in the morning with a hot cup of coffee and a quick glance at Facebook and Twitter. I use social media as infotainment - to know about the latest updates regarding world news, landmark orders and their critical analysis, new laws and public opinion about them. A lawyer, especially a woman lawyer, needs to have good physical and mental stamina to strike an  ideal work-life balance. I learnt this the hard way when I was a young lawyer. 

Once in the court, a lawyer needs to not only be passionate about the profession, but have the physical strength to carry on arguments in a perfect way, run to other courts to see that the clients are represented properly, and analyse the case and understand its nature at the same time. This does not come easily if the lawyer does not have a balanced personal and professional life.

What got me into law

I grew up in a strict family. My father was an IPS officer and my mother was a professor. Our dinner table discussions skirted around different issues – from light-hearted topics like fairy tales to discussions on history and even recent crimes. Both my parents were, however, extremely cautious not to expose us to stories of crimes that could have a negative impact on our young minds. These discussions went a long way in getting me interested in laws and policies that help prevent crimes.

A typical day in court

Even though I was given cases of a different nature initially, I was more interested in matters related to women and children. Like many lawyers, I was exposed to family matters, which included divorce cases, custody battles and, to a certain extent, dowry harassment cases as well. Lawyers have to support their clients, but deep inside, we feel for both sides. However, right from when I touch the brief, I start feeling the causes, results and legal nuances for the client. This is what every lawyer is taught to do by their seniors, or in law schools. However, courts can be entertaining too. Art of lawyering is not always in black and white. Expert lawyers play with words and sometimes some statements can lighten the mood.

The challenges of being a lawyer

I love to deal with cyber law, gender and child rights. All lawyers develop their interest in a particular branch of law at a certain point of time. As lawyers, we are duty bound to serve the society. I found my niche when I joined as  pro bono for child welfare committee, women’s remand home etc. Every day, I came across new problems which needed an innovative way of counselling. 

As lawyers we come across different kinds of people. There are people who hate lawyers, or don’t trust the criminal justice machinery or may have been deprived of their right to hire lawyers  because of socio-economic reasons or due to lack of awareness. The most challenging part is convincing people to trust the system. Also, there are issues like teen pregnancies, desertion by the partner, rape and sexual molestation of children, which need lawyers to handle matters delicately and sensitively. Reservation on the part of the victim and the parents to explain everything to lawyers, can be a problem. Lawyers need to be patient and learn to listen when dealing with such issues.

The perks of being a lawyer

The best part of a lawyer’s life is obviously the satisfaction that she gets from the successful counselling session with a client. But legal services cannot and should not be counted only as ‘paid services’. Justices PN Bhagawati and Krishna Iyer were the first to take efforts to make legal services free for underprivileged people, and lawyers should look into that option as well.

Significance of Legal Services Day

Legal services day is celebrated every year on 9 November. On this day, in 1987, the National Legal Services Authorities was established and National Legal Services Authorities Act was created. Courts in India take different initiatives to spread awareness about different rights, duties and right to free legal aid. On this day, courts also encourage special awareness programs.

Justice Krishna Iyer observed that “society is guilty if anyone suffers unjustly.” More lawyers, law students and law aspirants should come up to execute the philosophy of Legal Services Day and join hands to spread awareness about positive rights, duties and right to free legal aid.

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