Saturday, December 21, 2019

What should you be prepared for in Courtroom?

Image from Clipart
Internship is a place where we learn a lot of things. As a law student, interning is not just to learn the subject, but also get a first-hand exposure to the culture, how people interact socially, professionally and personally, how to grab opportunities, how to tackle situations you don't want to be in, and how to navigate through that work-life topography. 

I was called by the Partner of the firm I'm interning in, and he questioned me on what I learnt from the court observations. While I rattled out case facts of what I worked on, and what the judge ordered, he pointed out what I should be learning.

Here's a simple but interesting aspect about the courtroom drama that I learnt in this internship. Essentially, the job as a lawyer is to understand the case and play to the strength, wherever it lies. Everything is under the control of an experienced lawyer to whom all facts have been disclosed, except five crucial points. And, these five make or break your game in the Courtroom. 

These five things that I will list out are the things that's completely not in the control of anyone. 

1. Facts. The facts are what happened. There's nothing you can do about it. There's nothing you can change or improvise. It's what it is, and definitely not under your control.

2. Laws. The law that your client's set of facts attract cannot be changed. The laws that are relevant to your facts do not change, and whether or not the law is on your side, you have to play along and make the best of it. That's where a smart lawyer looks for loopholes in the law when it's not entirely in his favour. And, that is where using intelligence for an interpretation from a different perspective helps. But, it stands finally that you have no control over the law itself. 

3. Judge's disposition. Judges are also humans with their own thoughts. Even a judge who aims to be unbiased, may have certain preconceived notions, and you can do nothing about them.

4. Judge's mood. Maybe, the law and the facts are in your favour, and the Judge is neutral about your issue, but what if he's in a bad mood? A bad mood could be due to anything at all. Like already stated, judges are also just humans. 

5. Opponent's arguments. Never underestimate the case, or the opponent. It's impossible to know what unforeseen tangent of interpretation your opponent might throw. It's unfortunate to underestimate and lose.  

A smart lawyer, and a sensible one, gauges all these five unpredictable balls that are out of his control, all within the first thirty seconds of how the case begins, and juggles them to suit his case. Easier said than done, it's something that comes with years of practice and good mentoring. And, that is also probably why it's a pleasure to see the arguments of two brilliant lawyers in court, each juggling these five aspects to play in sync with their case. 

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