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1.You have to learn the law by rote
What is the date today? W hich year, and which century is this? In the age of handheld smart devices and ubiquitous internet, no one needs to memorise any law. The information is at fingertips. The skill that a lawyer brings on the table is the ability to process and interpret that information, and identify a course of action based on the information. Memorising the law is futile, though some law students do it for the thrill and marks.
As a lawyer in training, you must learn where to find the law, and how to apply it.
2.Getting marks in law exams is all about memorising
Similar to the above concern, but unlike the above one this is partially true. 90% law colleges in India still takes exams that require you to write memorised notes to pass the exam. Even in a place like NUJS 30% of the teacher, they themselves having little knowledge of law or practice, expected rote learning for students since they could not imagine academic performance beyond memorising statutes and case law.
I hate rote learning personally and usually refuse to engage in such futile pursuit – and still I managed to perform quite decently as far as academics is concerned. Scoring in an exam is knowing about what the teacher wants and differentiating yourself from the other examinees. You can not expect to get the highest marks by writing just the correct answer, probably 40 more people will do so. You must stand out somewhere – how that is to be done varies from case to case. Very rarely you'd be forced to do rote learning, though many people will prefer it over more cerebral processes.
3.All lawyers are professional liars
Again, an untruth. Lawyers have no more professional reasons to lie than doctors, or architects. Some lawyers are incompetent, some of them work in the courts as mere agents of better lawyers. Those who are incompetent has to resort to lying. Imagine you have hired a lazy servant to do your work – imagine how much he would need to lie. Its the same thing with lawyers too. I have never lied in the course of my professional life, and I know I will never have to lie.
4.To succeed in law you need a family background
This is a lie. I did not have any such background – my parents were horrified initially about my career choice. While my legal career is just beginning, I do not think I would have done any better if my uncle was a lawyer at Calcutta High Court. Well, I am not sure whether it worked for Zia Modi that her dad was Soli Sorabjee but everyone's dad doesn't have a law firm, and many of the founders of the current top law firms in India came from very non-legal family backgrounds. There are thousands of law schoolites who have done excellently in the legal industry totally on their own.
5.You need to spent 5 years with no money first to succeed as a litigator
Whatay lie. I am not going to be a litigator, neither did I ever have the intention to become one. The court is a difficult place, and it takes a lot of time to understand its pulse. This is something I always suspected, and understood after I argued for the first time in a court in a case (that was my own). But beyond that learning, it is not true that you have to wait for years before you can have your own clients. I had people approaching me for getting their legal work done even when I was in law school (yes, people will threaten me with BCI again and I shall delete those redundant comments).
People are desparate to find competent lawyers who will charge reasonably, and such lawyers are very rare. This is true for transactional work, and equally true for litigation. If you still can not find clients in a matter of months, then that is only because you do not know how to market yourself and your abilities. Maybe you are not even trying to. Just being older will not make you a better marketer. Marketing does not mean advertising. It is necessary for a solo practitioner to market himself before word of mouth can take over, so learn the basics of marketing.
6.Getting into a top law school makes you a great lawyer
Nonsense. It just gives you an environment. Also some resources. Many people just ruin their lives even at the top law schools. Majority of people even from the best law schools graduate dull, unimaginative and boring, sometimes even incompetent – without much learning or improvement. Some of them still get good jobs and learn on the job. Nothing but hard work and insight will make you a good lawyer.
There are some skills that are necessary to be a good lawyer. You need to master forms of expression. Writing, and optionally speaking. Interpersonal communication. Research skills must be awesome. Networking and marketing. Many become good lawyers by developing these skills at average colleges, and more often, on the job. If there are any such myths that you can think of, please write about them below over here. Lets find out what is myth and what is the truth.