One issue that I believe that we all, including this blog, should debate and examine more rigorously is the entry barriers that young lawyers face in joining the profession of litigation. I was pleased to find that the Research Foundation for Governance in India (RFGI), an Ahmedabad based think-tank, organized a seminar on this issue earlier this month.
The event was attended by the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court - Mr. Justice Radhakrishnan, Dr. Madhava Menon. Mr. Devang Nanavati – Advocate, Gujarat High Court, Mr. Sachin Malhan - Founder of Law School Tutorials, Mr. Vyapak Desai – Head of Cross Border Litigation, Nishith Desai Associates (Mumbai) and Mr. Rajshekhar Rao – Advocate, Supreme Court of India.
The seminar discussed the findings of a survey conducted by RFGI where over 250 juniors, seniors, law students, and judges were interviewed and it was found that while 58% of those surveyed found the practice of juniorship helpful, nearly half the juniors did not receive any compensation for their work. 74% of those surveyed did not think that bright youngsters in India end up joining litigation. Other key findings included that 92% of those surveyed believed a family background in the profession was helpful and 48% of those surveyed believed that the practice of juniorship should be institutionalized in some way. The data also compared the salaries of young litigators in India to those in the US and UK and found that while there is a great discrepancy between the income of young litigators and young corporate attorneys in India, no such discrepancy exists in the UK or US.
The event received some media coverage (here and here), and should hopefully encourage the legal community to introspect on this issue.