By Protik Prokash Banerji
Some time back, I wrote about how it is possible to be a lawyer and still be in love. That was from the perspective of a lawyer who had teetered on the brink of love and fallen in, finally, in 1995.
However, for the vast majority of you young folks out there, reading about a middle aged lawyer who juggled his love-life and his profession in the days when the costliest cinema ticket cost Rs.7.70 may not be relevant.
So I started discussing the matter with one of my chamber-juniors, more like a son (and much else besides) really. What follows is what I found out.
I never devilled with any Senior. Most of you, who will join litigation whether as independent practitioner or as an associate in a law firm or intern with lawyers or law firms, will have a Senior to contend with.
Let us assume that you already have a girl-friend. You are in chambers/office and there is this really important job that you have been given: a research which was due yesterday, a list of dates that is due within an hour or perhaps briefing the senior with all facts and law later in the evening.
Suddenly your mobile (discreetly turned to vibration) starts acting crazy in your pocket. You swipe to unlock and then there’s this really weird name that sounded so cute when you two exchanged cuddly nicknames, flashing on the display.
Your co-juniors/interns/associates stop whatever they are doing and start eavesdropping, since they are sure that it is some professional work and they are jealous like hell that you are getting calls when they are getting none. You don’t know what to do.
If you receive the call and are all lovey-dovey, they are going to snitch on you, artfully, and tell the senior clerk or the immediately senior Junior that you would rather make love on the phone than work. If you don’t receive the call, your girl friend will take it that on this balmy evening, you are making hay with someone else while the sun doesn’t shine.
You finally take the call.
In a voice steeped in love and overwhelmed with fear—a balancing act that makes you sound like a frog with a sore throat—you finally say “Hi babbu”, cupping the phone to your ear and lips, whatever, and making small sounds that could have been dry kisses; she just called since she was missing you so much, especially since its been two hours since you last met at the CCD just after Court when you had told everyone that you were going to visit your sick aunt at the hospital, and she was wondering whether you could meet her for a while at the Mall because there was this new dress that she had seen and she just had to check it out with you, so that you could tell her whether it suited her or not.
Of course, it was implied that you would buy her the dress if it did.
Now how can you tell her that the dresses she likes are usually worth around two thousand bucks even if they are on sale, and that your pinchpenny senior/firm/whatever does not pay you any money except as fees of Rs.170/- per piece of work you assist in, and that the earliest you will get off is at 1 AM, when the Mall would certainly be closed?
Or take the famous Sunday afternoon problem. Normal, ordinary, sane people work through the week and let their hair down on Sundays.
Lawyers go to Court in the early morning, return to chambers half dead late evening, and work till dawn the next morning and grab a bit of sleep every morning between four and eight; this is on a typical weekday.
They make take Friday evening off, or not, but weekends are when they work the most, since these are whole days when they don’t have to go to Court and can meet clients and finish pending drafts and do research.
Your Senior (or Senior Partner) will of course play a bit of golf in the morning or read through all the Sunday newspapers, have a leisurely bath and a lunch that would lengthen itself to tea time, and then oversee the work that you have been doing since nine in the morning.
Oh yes, I forgot to mention, the Senior may take it easy on a Sunday, though he’s supposed to work the whole day, but you are supposed to be there earlier than usual and work later than ever on Saturdays and Sundays. Builds character and discipline you are told. For what, you ask yourself? So that you can get to be senior and successful, and goof off the whole day?
However, yours is not to reason why, but to work and die.
So she texts you really early (knowing that in college/law school days you used to wake up at noon on Sundays or even later, and the only way to get your attention was by texting early so that you caught it before you went to bed) that she’d like to watch this new tear-jerker starring that expensive, heavily patronized and parentized Ranbir Kapoor in the latest extravaganza which insists on making this good looking dumbo into a star; and she’d like to take it in this matinee.
Of course you are reading a lot into her choice of words, but how do you tell her that at 3 PM you will be poring over dusty tomes of laws that were settled in the early nineteenth century, in search of an elusive and really boring precedent about what would happen if someone really important did something really stupid or allowed something really stupid to happen to someone of no account?
For the uninitiated, you would casually let drop that it had something to do with Strict Liability, but its not going to cut any ice with your girlfriend.
You have experienced the problems. So what happens next? How do you litigate in these salad days and still be in love and what’s more important, retain your loved one?
I swear that I had this irresistible urge to emulate our reality show hosts and say “We’ll find that out, right after this short break”. However Tanuj tells me that space is at a premium. Till the next installment then!
Protik Da needs no introduction to regular Lawctopus’ readers. Well, actually, we haven’t his tagline saved. Lost that during the Great August Crash. For now, just know that he is a stud.
Comments to the article are welcome.