Monday, March 20, 2017

5 must read books for young lawyers

Most of young lawyers pick bad habits during the time they are doing internship with senior lawyers. Not all young lawyers are lucky to join a senior lawyer who is honest, hardworking, learned and true professional. Many end up in the chambers run by seniors who lack some or all of these qualities. As a result, young lawyers also pick those unprofessional habits. Monthly law journals occupy most of the shelf space and time of a young lawyer. These journals contain laws and precedents, whereas young lawyer is more in the need of developing and polishing his court room skills i.e. preparing briefs, cross examination and arguments. Bar councils, unfortunately, are busy with other affairs. A young lawyer has no recourse except to first learn bad habits and spend years in unlearning them. I have compiled a list of books that every young lawyer must read during the first few years of his practice. These books, in no particular order, are:

The Making of a Lawyer By Ch Nazeer Ahmed.

The writer was an eminent defence lawyer. The books is about his early life, hardships in profession and his decision to migrate to another city for better prospects. This books is must read for all those lawyers who are inclined towards defending clients in criminals cases. The writer has mentioned extents to which he went to save his clients from gallows. He has also given tips to lawyers on cross examination and arguments. The books also contains high profile criminals cases of the time which the writer defended.

Art of Advocacy by Tripathi
Slightly advance level books. It contains excerpts from all the leading books written on advocacy skills. Reading this books is like reading all the good books ever written on advocacy. It is hard to get these days. I bought mine from a used book shop at Anarkali for Rs 120. The books is divided into various chapters. The chapter on cross examination is a must read.

Art of a Lawyer By Justice DR B. Malik
This books contains articles from leading lawyer and judges of India and the West on demands of the profession. The books contains a lot of personal accounts and experiences of judges and lawyers in court rooms. The book is divided into three parts. One is on advocacy and second is on cross examination and third is courtmanship. There is a write up by Mr. Justice Munir on Law of Evidence. He has summed up the whole law of evidence in a couple of pages. This book is a gem for all lawyers.

Be a competent lawyer by SM Zaffar:
It is an entry level books written by Mr. SM Zaffar. He has given tips on improving research skills, arguments and handling tense situations in the court rooms. The writer’s other books Meray Mashoor Muqadimay (My famous cases) is also recommended for young lawyers. This book traces the writer’s life from an obscure lawyer defending people in petty cases of bicycle theft to a lawyer of imminence defending his country in the international court of justice.

Novels by Perry Mason:
Someone asked Mr. Ahsan Qadir Shah, legendary defence lawyer hailing from Sargodha, that where from did he develop his amazing cross examination skills. His reply was, “From the novels of Perry Mason.” 

Perry Mason was a former lawyer who turned to fiction writing and wrote some amazing thriller novels. All his novels revolved around an allegation of crime and expert cross examination by the lawyer in the court. I managed to get a few of the novels form an old book shop. The novels explain difference between a good and a bad question during cross examination. They also high light the point where every cross examiner must stop. While reading these novels, there are many instances when the lawyer in the plot exercises what-not-to-ask-in-cross-examination restraint. These novels were written in the year 1933 and 1934. They were and still the most sought after novels by young and ambitious lawyers. 

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