Advocacy Skills as a part of Law School Curriculum: Transforming “Raw Law Graduate” to “Court Ready Practitioner”

Paper presented at the 2013 CLEA Conference in Durban

Asha Gopalan Nair
Advocate, Supreme Court of India

There exist only two improving forces for human nature, one education and another experience. When it comes to law, education of basic principles of law is being given by the law schools and the universities, while on the other hand, the doors of experiences gets opened when a student of law moves into his battle field i.e. the court of law. Though, education and experience both are eternal and endless phenomenon, it can be well said, the sooner you take the first step, and the better it will be for the next. Law in text and law in practice, though not different can never be said to be same, therefore it is much required that the law schools in there law curriculum should promote basic advocacy skills. Such skills, should not merely form part of the ‘textual of curriculum’ but should be adhered to in its ‘true spirit’. The law schools should focus upon the fundamental lawyering skills as negotiation, oral advocacy, and communication, interviewing and counseling, drafting and problem solving. At the same time, it is required that the classes of procedural laws be made more interactive with ‘mock trials’ during the classes, thereby explaining the concepts of evidences and the criminal procedural laws on the basis of such mock trials. Students, should be the participants of such mock trials and the themes of trials can be based upon the various famous trials, be it trial of Socrates, Oscar Wilde or Martin Luther etc. The law schools for such classes may engage law practitioner who can lead class discussions, demonstrate practice situations, share experiences and their views, and serve as resources for student questions on various aspects of law and law practice. The real motto behind such venture should be to minimize the gap between the law school and law practice and to transform a “raw law graduate” a “court ready practitioner”. The paper will explore the various horizons in light of the above discussion.

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