Amir Singh Pasrich, Chairman, Law & Justice Committee, PHDCCI & Managing Partner, I.L.A. Pasrich & Company, speaks to Pritha Roy Choudhury on some of the pressing problems in legal education…
Q. You studied law at Oxford and then you came back to India. Do you feel that the curriculum here is at par?
A. The answer is a big ‘NO’. The lack of legal principle, the idea of law, the concepts, the basics of law are not explained. They only come from practice now. If you ask a young boy or girl who comes to this office aged 23 or 24 and you ask them to file an application, they give you a blank look. Then they read it, come back and ask you how to draft the application. It hasn’t been explained to them as to how to start practice. Suppose you talk about equality, very few of them know what equality means. Equality requires a lot of thinking to understand how to apply it, whether it is for women or if it is cutting across genders. Even Sabarimala case is a fight for a form of equality. This can require so much thought which a young student in college in India is not given. But there are good colleges like NLUs because there are good and bright students and they help each other.
Q. Is English language really important if one has to become a successful lawyer?
A. If you think you are going to do business law with cross border lawyers across the world, you have to find a common base and that common base is for better or worse the language that won the language wars. It is English, something that the British gave us that is not bad. English has become the language of business, we cannot do without it.
Q. Talking about 3-year and 5-year LLB, do you think that those who are doing 3-year LLB are more mature as they come with a basic degree?
A. The question of 3-year or 5-year course is dependent on the individual. People who are a little confused should certainly do a 3-year course and then do law later. Second thing is people who are good to be lawyers and have that zing when they are in class 9, 10, 11 or 12 should study law.
Q. Your take on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Language making a headway in law?
A. Firstly, I don’t see them as a threat. This is one profession which is somewhat insulated from machines taking over and I think drafting will get taken over by AI over the years. We don’t have data because we are not ready to pay for it. There are some interesting tools that are coming up, so this will make things easier. But when it comes to interpretation, negotiations, conflict, I don’t think lawyers will become less important in the next 50 years.
Q. Your message for law aspirants…
A. Can you understand concepts, read and enjoy reading as a part of your life? Are you capable of reading miles of small print for drafting and for making agreements? If you do not have those capabilities, please do not become a lawyer. If you have those capabilities, go and experiment further, meet people, work in a chamber, do an internship, discover yourself and then practise law.
If you do not have those capabilities, please do not become a lawyer. If you have those capabilities, go and experiment further, meet people, work in a chamber, do an internship, discover yourself and then practise law
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