First question which comes to our mind is who is a lawyer? A lawyer is one whose profession is to give legal advice and assistance to clients and represent them in court or in other legal matters. One of the essential elements of being a lawyer is that he should possess quality information and awareness regarding the matters of law and issues concerning the society. When a student prepares for a law entrance exam he is ought to do a comprehensive study of subjects like General Knowledge, English, Mathematics and topics of law as well other related problems in order to secure a seat in an affirmed law school. When a student enrolls into a law school it becomes all the way more important to be abreast with the current laws and cases. Discussion and arguments are two elements which makes a lawyer best in the field of mooting and coming at par with other competitors.
A Conference has been defined as “a meeting of people who ‘confer’ about a topic”. Students in law schools are always encouraged to attend and participate in conferences as a part of their curriculum. The organization of conferences like Samvaad is not without a purpose. It gives students a chance to meet new people who are similar to them in thoughts and also to meet people who have views not so similar to them. Such an exposure enables the students to get a new perspective regarding various issues prevailing in society. It provides law students a platform to come together and exchange thoughts and views which further gives them a broader perspective. Meeting people with different or opposing views gives students the skill to accept dissenting views and make rational arguments.
Quoting Mahatma Gandhi would be apt here. He once said, “Honest disagreement is a good sign of progress”.
A law student should not only know ‘what’ the laws are but should also have the knowledge of ‘why’ are the laws in existence. Most of the lawyers know the laws and their application but there are very few who know why such law came into existence and why it is prevalent in a particular time. Law students who participate in conferences get a chance to conduct a comprehensive research on various topics which gives them an advantage over other non participating students. They become well versed with various facts and issues which expose them to information which would not have been possible in classroom lectures. As the classroom lectures provide knowledge which is restricted only to the course syllabus. Conferences such as Samvaad provide students with an opportunity to go beyond the syllabus and classroom lectures.
It is an established fact that learning comes with participation. It is through participation that law students can learn and further enhance their knowledge. When law students participate in conferences they not only get a chance to present what they know but also get an opportunity to learn what other students know. Conferences promote social learning which enables the students to interact with each other and gain what they had been lacking in their knowledge and perspective.
Participation gives students the much needed confidence which they often lack and boosts and motivates them to further enhance their level of knowledge. Confidence is the top trait in the making of a good lawyer. It is the confidence of a lawyer which takes him to a prestigious position. Without confidence a lawyer cannot build trust in his client. A client appreciates the confidence and knowledge of the lawyer above anything else. The question which now arises is how does a law student become more confident of his knowledge and skills? It is through the medium of social rostrums like a Conference. Such social rostrums give students the right amount of self boost which they need to take their skills further to the next level.
Conferences usually consist of the presentations and paper writing. It tests the writing, speaking and presentation skills of the students. In the present time, these skills have become extremely important to make a successful lawyer. A law student should not only speak well but he should also be an adroit writer. To be a skilful writer it is important to be an avid reader. Reading skills begins to develop once a student starts becoming part of such Conferences.
It is appropriate to quote Francis Bacon, as per him, “Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man and writing an exact man.”
The Samvaad 2015 being organized by Model Governance Foundation. It seeks to facilitate a meaningful dialogue between eminent personalities and youth. It involves a symbolic platform for the youth and important dignitaries from various fields of politics, sports, journalism, among others to come together and engage in a dialogue on various topics of concern. Samvaad involves debate and paper writing which tend to assess the speaking and writing skills of the students. Conferences like that of Samvaad are apt for a law student to improve upon his reading, writing and speaking skills.
Conferences tend to develop one more important skill that every lawyer must possess, that is, the listening skill. A law student must not only be a skilled speaker and writer but he should be a good listener as well. Listening to arguments and discussions keenly is what makes an adept lawyer. There is difference between hearing and listening. A law student must not only hear what others speak in a conference but he should be able to listen and comprehend what others talk about in a discussion or a debate.
To conclude the quotation of Erin McKean, a famous lexicographer, is best suited:
“For me, conferences are like mental vacations:
a chance to go visit an interesting place for a couple of days, and come back
rested and refreshed with new ideas and perspectives.”
About the Author
Ankita Srivastava is a first year law student pursuing her 3 year LL.B. from Campus Law Centre, Delhi University. She has completed her graduation in Political Science from Miranda House, Delhi University. Besides LL.B, she is learning Spanish as well. She is a trained paralegal. Her hobbies include reading, travelling, watching movies and playing guitar.