The Virtual Canteen is an initiative by Delhi Women Lawyers Forum to come together and discuss pressing issues of the legal profession in a safe space. In past they have addressed the issue of mental health and surviving the pandemic. This week as they look to reexamine the legal fraternity’s perception of success. Renowned Advocate Nandita Rao, who is also the moderator of this session, speaks to The Leaflet on the importance of justice as the driving force of the legal profession.
The pandemic and lockdown of courts have increased stress on young lawyers. Many feel demotivated as they find the future to be bleak. At such times, it becomes important to look within ourselves and redefine how we view success within this noble profession. The Delhi Women Lawyers Forum’s next “Virtual Canteen” session on August 7 seeks to address this.
“Young lawyers join the profession with a sense of idealism to help the disenfranchised and marginalized get justice and uphold the Rule of Law”, said Advocate Nandita Rao who is also the moderator of the session.
Success in the legal profession is largely viewed by parameters of elevation, designation and money. Anyone working pro-bono or working towards getting justice for the marginalised is viewed as an activist. Rao notes “Justice cannot be lost in the search for world success but if we pursue rewards instead of the goal then somewhere justice will be compromised.” Thus money, elevation and designation are rewards of achieving the success of getting success for a poor person.
“Our desire for justice as lawyers gets lost in the rat race because of despondency among the young and cynicism of the seniors. Let’s not forget why we are here. Let us evaluate ourselves based on what we have done for justice.” says Rao.
The session wants to remind lawyers on the importance of defining one’s own success and gauging it through the parameter of how many people have you helped get justice. It is vital to challenge the existing perception of success which is based on hierarchies. “Feminism challenges hierarchies and seeks equality and compassion. As feminists we must define success differently” says Rao.
Retired Justice Anjana Prakash of Patna High Court and Advocate Malvika Rajkotia are going to address the question of success from their experience. Justice Anjana Prakash is known for sharing her views and shining a light on developments of the rule of law through her writings. “In my view she has succeeded in her role as a retired justice.” opines Rao.
Advocate Malvika Rajkotia is known for her stellar work in the field of family law. She has consistently fought to highlight the statutory framework of family law before judges who many times ignore the statute in their rulings. She has defined her own success in her fight for justice as an advocate practicing family law.
There are many ways that young lawyers can contribute to justice even in lockdown. One can write about issues that they see are wrong or help people get the help they need in whatever way one can. Rao notes that the success of Legal Services Authority lawyers who tirelessly work to help poor people must be acknowledged.
The session seeks to enlighten its audience on what it means to be a lawyer beyond tags and pedestal. It wants to encourage lawyers to fight the looming sense of despondency in practice.