Life of a litigating Lawyer: In conversation with Mr. Harivadan Mishra (Advocate, Gujarat High Court)

Legally Flawless has started this drive to aware law students and young lawyers for them to achieve in the field of law through strategies from the achievers themselves.

This blog post is part of our “Gyan Series“. In this interview, we get to know everything about life as a litigation lawyer and tips to succeed at the bar from Mr. Harivadan Mishra.

Mr. Harivadan Mishra has been practicing at the Gujarat High Court for 23 years. His field of practice is mostly related to civil laws.

This interview was taken by Tisya Mishra, Student Partner at Legally Flawless.

Sir, why you selected only revenue laws and property law as your area of practice?

Yes, there are a number of laws with which an advocate can associate himself. So, my endeavour to adopt the revenue laws was that previously I was in government dealing with these laws. So, it would never have been more convenient for me to indulge myself in this side. So for 23 years now, I have been handling the cases in revenue, and property. Revenue is quite a big subject. It also includes Hindu Marriage Act, Indian Succession Act, Endowment act, Transfer of property acts, Contract Act, Tenancy Act, Fragmentation Act and other minor revenue laws.

Please enlighten us on your transition from being a professor to an advocate.

Whether fortunate or unfortunate. I endued minds in this field. In fact, my first field was a lectureship. Previously I was a lecturer in one of the well-known colleges, “H.A commerce college”. I joined here as a lecturer. After one year, I joined Vivekanand College where I was teaching the students, business management.

So, my entire field of law of present practice was different from my education. I had an interest in law, right from the beginning but I preferred teaching, rather than practicing the law. At that time, I was of the view that in this period You have too much time. But it was not correct. As an advocate, you have to save your client and be loyal to the profession. I was loyal to my teaching as well as to practicing law.

What are the challenges and opportunities that you faced being a first-generation lawyer?

This is a field where you have may not be satisfied but you need to enjoy the process. As soon as you will come into the field, you will understand how to enjoy the profession because every time your mind would be revering. Let me give you an example- suppose, I have filed suit in the court. In that case, I have come across certain precedents. You see, after all judgments are given by a man. It may happen that the interpretation of law and facts differ from person to person. So, it reflects in the judgment of the Lord.

What would be the things required by an advocate to establish his or her name in the legal industry?

You see, popularity is not a cheap thing. To get the popularity, your name and fame in the market, you have to study hard. I have reached this date, because I was reading for the whole night. My wife was also helping me and there were sleepless nights. In the beginning, I have started my practice in the field of urban land Ceiling Act. Up to the level of revision and appeal, everything was in Gujarati. After revision, the matter goes to the High Court or Tribunal where generally English is used. My wife was helping me in drafting in Gujarati when I used to give the dictation and wife used to write it. So, it’s a lot of hard work. My advice to a young lawyer is you need to toil at night and you will get the result in the morning. This should be the motto of a young lawyer.

What a lawyer or an advocate is supposed to do once he or she gets a case?

You see, in our profession, the first thing is the client is always right. You have to understand the submission or the case of the client thoroughly. But don’t underestimate the client. Now today, because clients are also educated, they know the law. Secondly, don’t believe that what clients say is perfect. You need to find out from the papers, if your client is providing the correct facts. So, you have to analyse the conduct of the client. The thought of the client, and judge what a reasonable client can do. Further, as soon as you receive a case, you need to see under what provisions the facts falls.

How do you observe the impact of COVID 19 on the legal industry?

It is difficult to answer because there are various aspects. This COVID-19 has developed such a theory that the entire profession will turn to this laptop, or the electronic media. It is very difficult for people like us at the age of 70-75 to acclimatize with this electronic media. Moreover, due to COVID, there are advocates who have no means to join the practice, virtually. So, they are the worst affected by the COVID-19.

Do you feel that the virtual hearings is the way forward?

Recently, even the Chief Justice of India also said that the virtual is hearing is no hearing. This is also the thought of the eminent jurists of our country. The advocates have no say in this. We are helpless. But the day will come when possibly this profession will turn onto electronic media. So, you will have to prepare yourself with the recent developments. One thing should be sure that you refer the law books by physical reading because in physical reading you will cross-examine the matter and the judgements.

What is your motivation of practicing law at the age of 70 years when most people like to retire?

Yes, I’m getting fun praticing. A man cannot live without work and I’m enjoying this profession. By practicing. I feel myself to be at the age of 45 years. There is no end of this profession.

Are law colleges training students enough to survive and thrive in the litigation practice?

When we were in law college, the students passed through the degree by using a magazine. Nowadays, students are taught a number of laws. Students have to attend a number of seminars, make certain submission. Further, students have to go for internships which was not available at our time. So the future is very bright for the new commers, particularly hard commers.

Do you think that there’s going to be a lot more competition in the legal field as is in the medical and engineering fields right now?

Yes, definitely. The students who have have an interest in the feild should come up otherwise don’t. Because it will require a lot of hard a lot of hard work, a lot of patience. In the beginning, as soon as you join the profession you’d have to struggle for at least three to four years to survive yourself. After you survive, there are chances that you will run with a Mercedes, rather than Suzuki.

{both laugh}

What will be your final advice for our readers, especially law students and young lawyers?

As I have already advised, toil in the night and argue in the morning.

Disclaimer

All efforts are made to ensure the accuracy and correctness of the information published at Legally Flawless. However, Legally Flawless shall not be responsible for any errors caused due to oversight or otherwise. The students are advised to check an opportunity themselves before applying.

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