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India’s Top Lawyers & their formula for success (.. and the fees they charge!)

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Author: Vellalapatti Swaminathan Iyer

The best way to learn law is to see the great masters at work. The way they study the facts, analyze the law and make their presentation to the Court can teach you more than you can ever hope to learn in a classroom. And the fees they charge can inspire you to do your best in the profession. Surprisingly, these great wizards of the law don’t have a magic wand. Instead, their secret recipe for success is sheer hard work and concentration

The really clever people now want to be lawyers: A. N. Wilson

Lawyers across the World are amongst the most highly paid professionals. Indian lawyers are no exception. Apart from a 5 figure fee for one appearance, limousines to transport you, business class travel (chartered flights, if you are in the super-elite category) and five star accommodations (only VIP suites, if you are in the super-elite category) are de rigueur. Of course, there is no question that all of this is fully justified! So, lets’ get down to listing the top lawyers and see if we can get some inspiration from them.

Ram Jethmalani:

Ram Jethmalani is the quintessential lawyer. Loud, irascible, never afraid of a fight, given to seeking publicity, he fits the text book definition of a lawyer as seen in Hindi films. In fact, the memorable role of the scheming lawyer Indrajit Chaddha brilliantly played by Amrish Puri in the film Damini is supposedly inspired by Ram Jethmalani.

Anyway, whatever may be the public image of Ram Jethmalani, there is no doubting his razor-sharp mind. Even at the age of 89 years, when most of his peers have called it a day, he is more than a match for his much younger opponents.

Ram Jethmalani has a unique style of arguing in Court. He has a larger-than-life persona about him that commands attention. Not for him the bulky briefs. He carries just a couple of pages on which he has made a few jottings. He stands at an angle, rests his right leg on the chair, takes an occasional sip of water, and addresses the Court in a clear voice. His voice is loud enough to be heard even by those sitting in the last row. Jethmalani keeps his presentation simple. He never hurries up and you can sense that he is carefully sizing up the judges as he speaks. If he senses that the Judges are not with him, he will either put the point in a different way, if he is convinced about its’ merits, or abandon it, if he feels it is not strong enough. But, all the time, Jethmalani seeks to ensure that the Judges do not lose interest in the matter.

Ram Jethmalani says that lawyers have to be good judges of human nature and one can see him implementing this in practice. He will never browbeat the judges or get into a quarrel with them. If the atmosphere in the court room gets heated, he will break the tension with a small joke. “Antagonizing the judges is the worst way to argue a matter

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