Pakistan Is In Dire Need Of Training Its Lawyers
Training the lawyers of Pakistan is today’s essential need for the country. Lawyers play a strong role in countries’ politics, education system, legislation and implementation of laws. The country has never taken the initiative of training lawyers seriously until the recent judgment of former chief justice Saqib Nisar made training mandatory. In his judgment, he was kind enough to introduce the Bar Vocational Course for the young lawyers with the help of Pakistan Bar Council and Legal Education Committee for the betterment of upcoming lawyers.
Pursuant to the judgment, the training is to be conducted by the bar councils which in their districts have no capacity to conduct such training. It is to be highlighted that there is not a single mock trial courtroom available around Pakistan to train young lawyers. On the other hand, these facilities are even available in police training centers where mock trial courtrooms are constructed to train their police officers for court proceedings. It is shocking to know that no one has ever demanded for it and that it has never been an agenda for any member bar council and cabinet of elected members.
In order to train such big number of lawyers, primarily, it is essential to train the trainers. It is important for the bar councils to understand that it is not mandatory that a successful lawyer will always be a good trainer. In Pakistan, the style of training lawyers has been restricted to lectures. It has been a trend to choose a current popular topic, invite big names and deliver a lecture of awareness. Most of the training that has been conducted by the bar councils is based on theory only. Whereas, in those lectures, one can learn life lessons, but instantly would not know how to file a case for his/her client.
As lawyers in Pakistan, we have perceived training as only restricted to theory-based lectures. If a renowned lawyer in the country wishes to give his time to young lawyers, he must practically involve them in small group activities, which help them to start their practice.
It is important for the Pakistan Bar Council to initiate localized training, which would help young lawyers in Pakistan to start earning in their districts. This training should be conducted through activities which involve theory as well as practical performance.
In the judgment of former chief justice Jawad S Khawaja, he has highlighted why it is mandatory for us to adopt Urdu as an official language. “We may also emphasize here that implementing Article 251 is not just a matter of obeying the Constitution: it has real practical implications for the Pakistani public,” he states.
As a result of this judgment, our laws should be translated in Urdu. We all will have to accept that the language is a big barrier for most of the lawyers practicing in Pakistan. Instead of being proud of our own language, we admire those who speak fluent foreign languages. The language is a mode of communication, which should be used to convey message, but we use this in Pakistan to create an elite image, which ignites hatred between those who feel they are less knowledgeable just because of the language barrier. Therefore, training should be designed and delivered in Urdu so we don’t disobey our constitution.
Since the Punjab Bar Council has announced training, where they still have to announce their trainers, management, curriculum, timetable and accommodation services, they will also have to consider connecting these trainees to their trainers once they complete their training in order to secure placements for them. It is a continuous struggle which bar councils will have to do for at least the coming ten years to have a smooth implementation of the abovementioned judgments.
Our training needs to be supplemented with the latest technologies and advancements. Our legal research should be shifted from books to E-learning. These young lawyers should be trained to research online, which is easy and quick. They should be provided with online samples of all sorts of drafting which would make their law practice easy. They should be provided with online lectures on legal topics like Mr. Ahmad Qayyum has provided on his YouTube channel and Khatanas’ Law Chamber has provided on its Facebook page.
Lastly, when we talk about the training of female lawyers in the legal profession, it is saddening to state that this country has not produced many courageous lawyers like Asma Jahangir. With the help of technology, Pakistan Bar Council can train female lawyers through distance learning programs. It does not matter where they live; they can become a lawyer through distance learning law degrees and can also attain basic training online which will help them to start their basic earning.
Most of the female lawyers leave this profession because they do not get quality training from their seniors, which would help them to start earning for themselves. Resultantly, they choose to opt for other welcoming and cleaner environments where they feel comfortable to work. It is the responsibility of Pakistan Bar Council to create opportunities and a healthy environment for these young female lawyers where there are clean washrooms available for them, and they are provided with day-care and counseling facilities. Therefore, today’s lawyers demand practical legal training of their own system, in their own language, to become advanced enough to contribute towards the betterment of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The writer is a practising lawyer of the High Court and the managing partner of Khatanas’ Law Chamber.