07 May, 2021

In Herr Huld’s Chamber

Corrrupt, unregulated and bloated by hapless stragglers—that’s India’s legal profession

In Herr Huld’s Chamber

From the lips of Sampson Brass, the obsequious solicitor in Charles Dickens’s Old Curiousity Shop, fall the following words: “If there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers”. Fiction has been rarely kind to the man in black. For centuries, lawyers have been portrayed as heartless, avaricious and egotistical, from Shakespeare’s butcher suggesting their eradication to Kafka’s Herr Huld hastening K to his doom.

The clogged Indian judicial system has lived up to the Jarndyce allegory (Bleak House) by virtue of having a burgeoning population. As a result of over 700 law colleges and an apathetic monitor (Bar Council of India), thousands of poorly tra­ined ‘lawyers’ are unleashed yearly on an unsuspecting public. ‘Taught’ by ill-equipped (in many cases, absent) faculty, a system of rote by guide books gets students through college, to fin­­­­ally receive their first lesson in law when dea­­ling with a hapless client outside a tea-shop. Even the National Law...

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