How to Become a Supreme Court lawyer – Guest Post

Supreme Court lawyer

A Supreme Court lawyer is a legal professional who is qualified to represent clients in the highest court of the country. A Supreme Court lawyer has to be an advocate-on-record, which means that they have passed a special examination conducted by the Supreme Court and have at least five years of experience as an advocate in any high court or other court of equivalent status1. A Supreme Court lawyer can handle cases involving constitutional matters, fundamental rights, civil and criminal appeals, public interest litigation, and other important issues of law and justice. A Supreme Court lawyer has to be well-versed in the Supreme Court rules, procedures, and precedents, as well as the relevant laws and statutes. A Supreme Court lawyer also has to be skilled in oral and written advocacy, research, analysis, and drafting of legal documents.

The Bar Council of India (BCI) released the Certificate of Practice and Renewal Rules in 2014, indicating that an advocate must meet specific requirements to be enrolled as a Supreme Court lawyer. The following are the conditions:

Entrance Exam for Law Schools to Become Supreme Court Lawyers

The CLAT (Common Law Admission Test) is the most widely used admission exam for law students. So, if you want to be a lawyer, you should study for the CLAT entrance test with other law students because CLAT is how India’s premier law schools admit students. For any legal advice blog or legislative services, a bachelor’s degree in law is required. This would be the first rung on the road to attaining your ambition of working as a lawyer in the Supreme Court of India. To become a lawyer, you can choose one of two paths: a 5-year LLB integrated program or a 3-year LLB program.

 To be registered as Supreme Court attorneys, attorneys must have a minimum of 5 years of post-qualification experience, including three years in the trial court and two years in the High Court. After that, he must undergo training under the supervision of an Advocate on Record (registered Supreme Court Lawyer).

 Advocate-on-Record Exams at the Supreme Court:

Whoever possesses such post-qualification experience is eligible to sit for the test administered and controlled by the Supreme Court-appointed Board of Examiners.

After passing the test, the lawyer must open a registered office within a 10-mile radius of the Supreme Court of India and employ a registered clerk.

It is not simple to enroll in the Supreme Court because it is the highest court of practice for a lawyer. According to research, around 18% of all applicants who sit in this test pass.

Every year in May-June, the test is held.

The following are the specifics about the examination format and passing criteria:

  1. The test consists of four papers that are given over four days.
  2. To qualify, the candidate must score at least 50 percent on each paper and 60 percent overall.
  3. If a candidate receives less than 50 percent in one paper but 60 percent in the aggregate, candidate may rewrite that paper in the future test by paying the total examination fees.
  4. Suppose a candidate receives 50 percent on each paper but does not receive 60 percent overall. In that case, the candidate may rewrite any one piece of his or her choosing in the future test by paying the entire examination cost.
  5. A candidate will be given a maximum of five tries to take the test. Appearing for a single paper is also considered a possibility.

The four sets of the paper curriculum include: –

  1. SUPREME COURT PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – critical elements of the Indian constitution about the court’s jurisdiction, such as the Supreme Court Rules, Civil Procedure Code, Limitation Act, and Court Fees Act.
  2. DRAFTING – special leave petitions, decrees, orders, writs, petitions of appeal, plaint and written statement, review petitions, and so on.
  3. ADVOCATE AND PROFESSIONAL ETHICS – Advocates Act, contempt of court cases, Bar Council of India Rules, and Supreme Court Rules
  4. LEADING CASES – These are the decisions in cases that changed the current legislation by amending, repealing, or adding new sections.

To become a Supreme Court lawyer, one must not only pass the Advocate-on-Record exam but also continually develop skills and knowledge relevant to the Supreme Court’s workings. Here are additional sections that delve deeper into the journey and responsibilities of a Supreme Court lawyer:

Continuous Learning and Specialization

  • Staying Updated with Legal Developments: Supreme Court lawyers must keep abreast of the latest legal developments, judgments, and amendments in law. Regularly reading law journals, attending legal seminars, and participating in workshops are crucial for staying informed.
  • Specialization in Certain Areas of Law: While a Supreme Court lawyer should have a broad understanding of various legal domains, specializing in a particular area of law, such as constitutional law, corporate law, or criminal law, can be beneficial. This specialization allows lawyers to develop expertise and a reputation in their chosen field.

Networking and Building a Professional Reputation

  • Building a Professional Network: Networking with other lawyers, judges, and legal professionals is essential. Joining legal associations and attending legal events can help in building a robust professional network.
  • Developing a Strong Courtroom Presence: A Supreme Court lawyer must possess excellent advocacy skills, including persuasive argumentation, clear and concise presentation, and a calm demeanor under pressure.

Ethical Considerations and Responsibilities

  • Adhering to Ethical Standards: Supreme Court lawyers are bound by high ethical standards. They must ensure that they practice with integrity, maintain client confidentiality, and avoid conflicts of interest.
  • Pro Bono Work and Social Responsibility: Many Supreme Court lawyers participate in pro bono work, representing clients who cannot afford legal services. This not only contributes to the justice system but also helps in building a lawyer’s profile and experience.

Career Progression and Opportunities

  • Career Advancement: Successful Supreme Court lawyers can look forward to various career advancements, such as being appointed as Senior Advocates, taking up roles in legal education, or even being considered for judicial appointments.
  • Exploring Opportunities in Legal Research and Academia: Lawyers with a penchant for academic pursuits can contribute to legal education and research, thereby shaping future generations of lawyers.

Personal Development and Resilience

  • Building Resilience: The path to becoming a successful Supreme Court lawyer involves facing challenges and setbacks. Developing resilience and the ability to handle stress is crucial.
  • Work-Life Balance: Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is important for long-term success in this demanding profession.

Contribution to Legal Scholarship

  • Writing and Publishing: Supreme Court lawyers are often involved in writing articles, case commentaries, and even books on legal subjects. This contributes significantly to legal scholarship and enhances a lawyer’s reputation.
  • Participating in Legal Discourse: Engaging in legal discourse through media appearances, public speaking, and online platforms can establish a lawyer as a thought leader in the legal community.

In conclusion, becoming a Supreme Court lawyer is not only about passing an exam but also about continuous learning, ethical practice, networking, personal resilience, and contributing to the legal community. This challenging yet rewarding career path offers numerous opportunities for personal and professional growth, making it a prestigious and impactful profession in the realm of law and justice.