The act of conveying information from one source to another is communication. This could be done by various modes which are broadly classified as verbal and non-verbal. The verbal mode includes both written and oral ways of communication, whereas non-verbal mode includes gestures, expressions, tone, pitch, and many others. Communication has an overall impact on your life, affecting your personal, social, and professional arenas. For a smooth professional career, it is one of the vital skills required. In particular reference to a law student, the path is rough beginning from getting into a law school to surviving in it and finally ending up with a nice job. All of it requires a strong communication skill base. The harsh reality being that the only survival in this field is through connections and that can happen when you have a good command over your communication skill else everything will be a distant dream.
Law school means getting face to face with a lot of complex material which students must analyze and later use to write documents or case briefs. These briefs are then used for further presentations, thereby making oral arguments an integral and inescapable part of law school. Further, presentation of a case amongst faculties and peers requires command over both verbal and non-verbal communication skills and to state the fact, those who excel in this have an upper hand in the career and are usually able to attain leadership positions.
Nevertheless, in the race of imparting and acquiring the legal knowledge, often law schools and students ignore the importance of other aspects associated with the legal field. Though law schools pay attention to polish the writing skills by way of research papers, memorials etc. but the least stress is upon the oral skill which is majorly used in your career ahead of law school. Nevertheless, while in law school, the fine art of communication can be learned by students through co-curricular activities i.e. by participating in various competitions, internships etc.
One such competition is client counseling. Knowing what and how to get the relevant details from the client establishes a true lawyer. Also, not to forget, communicating with the client and building a rapport is how a business can be built because the client hires those who are able to give true and honest advice to them. For this not only the words of the client are to be looked at but also their body language, tone, the voice is necessary to be decoded. It is very important for a lawyer to read the mind of the client and get details out of his head. Those who know the trick can succeed while other struggles.
Well, communication is not only restricted to the art of speaking but also involves the patience of listening. The patience which majority of us lack. But honestly, it is very essential as listening consumes a lot of time of a lawyer, as they are involved in conducting meetings with clients, fellow attorneys, depositions in courtrooms etc. Hence having a grip on this art is necessary for a bright future ahead. This can be learned via internships with advocates where you get an opportunity to accompany them in the courtrooms and listen to the delivery made by other fellow attorneys and judges. By this, one take back home a clear understanding of the communication style used in the practical field.
The harsh reality of our education system is that hardly law students focus on their oral delivery skills which makes their analytical skills and knowledge of law go in vain and proves a hindrance in their career ahead. By the time they understand this fact, the time has already run out.
So it is better to start early than to regret late. Some of the tips mentioned below can help attain and retain the art of skillful communication.
- Practice makes a man perfect: This proverb plays a very important role in the life of a law student. To excel in any art, one needs to practice it to an extent until they attain success. That is the hard rule. Any compromise in the practice is equivalent to compromising with the career. In the present competitive environment, simply reading books or coaching will not help until you yourself practice it practically. The best way to do so is by standing in front of the mirror and rehearsing. However, you must bear in mind that the result won’t appear in an overnight. Patience is equally important in this practice. But yes, one guaranteed result is the success, provided you do it with sincerity and utmost dedication. Still, if this does not work out, you need not be disheartened as not everyone can excel in everything. There are cases where a good writer does not turn up to be a good speaker and vice versa.
- Feedbacks can prove to be crucial and can help make a positive jump. The emphasis however should be on the selection of the person. For this, firstly, you must find a person who has experience in your desired communication skill. Secondly, they must agree to review your presentation, and thirdly, you must provide them with the independence to give you true and honest feedback which will help you improve.
- In the race of being like our admirers, we sometimes lose our true identities. You try to be like them and forget that everyone has their own specialties. You can imitate a person in terms of their tone, style but what is your original will always shine over the copied. The crux being that it should not be reflected as if it belongs to someone else, you must add your own colors to it to bring out the creativity.
- Lastly, bear all the above points in mind but do not overthink. Overthinking will lead to your nervousness taking over your confidence. You might have accomplished the skill in its best form but on the final day, your overthinking can destroy the results. Simply, just look for the content and the audience and let everything else come out with the flow.
Also read Prabhu Dutt v. Union of India & Ors.