India is home to very influential and powerful lawyers who can hold the entire court in awe with their fabulous argument skills. We have listed some famous lawyers and their journey in the law field.
Fali Sam Nariman
He pursued a law degree from the Government Law College, Mumbai, in 1950. Nariman stood first in the advocate examination and has been awarded the Kinloch Forbes Gold Medal and Prize for Roman Law & Jurisprudence. However, the law was not the first preference of this distinguished Indian Constitutional jurist and senior advocate of the Supreme Court. His father initially wanted him to pursue civil services, but he finally got into the law field because the family could not afford it.
Fali S. Nariman has been practicing law since 1971 and has remained the President of the Bar Association of India in 1991. He was the Additional Solicitor General of India from 1972-1975 and resigned from that post due to a declaration of emergency.
High-profile cases fought by him include the SP Gupta, Golak Nath, the infamous Bhopal gas tragedy, TMA Pai Foundation, and the likes.
Also read: Best Lawyers of India
Books by Fali Sam Nariman:
- The State of the Nation
- God Save the Hon’ble Supreme Court
- Before Memory Fades: An Autobiography Main Bhool Na Jaoon
- India’s Legal System, Courts, Legislatures, Media Freedom
Awards: Padma Bhushan awarded in 1991, Gruber Prize for Justice awarded in 2002, Padma Vibhushan award in 2007.
Advice for the Lawyers: “The skill of a practicing lawyer is not flamboyance or verbosity but hard work.” “Avoid histrionics and stick to the record; you will find the judge receptive to your pleas.”
Mukul Rohtagi completed his law education from the University of Mumbai. He started practicing under Yogesh Kumar Sabharwal after graduating in law. He was appointed the 14th Attorney General of India for the Vajpayee government. Rohtagi started working with Yogesh Sabharwal in the High Court but later started his own legal practice.
Mr. Rohtagi was appointed as a chief legal advisor for the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi; however, later, he stepped down from the position, saying that he wants to practice as a private lawyer.
High-profile cases he fought include the Jharkhand Assembly floor test case, 2002 Gujarat Riots, the Y K Sabharwal property suit, Ambani brothers’ gas supply case, etc.
Advice by Rohtagi for lawyers: “A point must be stateable in 5 sentences, or it is not worth stating at all.”
Also read: Best Career Options for Law Graduates in India
A man of many odds, Ram Jethmalani, was an Indian lawyer and politician. He received his LLB degree at 17 from the Government Law College, Mumbai. He completed his matriculation by the age of 13 and secured an LLB degree at 17. A special resolution was passed so he could earn his degree at 18 because then the minimum age required to become a lawyer was 21.
He had served as Union Law Minister and Chairman of Bar Council of India. In 2010, he was elected as the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association.
Famous cases: He was known for his quick wit and sharp mind to handle any situation with calm. Jethmalani has fought many high profile and controversial cases, such as the Jessica Lall murder case, underworld don Haji Mastan’s case, defended Rajiv Gandhi and Indira Gandhi’s killers, Spectrum 2G case, KM Nanavati vs. State of Maharashtra case, Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, Afzal Guru’s case, and many more.
Awards: Human Rights Award by World Peace Through Law awarded in 1977, International Jurist Award
The famous defense lawyer who fought high-profile cases charged around Rs 40 lakh for an appearance. Commenting on charging high fees, he quoted, “Whenever I see a man coming to my office with his pockets bulging with the smuggling money, I consider it as my duty to relieve him of his wealth.”
Books by Ram Jethmalani:
- Conflict of Laws
- Conscience of a Maverick
- Big Egos
- Maverick: Unchanged, Unrepentant
- Small Men
- Justice: Soviet Style
Advice by Ram Jethmalani for lawyers: “Avoid unnecessary histrionics and be straightforward in your submissions.”
He completed his law degree from the Government Law College, Mumbai, and was admitted to the bar in 1953. At the law college, he was awarded the Kinloch Forbes Gold Medal in Roman Law and Jurisprudence.
In 1971, he was designated as senior counsel by the Supreme Court of India. He served as the Solicitor General of India from 1977-1980 and was appointed as the Attorney General of India from 1998-2004.
Some important cases fought by him are BP Singhal, IR Coelho, Maneka Gandhi, SR Bommai, Keshavananda Bharati, etc.
Students with specializations in Human Rights, International law must read the case studies of Soli Sorabjee, as he is an icon for the Protection of Human Rights and Minority Rights.
Books by Soli Sorabjee:
- The Emergency, Censorship & the Press in India
- The Laws of Press Censorship in India
- Law and Justice
Advice for the lawyers – “If a man is willing to be robbed, will you become a thief?” Sorabjee openly opposed the lawyers who charged lakhs of rupees from the clients. He himself charged a decent amount even after being a top lawyer in India. He considered lawyers charging 30-40 lakh from their clients equals extortion.
Awards: Padma Vibhushan awarded in 2002, Kinloch Forbes Gold Medal in Roman Law and Jurisprudence awarded in 1952, Justice K. S. Hegde Foundation Award, 2006
Essays by Soli Sorabjee:
- The Constitution and the Governor
- Equity in the United States and India published in “Constitutionalism and Rights”
- Protection of Human Rights in Emergencies
- Fundamental Rights as published in “Public Law of India”
Read more – Some interesting facts about lawyers
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