The Chief Justice of India (CJI) spoke at a celebration hosted by the Bar Councils of Maharashtra and Goa, where he emphasized the significance of providing young lawyers with adequate compensation and treating them as individuals who have made significant contributions.
We compensate law clerks with $65,000. Every time I pay so much, I get asked why. The intern or lawyer’s value must be acknowledged. He stated, “We must regard a young person as someone who will contribute valuable insight.”
In his speech, the CJI also emphasized the significance of providing junior lawyers with opportunities and ensuring that members of marginalized communities receive adequate opportunities.
“We need not go into detail about the system’s flaws. He stated, “We must attempt to repair it.”
The CJI went on to say that the legal profession still has elements of the feudal system, such as high enrollment fees.
In addition, he disclosed that all five of his juniors were first-generation lawyers; however, the method of recruitment remained opaque, creating an obstacle to equal opportunity.
“The informal network is used to hire law clerks and interns. How can we reach those without a network?
In this regard, he also revealed the recruitment procedure followed by his office.
“Recruitment from all sources, not just NLUs, is a three-step process for me. The second step is to shortlist candidates and give them a day to prepare a brief and research note. The interview follows.”
The CJI has previously urged lawyers across the country to pay their juniors fairly. He had insisted in November that lawyers shouldn’t treat their juniors like slaves just because the senior lawyers had to learn the law the hard way when they first started out.
The News Agenda contacted lawyers in Delhi and Mumbai to find out how much (if any) litigating lawyers pay their juniors in light of the CJI’s echoing of this sentiment over the past few decades.
These two articles are part of a larger series that looks at how junior lawyers are paid across the country.